Take in a show or watch a movie
1 | Róisín Dubh
The two stages at the Róisín Dubh regularly feature a stellar lineup as the venue brings established names to Galway while also providing a platform for emerging artists. Some of the many musical highlights include appearances by artists from Billy Bragg to Ellie Goulding, while comedians like Stewart Lee and Rich Hall name it as one of their favourite places to perform.
2 | Monroe's Tavern
In its historic building Monroe's Tavern presents free live music seven nights a week. For over five decades, stars like Christy Moore have entertained in the original wooden bar interior with its snug. Added in 2009, the adjoining Monroe's Live venue's changing lineup includes featured acts like Kodaline, The Academic and Mary Coughlan.
The Black Gate Cultural Centre has a café and wine-bar, but it’s also a venue, mini cinema and library. In these versatile spaces you’ll find concerts, book readings, exhibitions and screenings. This is a home for artists and a haven for lovers of art, a hip space with heart and plenty of room for music, literature, art, film and dance to thrive.
Dating from the 1820s, the Town Hall Theatre is the major performance arts venue in Galway. Hosting drama, concerts, musicals and diverse events it’s a regular venue on the festival circuit. Most of The Druid Theatre Company’s performances also take place here. The Druid is a writers' theatre, nurturing playwrights through its programmes while also presenting Irish and international classics.
5 | Pálás Cinema
If you fancy an arthouse flick, there’s a gem in the heart of the Latin Quarter at Pálás Cinema. At this three screen cinema, there’s a programme bursting with a mix of homegrown and international movies. The eclectic schedule includes features, shorts special events and festivals.
As you’re choosing your entertainment, check out What’s On in Galway City with listings for everything from comedy to theatre, and dance to music.
Tap into Galway’s creative scene
Specialising in contemporary Irish art, The Kenny Gallery focuses on work from the 19th and 20th centuries and also hosts exhibitions from international artists. As a bonus, spend hours browsing in their bookshop next door, in existence since 1940.
Find emerging talent at 126 Artist-Run Gallery. Here, professional creatives donate their time to maintain an exhibition space committed to challenging art. Pushing the boundaries is top of the agenda and cutting edge work by recent graduates and early career artists is a highlight.
The Galway Arts Centre‘s historic Dominic Street building features two galleries showcasing Irish and international contemporary pieces. This hive for cultural activity hosts a range of classes in art, writing and photography, and workshops in drama, music and voice. The Arts Centre also manages the nearby Nun’s Island Theatre, a restored church presenting live performances and visual arts installations.
Time travel through centuries
Gathering clouds present the ideal opportunity to delve into Galway's past. A trip to the Galway City Museum by the Spanish Arch unlocks the city’s heritage through hundreds of evocative objects. Put yourself in the boots of an infantryman in the Great War or marvel at the MONUMENT exhibition as you get glimpses of everyday life at the iconic clifftop Dún Aonghasa fort.
Only a few minutes’ walk away from the museum in the Latin Quarter, Ard Bia at Nimmos is the ideal stop to refuel. Try the Connemara crab tostada’s or buttermilk and orange pancakes for brunch, or warm up with a grilled Gubbeen cheese and chorizo toastie for lunch before heading back out to dodge raindrops.
Pop into St Nicholas' Collegiate Church for a self guided tour of the largest medieval parish church in Ireland in continuous use as a place of worship. Among several monuments and memorials the oldest belongs to a Crusader named Adam Bures, with a marker dating from the 13th century. At the roof edge the church is topped off by gargoyles carved as the heads of horses and humans, a manticora and a fierce stone lion.
11 | Katie’s Cottage
To experience what life in Galway was like back in the day, visit Katie’s Cottage also the home of the Wild Atlantic Workshop. From the open fire to the sash windows and half door, everything is as it was 200 years ago. Wander through the traditional thatched cottage and visit the Wild Atlantic Workshop design studio for handmade gifts. For a sweet treat in a vintage atmosphere, stop into Katie’s Tea Shop for a restorative cuppa and delicious homemade bakes like cranberry and orange tea bread.
Grab an umbrella and do a tour
If you prefer to travel on wheels, stay dry while you see all the key sights with Lally Tours on their double-decker, open-top, sight-seeing bus tour. Spend an hour in comfort as the route winds its way past Galway Harbour, The Claddagh, Salthill Promenade, Galway Cathedral and many more of the city's landmarks. With regular departures from Eyre Square and Salthill and 48-hour ticket options, hop on and off as you explore the city at your own pace.
If walking in the rain is your thing, don your hooded jacket and comfortable shoes to take a stroll with Galway City Tours. Learn about the rich history of the City of the Tribes and the impact of the Famine on the region as you’re guided through the streets of Galway. Or why not arrange a private ramble with Galway City Walking Tours? Departing from Eyre Square (or the starting point of your choice), your guide takes you to historical spots like Lynch’s Castle, St Nicholas' Collegiate Church and The Kings Head pub before finishing at the Spanish Arch.
Explore Galway’s natural history
14 | Galway Atlantaquaria
Visit Galway Atlantaquaria and take a deep dive into our rivers, lakes and oceans. Located along the Salthill Promenade, it’s Ireland’s largest native species aquarium. Angel sharks, stingrays and porcelain crabs float, glide and scuttle through displays designed to reflect natural habitats. Dedicated to biodiversity and conservation, with a collection from around the world it’s a celebration of life under water.
While in the Aquarium Building, pop into Ground & Co. and grab a window seat with a view of Galway Bay. A Nutella hot chocolate will sweeten any damp day. Savoury specials include a buttermilk chicken wrap with ranch and iceberg, or halloumi, avocado and red onion on ciabatta.
Escape the drizzle at the National University of Ireland Galway, also home to the James Mitchell Museum, and discover over 500 examples of creatures at Galway’s Dead Zoo. The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum on the ground floor of the Ryan Institute is positively stuffed full of exotic animals from the four corners of the globe. The collection of mammals, birds, and fish includes specimens once owned by Charles Darwin.
Have a bite to eat or an afternoon treat
16 | Galway Food Tours
Bring an empty belly and a curious mind and join Galway Food Tours on a journey of culinary discovery. Whether you prefer a day or evening option and want to move around on foot or by bicycle, a choice of itineraries seeks out local specialities. If you’re looking for wonderful whiskey, artisan chocolate or ocean fresh oysters, you’ll be guided straight to Galway’s best delicacies.
17 | Micil Distillery
While away a wet afternoon immersed in whiskey making history. Head upstairs at the Oslo Bar in Salthill to the Micil Distillery that’s been six generations in the making. Learn about their poitín based on a centuries old recipe and taste test their award winning gin. On a behind the scenes tour you’ll see where the magic happens at this fully functional distillery and visitors centre.
18 | Kai Restaurant
Named in the top three places to eat in the world by Lonely Planet, Kai Restaurant's simple formula of serving high quality organic or wild produce has seen it win awards every year since it opened. Visit at lunchtime for warming fare like the chicken noodle bowl or their own Kai sausage roll, while dishes like Roscommon lamb chops followed by malt ice cream and strawberries make for a delicious dinner experience.
Discover all the fantastic things to do in Galway City whatever the weather and plan your trip to this dynamic destination.