Things to do in County Galway
County Galway is the perfect selection for your Irish cottage holiday. This vibrant county will provide you with everything you could ever want to do on a cottage holiday.
The county is famous for the vibrant live music scene which exists in Galway city. The city is a perfect mix of beautiful shop fronts and traditional pubs, which help keep the city feeling small and accessible. Musicians from across Ireland and further afield travel to take part in its traditional music scene and following them come the tourists seeking a small part of a perfect Irish memory to take home from their cottage holiday.
Galway City is known across the world for its friendly people, nightlife, shopping and is certainly deserving of you sparing at least a few hours for a visit on your cottage holiday. Be sure to visit the famous Galway Farmers Market in Church Lane for lots of great Irish delicacies, artisan foods and to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.
There are a number of well-known festivals which take place annually in Galway, perfect if you are wanting to spend a day or two soaking up the atmosphere while on your cottage holiday.
Galway Arts Festival is possibly one of the best known arts festivals in Ireland. The festival has been running since 1978 and now attracts over 150,000 people annually to its two week program. If you are wanting to take creative workshops during you cottage holiday, hundreds of artists, performers, writers and musicians are on hand to lead the way and they showcase some of the best in music, literary, art exhibitions, dancing and street performance to be found in Ireland.
Another festival not to miss is The Galway Sessions Festival which takes place all over Galway city. This festival guarantees great craic and even better music from some of the world renowned artists who travel to the festival. If you are looking for traditional music while on your cottage holiday, this is the festival to head to. The main sessions take place in bars across the city but are all within easy walking distance. The bars include Crane Bar, Róisín Dubh, Monroes Tavern, The Quays, Tigh Neachtáin, Tigh Cóilí, Taffees, Richardson’s, M T Pockets and the Radisson SAS Hotel.
You can find a list of festival cottages to rent at the bottom of the page.
A short drive from Galway City and you will be immersed in Galway’s rich history which includes the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area of Connemara. If you are looking to find the picture postcard ideal of Ireland you only have to visit Connemara to find it on your cottage holiday. The area is part of the Connemara National Park and ensures that this heart stopping scenary remains unchanged for generations to come. Tourism has not affected this rural backwater and it maintains its woods, bogs and mountains for all to see. You can find space to breathe in Connemara by exploring the hidden beaches and rugged coastlines or you can explore sights such as Roundstone village and visit Malachy’s drum workshop where Ireland’s most famous bodhran-maker crafts beautiful instruments out of wood and goat skin. This is Ireland at its very best.
If visiting Ireland itself is not rustic enough for you, the intrepid explorer will surely find themselves on the Aran Islands. The island lifestyle seems as though it has been caught in a time warp where life is dictated by the ebb and flow of the tides and the solitude that can be experienced is something not to be forgotten. The pony traps, hand-knitted fishermen’s sweaters, and age-old legends and lore will make sure you keep returning to this idyllic location again and again. The islands can be easily accessible by boat or plane in good weather and day trips are available if you wish to return to your Irish cottage with an open fire at the end of the day.
Galway is woven with bike trails and hiking adventures just waiting to be sampled. Galway is also home to one of the larger freshwater lakes, Lough Corrib which at one time was famous for salmon fishing. Rivers in the area are still plentiful and spring salmon can be caught in the fishery at Galway City from the month of February and the best grilse fishing is in the months of May and June. Salmon fishing continues throughout the season from the Weir at Galway City as far as Lough Corrib to ensure your Irish fishing holiday is plentiful with fish.
South of Galway city there are castles and medieval churches aplenty for those seeking to trace their history. If you are seeking a true medieval ‘experience’ we would recommend Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, which offers “Medieval Banquets” on a regular basis. The castle is beautifully located and was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay and is the perfect location to sample some rustic cuisine and timeless entertainment.
Galway really does have everything to offer you on your Irish cottage holiday. Whether you are looking for a cottage near the coast, a cottage near walking and biking trails or a festival cottage, Galway can fulfil all your Irish holiday dreams.