Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Galway
Galway (Gaillimh, "Gailleamh's Place") is picturesquely situated at the northeast end of Galway Bay, at the point where the short tidal River Corrib, coming from Lough Corrib, pours its abundant flow of water into the Atlantic.
Galway is the see of the diocese of Galway county, and has a university (part of the National University of Ireland), in which much of the teaching is in Irish (summer courses for visitors in July and August). Irish culture and language are also promoted by the Irish theater, An Taiohbhearc. For centuries Galway had active trading relations with Spain, and it has preserved something of this Spanish influence. In the field of architecture, for instance, it is seen in the houses built round an open courtyard.
There was a settlement on this site from the earliest times. After the building of a castle in 1124 and its capture by Richard de Burgo in 1232 Galway rapidly developed into a flourishing Anglo-Norman town. The "Fourteen tribes of Galway" - aristocratic merchant families - made the town a kind of city state and held to the English connection in spite of all the attacks by the Irish (the latter being barred from entering the town). Galway was destroyed by a great fire in 1473 but was soon rebuilt. Trade with the countries of western Europe, particularly Spain, brought wealth and prosperity. During the 16th and 17th century there was a celebrated grammar school here which is said at one time to have had 1,200 pupils. In the 17th century the town supported the Irish cause, and suffered extensive destruction at the hands of Cromwell's forces; and there was further damage when it was taken by William of Orange's troops in 1691.The central area of Galway lies on the east bank of the River Corrib, but between Eyre Square, by the station, and the river few old buildings have survived, though a number of houses have stones with coats of arms - relics of Galway's heyday - built into their walls.