Escape to a festival of fun and culture in Galway

My partner and I want to treat ourselves to a weekend break and are thinking of visiting Galway during the summer. We love art and culture so we’d love some suggestions on what to see and do while we’re there.

My partner and I want to treat ourselves to a weekend break and are thinking of visiting Galway during the summer. We love art and culture so we’d love some suggestions on what to see and do while we’re there.

Galway is a great choice for a weekend break and you certainly won’t be stuck for things to see or do while you are there. Not only is Galway popular with homegrown visitors but it also attracts thousands of tourists across the globe each year who all come to soak up the unique atmosphere this city has to offer.

The summer is a particularly good time to visit Galway as the city is hosting a number of festivals in 2012 including the final leg of the Volvo Ocean race and the Galway Arts Festival in July as well as the world-famous Galway races in August. With so many world-class events happening this summer, accommodation fills up fast so be sure to book in plenty of time!

Galway has a rich history of Irish traditional culture and trade, which is evident in the large amount of fascinating craft shops located all over the city – selling everything from traditional knitwear, to pottery and handmade jewellery.

If you are a history lover, there are plenty of ‘must-sees’ around the city including the famous Thoor Ballylee. Once a Norman Tower, it used to be owned by the world renowned Irish writer W.B Yeats, who purchased and restored the property in 1916. He was inspired by the property and based the poem “The Tower” on his time there. Nowadays, the site offers great guided tours, gardens, a picnic area, Ballylee Mill, a craft shop and a tourist information centre. Other sites around the city which you might also like to check out on your visit include the Galway Cathedral and the Salmon Weir Bridge.

Galway is known for its vibrant nightlife and during the summer you can enjoy a festival-like atmosphere in the evening as the city’s famous pubs come to life. No visit to Galway is complete until you have a drink in one of the many traditional Irish music bars. An Pucan Bar which is hopping every night of the week is the perfect choice for those looking for a jig and a reel, while Kelly’s Bar caters to all tastes for good food and a quiet pint.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, there are plenty of small towns to explore nearby. Anyone who knows the song ‘Galway Bay’ will be familiar with the Claddagh. Previously a fishing village of thatched cottages, the area is located just outside the city centre and certainly worth a visit. Here you will find the birthplace of the world famous Claddagh ring, a souvenir many bring home, just to keep a little piece of Galway with them always.

Where to stay:

Park House Hotel (****)

Prices start from €109 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This four-star boutique hotel is located on Eyre Square, right in the heart of the city. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from the many popular streets around the square as well as the historic sights of the Spanish Arch and St. Augustine’s Church. The property itself is well equipped and you will be spoilt for choice with an on-site bar and restaurant.

Carlton Hotel Galway City (***)

Prices start from €79 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This three-star hotel is located just a short distance from the city centre. The hotel is close to Galway Greyhound Stadium, Spanish Arch and Galway City Museum. Guests can enjoy complimentary use of the hotel’s health club, indoor pool, stream room and spa which is the perfect way to relax after an enjoyable day in the city. You can choose to dine in either Rueben’s Restaurant or Bar Solo.

The Westwood (****)

Prices start from €76 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

Located on the outskirts of the city centre, this is a lovely hotel for those who are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the night life in the heart of the city.

The hotel is spacious with elegant interiors and also boasts a restaurant offering bistro breakfast and dinner food.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!