Ever wondered what it would be like to take a private tour to one of Ireland’s most historic cities? Then look no further! This week, we take you to the Gorgeous city of Galway where the famous Claddage ring is made. We will take you on a historic journey through the most architecturally stunning castles, buildings and sites that Galway possesses and show you the very best dining and accommodation that Galway has to offer.
Galway is situated in the beautiful province of Connacht in the west of Ireland and reclines on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay. The Irish word for Galway is ‘Gaillimh’ and the name is derived from the river Gaillimh and means “stony” as in “stony river”.
Galway dates back to around 1124, when the King of Connacht constructed the city. Galway’s nickname is “The City of Tribes” because many merchant family tribes led the city in the Hiberno- Norman period. Consequently, the term ‘Galwegian’, meaning Tribesman, was applied to a person from Galway; a term that is still widely used today.
There are so many fascinating and historically significant tourist destinations in Galway to visit that we have had to whittle it down to what our guests tell us are their favorites. We have also included a few more places off the beaten track that you will definitely want to visit.
Lynch Castle is one of the most excellent examples of a medieval town house in Ireland and an exemplary example of an Irish Gothic style limestone building. More notably, it is currently the only complete secular medieval building still in existence in Galway.
It was the residence of The Lynch Family, the most powerful family in Galway. The four story castle is estimated to have been built between the end of the fifteenth and the early sixteenth century. The exact build date is unknown but prominent features within the castle give guiding glues to its vintage.
A great example of these features is at the front of the castle where a framed panel displays the arms of the King of England, Henry VII (1484 – 1509). Equally, at the side of the Castle, a stone enclosed in the wall contains the coat-of-arms of the Earl of Kildare, who took part in the Battle of Knockdoe (1504).
There are some fascinating features in Lynch Castle such as carved gargoyles, and stunning ornamental carved windows. The Castle is now used as a bank but great efforts have been made to preserve the historic architecture and features of the building.
The Spanish Arch is situated on the banks of the River Corrib and was built in 1584 by Mayor Wylliam Martin as an enlargement of the city wall; a means of protecting the city quays known as the Spanish Parade. Additionally, in the 18th century, the Eyre family, after whom Eyre Square is named, further extended the quays and built arches as a way into the new quays.
To the front of the Spanish Arch stands the monument to Christopher Columbus. In 1992, the city of Genoa offered it to Galway to honor the 500th anniversary of the voyage of the New World and the visit of Columbus to Galway in 1477.
Dillon’s Claddagh Gold
Established in 1750, Dillons Claddagh Gold is Ireland’s oldest jewelers and the original makers of the world famous Claddagh Ring. Legend has it that the Claddagh Ring originated in the fishing village near “Claddagh” in Galway Bay.
The distinctive ring has is made up of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. The design has connections to a tribe in Galway, the Joyce family. The phrase “Let love and Friendship reign” represents the image on the ring. Hundreds of years ago, the phrase was used as poesy (a poem or verse used as a motto) for a wedding ring
There is also a peculiar tradition surrounding the way in which the ring is worn. If the ring is worn with the crown facing the fingers then the wearer is said to be in love or married. If the ring is worn with the crown facing the wrist then the wearer is said to be unattached.
There is a small museum within Dillion’s that is known around the world as the smallest museum in Europe. The museum houses some of the oldest Claddagh rings in Ireland which were made by by Goldsmiths Nicolas Burge, Richard Joyce and George Robinson and the pieces date back to 1700 to 1800.
Of particular interest in the museum is the smallest Claddagh ring in the world which sits on top of a tailor’s pin. Visitors to the museum can see the process of production of the rings including the tools used to make the unique rings.
Galway City Museum
The Galway City Museum presents a fascinating display of collections from important Irish artists from the latter end of the 20th century, and the heritage of Galway.
Another inspiring piece in the museum is the statue of the famous Irish poet Padraic O Conaire. This well traveled statue began it journey in Eyre Square’s Kennedy Park but was later transferred to the museum.
The Nora Barnacle House Museum
The second museum of interest is the Nora Barnacle House Museum which is also know as the smallest museum in Ireland. The name may ring a bell with some people as Nora was the wife of the world famous writer James Joyce.
Built in the 1800’s, it is made up of two floors; two room and a minuscule back yard down stairs and one bedroom upstairs, that the family shared. Nora lived here with her family until she moved to Dublin in 1904 where she later married James Joyce.
Accommodation in Galway
The G Hotel & Spa Galway
Situated on the cusp of Galway city and on the edge of Lough Atalia , the outstanding 5 star hotel is minutes away from a plethora of historical and entertainment gems in the city. It offers guests a selections of outstanding designer rooms and suits, a one-of-a-kind spa and spectacular award-winning restaurant choices.
Rooms at the G Hotel
The hotel offers 101 spacious and airy rooms and suits that are a luxurious as they are stylish. Each room is cozy and comfortable while the mellow tones add to the contemporary but relaxing feel of the hotel. The magnificent rooms offer spectacular view of the city, internal garden, Lough Atalia and the bamboo terrace.
Suites at the G Hotel
Suites at the G hotel have incredibly modern but extremely comfortable interiors with super king size beds. These exceedingly spacious rooms offer implausible views of Lough Atalia and the Galway City Skyline.
Dining at The G Hotel
The G Hotel has a collection of absurdly good award winning restaurants. There are a selection of unique dining experience with a distinctively west-of-Ireland flair. A relaxed and cozy feel oozes from all three dining lounges.
GiGi’s restaurant expounds an implausible selection of dishes that are a modern take on traditional pieces. The restaurant presents four daily menus from which guests can choose; The Irish Steakhouse Corner Menu, the Delight Menu, the Indulge Menu and the Share Menu.
The Irish Streakhouse Corner Menu, as the name suggests, is a selection of various steaks which include 8oz Hereford Fillet of Beef, 10oz Dry Aged Rib Eye Steak and the Black Angus T Bone Steak. Guests then choose a sauce to go with their steak which include Pepper & Brandy Sauce, Mushroom Sauce Red Wine Jus and Crisp Garlic Butter Bearnaise Sauce. The beauty of this menu is that there is something to suit absolutely everyone’s taste-buds.
The Delight Menu offers 2 or 3 course options and begins with mouth watering starters such as Combo Cured Organic Sea Trout, followed by mains such as Pan Seared Fillet of Salmon.
The Indulge Menu also offers 2 and 3 course options and begins with dishes such as Thornhill Duck Duck Pastrami & Pistachio Crushed Rillette Pomelo followed by mains such as Pan Seared Fillet of Sole Saffron Potato.
Finally, the Share Menu offers a three course option that begins with Shots of lobster Veloute & Pistachio, Crushed Duck Rilletette followed by Chateaubriand of Beef Pont Neuf Potatoes.
Why not treat yourself to afternoon tea at The G Hotel in one of their luxurious lounges and tickle your taste buds with hand crafted pastries, baked scones, savory bits and sweet treats. For all-out-indulgence, afternoon tea can be accompanied by a glass of Jacquart pink Champaign.
The Spa at The G Hotel
How about relaxing and rejuvenating after a day’s touring with a visit to the Spa at the G Hotel. The magnificently presented contemporary styled spa offers guests 8 treatment rooms, 4 beauty suits, a thermal site, a jacuzzy, crystal steam room and sauna. There is a vast menu of ESPA treatments which are guaranteed to leave you feeling revived and relaxed.
Well that wraps up our tour of Galway. If you would like more information about our Private tour of Galway or any of our Private tours of Ireland, then simply click the enquire button below.
Alternatively, you can call us Toll Free from the US or Canada on 1888 793 0416
All the best,
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