Places to Visit in Galway: The Spanish Arch
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Places to Visit in Galway: The Spanish Arch

It’s been a landmark part of Galway city for centuries but how familiar are you with the area surrounding the Spanish Arch? Discover our guide to this gorgeous part of Galway city right here...

Galway’s Spanish Arch sits at the edge of the city’s Latin Quarter district, and is often discussed as an extension of it, but no more! We are here today to shine a spotlight on each of the wonderful things to do, see and experience when you visit the Spanish Arch so let’s hop on in!

Things to Do + See at the Spanish Arch

Of course, we have to start at the spot the area is named for - the Spanish Arch. Located on the left bank of the river Corrib, the story of the Spanish Arch stretches back to 1584 when it was first constructed 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 for all tourists. Right next to the Spanish Arch you’ll find Galway City Museum; the perfect starting point for diving into Galway’s vibrant past. Entry is free and all visitors can enjoy exploring 3 levels of exhibitions and gallery spaces. Throughout the year and in the upcoming summer months, the museum will be hosting a number of events such as illustrated talks, lectures, guided tours, readings, launches and much more so tap here to see their full events lineup.

This summer, the Tiny Traders Village marketplace will alternate between its two location on Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch, bringing with it a collective of local artisans, crafters, foodies, and more. The market is open Friday to Sunday and has just recently announced there extended opening hours until 8pm every Friday. On Saturday and Sunday it will remain open until 6pm. The extended hours every Friday will feature a programme designed to celebrate Galway's rich market history and foster a lively atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Across each weekend you’ll find a variety of traders including; Prataí, Meltd, Mega Catchy, Mettle & Bloom, Fréamh Farm, Niche Burger, Nemdae, Tacos Traviesas, MaraBay Deco, Paw Tasti Care, SWAIR Designs, and so many more. For more information regarding who you’ll find at the Tiny Traders Village and to check when they are next at the Spanish Arch, please tap here.

above: photo courtesy of Tiny Traders Village 

Located near The Burgerstory is a fascinating monument that often gets overlooked; the Seattle Stone. It’s a pretty inconspicuous stone so we can’t blame people for walking past without paying it too much attention, but wait until we tell you that this stone actually has a sister stone in Seattle. Both are marked with arrows on top that are pointing directly at each other through the planet. It is said that if you put your finger on the arrow and someone else does the same to the stone in Seattle you will be pointing at one another. The more you know! When you are visiting this area you’ll also notice the new pedestrian bridge adjacent to Wolfe Tone Bridge, which connects the Spanish Arch to Middle Arch and the Claddagh Basin. It’s a refreshing addition to the area making it easier for all pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the city’s waterways and connecting this area with the city’s river walkways.

If you pass underneath the Spanish Arch, you’ll come across The Long Walk, which is a local chill out spot perfect for picnics, people-watching, soaking in the sunshine, watching swans, ducks and the gorgeous Galway Hooker sailing boats glide across the River Corrib and just generally just enjoying being outdoors. Year round, the area echoes with the music of buskers, the sound of laughter and the squawk of seagulls. The Long Walk itself is famous thanks to the colourful row of houses that line its waterfront, and we see stunning photos of it all the time shared across social media and on postcards.

Pálás Cinema is a vibrant community hub that offers a unique cinema-going experience. Their diverse programming ensures every visitor feels at home, with a wide range of events and screenings to suit all tastes. Pálás Cinema also loves to celebrate cinematic milestones, with special screenings of beloved classics on the big screen. Beyond films, their vibrant bar is a highlight, offering an impressive range of cocktails crafted with care by an amazing team. Monthly events such as Karaoke, Drink N’ Draw and themed quizzes make Pálás a lively gathering place for the community. Whether you’re a lifelong film aficionado or a casual moviegoer, Pálás Cinema welcomes you to explore, enjoy, and be inspired. To see what is screening at Pálás Cinema please tap here.

Where to drink and dine by the Spanish Arch

There are plenty of options for food and drink in this area so let’s discuss them! A new addition to the area, La Viña Wine Bar is a culinary gem. It puts a focus on serving scrumptious tapas and old-world wines providing a delightful experience for both wine enthusiasts and novices alike. Whether you are on a romantic evening out or a lively catch up with friends, La Viña is a must-visit wine bar in Galway city. Across the road, Ré Nao Bar & Restaurant is an authentic Xi’an Chinese restaurant that is well known for the appetising array of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine that features across its diverse and delicious menus. It offers a full vegan menu which is made in a separate kitchen area as well as a stylish cocktail bar. Ré Nao is also the only place in Galway that offers an alcoholic version of the popular beverage - bubble tea and has a lovely waterfront outside seating area where you can enjoy them.

We highly recommend dining at Thai Garden during your visit to Galway city because it is one of the best places you can go to enjoy the wonderful flavours and tastes of Thai cuisine. Did you know that the central Thai food style is also referred to as Royal Cuisine due to the elaborate preparation that goes into each dish? So if you’re after a meal fit for a king, Thai Garden serves just that! One of the most popular weekend brunch spots in Galway city can be found right next to the Spanish Arch; Ard Bia at Nimmos. This restaurant is always buzzing with friends and foodies who have come to share special moments over a delicious meal.

above: photo by Ado Lyons, from La Vina

Check out the Spanish Arch’s Shopping Scene

Cobwebs is a store that is as much a part of Galway’s city fabric as the Spanish Arch. It is an antiques and jewellery store that houses the most unique collection of gems, jewellery and trinkets in the city. For years, owner Phyllis, and her right-hand man Joe, have been helping people find the jewellery piece that is a perfect match to them and when you decide to visit them they will help you find yours too. Two shops that are huge-hits among visitors to Galway city are the sister businesses Weavers of Ireland and Aran Sweater Market. Located at the bottom of Quay Street, these are the stores to visit if you want to bring a iconic piece of Galway home with you in the form of an Aran Sweater, lambswool throw, Irish tweed designs and more.

Book your Accommodation on The Long Walk

Facing out onto the River Corrib, The Heron’s Rest’s idyllic waterside location on The Long Walk makes for the perfect Galway city accommodation. It offers unparalleled riverside views from its room and a contactless bed and breakfast style accommodation in 3 individual townhouse properties; Boutique Townhouse 16 and 16a as well as their Courtyard townhouse. Each individual townhouse has been thoughtfully designed to provide a relaxed home away from home feeling and is stocked with a gourmet breakfast hamper provisioned from local produce. To book your stay by the Spanish Arch please tap here.

Feature photo by Ado Lyons.

above: photo courtesy of The Heron's Rest

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