5 Pieces of History To Visit in Galway City
Culture//Discover//Galway History

5 Pieces of History To Visit in Galway City

If you’re visiting Galway this year, here are some of the fascinating historical landmarks you can visit as you explore its city streets.

The Spanish Arch

Located on the left bank of the river Corrib, next to Galway City Museum, if you’re interested in learning more about the history of Galway there is no better starting point than The Spanish Arch. This iconic structure dates back to pre-medieval times and was built as an extension of the town wall. Fun fact: in 1755 it was partially damaged by a tsunami! Nowadays, the area around the Spanish Arch and Long Walk is a popular al fresco spot among locals on a sunny day so even if the history aspect doesn’t interest you, it’s still a must visit destination.

above: photo by Tourism Ireland from Ireland's Content Pool 

Nora Barnacle House

Behind the vivid blue door of the smallest house on Bowling Green, you’ll find a museum dedicated to Nora Barnacle - the muse of Ireland’s legendary literary figure James Joyce. Open from June to September, the museum tells the story of Nora and her family, and is filled with memorabilia of days gone by. Each year, Bloomsday, a celebration of Joyce’s legacy is held on June 16th and the Nora Barnacle House always commemorates the day in a special way so it’s definitely worth visiting if you are interested in learning more about Joyce’s ties to Galway.

The Hall of the Red Earl

In the Latin Quarter, The Hall of the Red Earl stands as a tribute to and reminder of the medieval Galway of centuries gone by. Dating back to the 13th century, the archaeological ruins are linked to the founding of the city itself by the Anglo-Norman De Burgo clan. Its remains were uncovered in 1997 and during the major preservation works over 11,000 artefacts were found at the site. Today it’s encased in glass wall panelling with a viewing gangway allowing access to everyone curious to catch a glimpse into the Galway of 900 years ago.

above: photo courtesy of Stephen Duffy via Ireland's Content Pool 

Fisheries Watchtower Museum

If you are venturing into Galway’s Westend via the Latin Quarter you are going to pass over Wolfe Tone Bridge, and here is where you’ll find Fisheries Tower. This quirky watchtower-like building is one of Galway City’s most historic and recognisable landmarks. Once used by fishermen as a watchtower to monitor illegal fishing activity along the river Corrib, the tower today features a small museum and exhibition space of memorabilia and photographs from Galway’s rich history of river fishing. Of course, you can also enjoy wonderful views of the river Corrib and The Claddagh, making it the perfect spot for photographers as it is a stunningly unique and picturesque part of Galway.

University of Galway

While the University of Galway is usually full with students hurrying to lectures, during the summertime it acts as a peaceful oasis on the edge of the city centre. Full of green areas and eye-catching architecture, a stroll around the campus during its quieter months is always a lovely experience. At the heart of the university, the Quadrangle (fondly referred to as the Quad) is the most photographed point of the campus and once you stand in the midst of its stunning Tudor Gothic inspired architecture you’ll understand why.

above: photo by Chaosheng Zhang

Feature photo by Chaosheng Zang

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