Galway: town and county
County Galway is on the west coast features Galway a very lively city, filled with shops, cafes and bars. Thanks to its university and the number of industries that have come to the town, it combines traditional appeal with modern-day attractions. It is also one of the places where you are likely to hear Irish spoken.
In July there’s the Galway International Arts Festival, and in the last two weeks of July or the first week in August, the Galway Races are on, so things can get very busy. Medieval Galway enjoyed great prosperity through trade with the rest of Ireland, Spain and beyond.
It all came to an end after the city was attacked by Oliver Cromwell in 1652, and again by King William III in 1691, but you can see evidence of this former wealth in the decoration of ancient doorways, window frames and walls. Rich merchants would employ the best stone-carvers to adorn their town houses with their coats of arms, and with grotesque sculptures and heraldic beasts.