As travel restrictions end and the summer progresses, Irish people start making plans for holidays and trips that were postponed during the pandemic. According to a survey by the backpacks manufacturer SunDrift, 90% of respondents intend to travel after the end of the lockdown, most within Ireland itself.
Galway was considered the most popular destination among the 500 participants, being the main choice for 24% of respondents. Next up is Kerry (16%), Wexford (16%), Cork (12%), Donegal (12%), Silgo (12%) and Mayo (8%).
Although it is already possible to travel to other countries, only 30% consider making international trips this year.
According to Fiona Parfrey, founder of SunDrift, “the Irish public has every intention of leaving home, exploring and creating new memories as soon as the opportunity arises”.
Galway is Ireland’s second most popular destination, receiving more than 1.5 million visitors each year. With so many artists, writers and festivals, the city is one of the main cultural centers in Ireland and Europe. In addition, it has a rich history and beautiful landscapes with valleys, mountains, lakes and beaches.
We list some of the main attractions of the city and its surroundings:
- Eyre Square – This is Galway’s main square, making it a starting point for exploring the city. It went through a controversial revitalization process in 2004 that cost more than 20 million euros. It is a great place for shopping.
- Lynch Castle – A fortified medieval house, built by the Lynch family in the 14th century. Today, it houses an AIB branch. It is possible to visit the interior, where there are panels that tell the history of the building.
- Galway Cathedral – Cathedral built on an island, where a prison used to exist. It was the last large church built with stones in Ireland. It is famous for its huge dome.
- St. Nicholas Collegiate Church – Founded in 1320, this is the largest medieval church still in use in Ireland. Legend has it that Christopher Columbus prayed here in 1477, before his journey to America. On Saturdays, a fair takes place outside the church.
- City Museum – This museum has exhibitions about Galway’s medieval origins, city development and works of art by Irish artists.
- Atlantaquaria – The largest aquarium of native species in Ireland, with two floors and interactive experiences, such as holding a starfish or feeding fish.
- Latin Quarter – Region with several medieval buildings that now house boutiques, restaurants, pubs and hotels. Among the main stores are: Kilkenny Shop, which sells handicraft items; Galway Woolen Market, specializing in wool; Wooden Heart, a very traditional toy store, such as dolls and puzzles; and Cobwebs, considered the most beautiful store in Galway.
- Salthill Promenade – 2km stretch for walking along the coast. There are several bars, seafood restaurants and cafes to enjoy.
- Mutton Island – Small island located about 1km off the coast of Galway. Very popular place for wedding photo shoots.
- Dunguaire Castle – About half an hour from Galway, this is perhaps the most photographed castle in Ireland. The construction is from the 16th century, but it was restored in the 1920s. The site houses a small museum and it is possible to climb the tower to admire the view.