Galwegians revel in enjoying themselves. Right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way, the city has a reputation for artistic creativity and an infectious up-tempo vibe that’s played out in a full calendar of festivals and events. From music and horseracing to literature and oysters – Galway knows how to celebrate. Throughout the year there’s a party atmosphere that gives this place a special edge. It’s no wonder people pour into the hopping bars, traditional pubs and fantastic restaurants every weekend. Brightly painted pubs heave with live music, while cafés offer front-row seats for observing street performers... Lonely Planet The flamboyant arts scene attracts visitors from all over the world, with a whirlwind of activity that includes the much-trumpeted Galway International Arts Festival and the indulgent Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival. And if it’s social glamour you’re after, then don a fancy hat at the summer Galway Races, when 250,000 people converge at the Galway Racecourse for equestrian high-jinks that last a whole week. Historic Flavours The past lingers in the air here. Traces of old Galway, including the city walls and the distinctive Spanish Arch, give the city an ancient atmosphere. Follow the salty air that breezes through the winding lanes to traditional shops and pavement cafés. Shaped by its status as an important seaport, you'll find plenty of seafood on the menus. Steeped in history, for sure, but the city buzzes with a contemporary and cultured vibe as students make up a quarter of the population. Lonely Planet Listen to the babble of languages and you’ll soon appreciate the diversity of cultures found in Galway, a place that is also known as “City of Equals” for its promotion of respect and understanding. At times, Galway feels like the ultimate modern bohemian metropolis, but beneath the surface beats a heart that is deeply traditional. Heavy-knit Aran jumpers crowd the souvenir shops; Claddagh rings twinkle in the windows of jewellers; traditional music sets pubs alight in the evenings; and the county is home to the largest Irish-speaking population on the island. If you want to immerse yourself in the lively side of Irish culture – Galway city is the place to do it.