Galway, a harbour city on Ireland’s west coast, sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.
Steeped in history, for sure, but the city buzzes with a contemporary and cultured vibe as students make up a quarter of the population. Remnants of the medieval town walls lie between shops selling Aran sweaters, handcrafted Claddagh rings and stacks of second-hand and new books. Bridges arch over the salmon-stuffed River Corrib, and a long promenade leads to the seaside suburb of Salthill, on Galway Bay, the source of the area’s famous oysters.
Galway is often referred to as the ‘most Irish’ of Ireland’s cities, it’s the only one where you’re likely to hear Irish spoken in the streets, shops and pubs.