Galway has a bohemian flavor that is typical of the west of Ireland psyche: laid back, relaxed and ready for a party
Galwegians revel in enjoying themselves. The city has a reputation for artistic creativity and an infectious up-tempo vibe that’s played out in a full calendar of festival and events. From music and horseracing to literature and oysters – Galway knows how to celebrate.
Throughout the year there’s a festival atmosphere that gives this place a special edge. It’s no wonder people pour into the traditional pubs and lively bars every weekend.
The flamboyant arts scene comes alive in the summer and attracts visitors from all over the world with a whirlwind of activity that includes the much-trumpeted Galway Arts Festival, and the intimate, critically acclaimed Galway Film Fleadh, both in July. And if it’s social glamour you’re after, then don a fancy hat and head to the Galway Races, when 250,000 people converge at the Galway Racecourse for equestrian high-jinks that last a whole week.
While the summer may come to an end, festival season certainly doesn't in Galway and we see one great festival season rolling into another. Each September, Galway City comes alive with seafood & oysters as it celebrates the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, the most internationally recognised food festival in Ireland and the world's longest running International Oyster Festival. Sample the delights of the Atlantic ocean washed down with a nice cold pint of Guinness.
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.
A boho beauty
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 boho 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 jewelers; 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.