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Galway – The Cultural Heart of Ireland
A small settlement developed in Galway during the 12th century around a fort called Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe, which was built in 1124, but this fort was captured by Richard Mor de Burgh during the Norman invasion of Connacht in the 1230s. The merchants of the city, also known as the Tribes of Galway, sought greater control and later obtained success. In 1484 the English crown granted the city mayoral status.
Christopher Columbus visited Galway in 1477 whilst on a voyage to either Iceland or the Faroe Islands.
Cromwell captured the city during the conquest of Ireland (1649-1653) after a nine-month siege. Not long after the city was then captured by the Williamites (after the Battle of Aughrim in 1691). The fortunes of Galwaydeclined after the potato famines of 1840–1845 and only recovered in the last 20-30 years.
Reasons to visit Galway
Galway is known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart and is well known for its many festivals, including the Galway Arts Festival every July (famous for the Macnas parade).
Galway was ranked the 2nd best tourist destination in Ireland and the 42nd in the world (in a 2008 poll).
There many places of interest, including Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street, considered to be one of the finest medieval town houses in Ireland, St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church (the largest medieval church still in everyday use), the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, the Hotel Meyrick (the City’s oldest hotel still in operation) built by the Great Southern Railway Company in 1845.
Entertainment and Dining in Galway
In Galway there is no shortage of entertainment there is an Irish language theatre (Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe) and the Druid Theatre Company. There is a varied musical scene in Galway, with traditional music found in pubs and on the streets. Festivals also take place throughout the year.
There are many places to eat, catering for all tastes, such as The Malt House Restaurant Galway and McDonaghs Seafood Restaurant Galway, a family run restaurant serving locals for four generations.
Accommodation in Galway
You can find Guest Houses, B&Bs and apartments in Galway, and a good selection of hotels like the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa in Galway, or the Western Hotel.