Galway the City of Culture

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There are a handful of counties that every person visiting Ireland from overseas should have on their Irish bucket lists. Usually, tourists come to enjoy city life in Dublin, explore the wilds of Cork, the medieval history of Kilkenny and the colour and history of Belfast. Galway however, always tops that list. With everything from city living to remote and untouched landscapes, there are few boxes that Galway doesn’t tick. The atmosphere and ambience here have captivated tourists, locals and visitors from all over the world for centuries and we’re truly a city that encapsulates Irish culture. Here are some cultural experiences you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Galway.

Dining in Galway

While many parts of Ireland boast a diverse and unique dining experience, Galway stands out as one of the best. Our location on the west coast means the seafood available across the county is some of the freshest in all of Ireland. Local farmers, producers and growers supply dozens of restaurants in the city centre and further afield with stunning local ingredients, expertly prepared in local cafes, bars, bakeries and more. You’ll experience everything from fast food to fine dining in Galway with excellent options like 1810 Restaurant and Bar right here in our hotel in Eyre Square.

Music in Galway

Nothing says culture quite like music and there is no shortage of musical talent in the heart of the city. Stroll down Quay Street at any time of the day and you’re sure to hear the tunes and musical talents of our locals streaming from shopfronts, bars and pubs. What makes a Galway session so unique is its informal nature. Far from stages and amps, many of the best trad music sessions in Galway happen unplanned upstairs in a pub, with local musicians and all are welcome to take part whether you play an instrument or hum a tune. It’s a truly unique cultural experience that you have to see to truly appreciate.

Experience Gaelic in Ireland

English is the primary language of Ireland, much to the dismay and disappointment of Gaelic speakers around the country, especially on Ireland’s West Coast. If you want to experience total immersion in our mother tongue or practice the couple focal you learned in school, there are pockets of Galway that speak exclusively Gaelic. Spiddal, Leitir Moir, and Rossaveal are just a few of the charming tiny Irish-speaking towns that dot the Galway Bay coastline, but you’ll find evidence of our beautiful language all over the county from shopfronts to street signs.

Step Back in Time

If you want to experience what feels like a truly untouched part of Ireland, a visit to the Aran Islands is a must. While it is frequented by thousands of visitors from all over the world, the island has kept its charm, its culture and many of the original features we admire about life before the influx of technology and modern architecture. Take a boat to the island, enjoying spectacular views of the Cliffs of Mohar and explore the island in your own time, stopping for lunch in one of the thatch cottages and marvelling at the feat of engineering that is the stone walls. They also speak Gaelic on the island so you can get an idea of life long before we were here.

Shopping in Galway

While shopping isn’t in itself a cultural activity, shopping in Galway is a unique experience. The city has all of the usual brand names and large shops you’d expect from any big city in Ireland but there is a real focus on local suppliers and makers. As well as fashion, homewares and accessories, you can buy antiques, watches, jewellery, clothing and more from Irish designers, made from local materials. You can get an original Claddagh ring, a jumper made from Aran wool or some spectacular Irish whiskey to take home and enjoy later.


This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to culture in Galway. We haven’t even mentioned the medieval architecture, the wild Atlantic coastline, the historic churches and buildings and so much more. Put a trip to Galway high on your list to visit and experience true Irish culture. Book your stay in Imperial Hotel Galway for a central hotel on Eyre Square. Our Galway City Hotel has spacious guest rooms, a fantastic dining experience and a warm Irish welcome for every guest.

Picture of Robyn Hurley

Robyn Hurley

Robyn Hurley is a keen traveller with a big heart for animals. She writes about her journeys and loves sharing tips on where to go. Galway is one of her favorite spots to visit and write about. She also loves meeting new animal friends on her trips. Her stories will help you plan an unforgettable trip.

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