Galway is one of the most picturesque and beautiful spots in Ireland, and, indeed, in the world. So, it comes as no surprise that so many people from all over the globe head here to see its many wonderful attractions.

Tourism is one of the key factors in the Galway economy, and here are some of the best local attractions to see when you visit the area.

Historical Attractions

Many of the attractions in Galway are of a historical nature. Some of the best include Lynch’s Castle, a town house from the medieval period and the Hotel Meyrick which is the oldest hotel in the city to still be operating. If you head out of the city centre, you’ll find the ruins of Menlo Castle, an ancestral home of members of the Blake family. The oldest area of the city is The Claddagh, although there is very little remaining of the old village that it once was. However, if you head intoSt Mary’s On The Hill Parish Church, you’ll see an ancient statue of Our Lady of Galway.

Galway also has its fair share of fascinating museums, including the City Museum which describes the city’s heritage as well as providing information about late 20th century Irish artists. It is here that you can find the statue of Padraic O Conaire, the poet. The NUI Galway also boasts a number of museums including ones dedicated to Computer and Communications and Geology. The city is also home to Ireland’s smallest museum – the Nora Barnacle House Museum.

Touring The Area

Although Galway City itself is a fascinating spot, there is a lot more to see if you get out and aboutaround the area. The Connemara Loop is a famous sightseeing excursion around the North West of the country. The constantly changing landscape offers visitors spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful lakes and remote beaches which are wonderful to explore. On the Connemara Loop, you’ll also find quaint villages that let you experience a bygone era and a more relaxed way of living. Popular with hikers, cyclists and backpackers, the villages of the Connemara loop can be visited independently by car or as part of an organised trip.

Modern Tourist Spots

While Galway is best known for its history and heritage, there are many modern attractions which also prove to be very popular with today’s tourists. The Galway Aquarium is always a must-see for families with children, allowing them to get up close to sealife and creatures from under the oceans.

The Burren Birds of Prey Centre is also a popular spot for anyone who loves these majestic creatures, while the Aillwee Cave lets tourists go underground to explore hidden passages. The Claddagh Ring is a symbol of Ireland, and has its heritage here in Galway. Visitors who want to learn more about this famous piece of jewellery can head to the Claddagh Ring Museum to find out more.

The Islands

 Galway is also known for its beautiful surrounding islands. Remote and wild, exploring at least one of these seven West coast islands should be an essential item on any tourist’s must-do list. There are three Aran Islands as well as Clare Island, Achill Island, Inishbofin and Inishturk. On any of these islands, you’ll find a stress free pace of life but plenty of relaxing activities. From visiting historical sites to hiking and from cycling to horseriding, you’ll love exploring the beautiful scenery and taking part in one of the many authentic local festivals.

As you can see, there is something for everyone when they visit Galway. Make it your next port of call.