Culture Corner

City Overview
Points of Interest
Cultural Highlights
Money Matters

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A dam along the River Corrib in Galway's town center. photo: Eoin Gardiner
A dam along the River Corrib in Galway's town center. photo: Eoin Gardiner

What's Galway Like?

Walk down the streets of Galway and you will discover what makes this city so unique. Throughout the week, the young and old stroll along Galway's pedestrian streets, greeting their neighbors and striking up conversations. Framed by colorfully painted buildings, street musicians serenade onlookers with a combination of traditional Irish music and contemporary songs.

Steeped in history, present day Galway combines its rich cultural heritage with a young and innovative population. Galway began as a fishing village and grew during the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1232, Galway was captured by the Anglo-Normans under the rule of Richard de Burgo. More than 150 years later, in 1396, Richard II gave control of Galway to 14 merchant families, known as "tribes." During the 16th century, Galway became a major trading port with Spain, but an attack from Cromwell in 1651 halted Galway's growth for centuries. Galway's "rebirth" in the early 1900s, steming from a growth in tourism and student population, lead to the vibrancy that the city currently possesses.

Today, The National University of Ireland, Galway is an important center for university research. The city is also home to many of Ireland's largest biomedical companies. While the sciences are important to present day Galway, so too are the arts. Known as the "Culture Capital of Ireland," Galway plays host to festivals throughout the year. The Galway Arts Festival, which takes place every July, features visual arts, theater, comedy, circus performances, and many types of music. The Galway Film Fleadh follows the arts festival and is one of Ireland's premier international film festivals.

Region and Population

The city of Galway is located on the banks of Galway Bay, off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The River Corrib runs through this Northeastern city and cuts a path from the National University of Ireland to the town center. To the north of Galway, the Connemara Peninsula offers a wealth of hiking, beaches and quaint villages. Just to the south, The Burren's rocky landscape plummets into the bay at the Cliffs of Moher.

The population of Galway, the third largest in the Republic of Ireland, is just under 73,000.


Moderated by the Atlantic Ocean, Galway's climate is classified as Maritime Temperate. While temperatures don't often dip below freezing, the average temperature for July is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Students should expect rain throughout the year – but that's what makes Ireland so green!
Avg. Rainfall4.

Helpful Links

  • Galway Tourism
  • Entertainment Ireland
  • Discover Ireland
  • The Irish Times
  • UNESCO World Heritage Center - Ireland
  • CDC Traveler's Information
  • US Department of State Travel Information