What to See With Little Time in Galway: Four Hours in Town

Most times when we make our travel itinerary, we come to realize that we cannot visit everywhere we want to go no matter how hard we try. Sometimes, we are limited in our capacity to stretch a minute and are forced to run through a place quickly in order to make it to our “real” destination.

We miss a lot of great things about a place that way…

Our day in Galway was brief as we spent only four hours exploring its lively streets - we had to keep our time short in order to make a five hour drive to Portrush, a seaside town in the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.

If your stay in Galway is also short, follow our guide to cruise through town and not miss some of its best sights.

An Overview and Where to Focus

Galway is a cosmopolitan city where its student population, numerous events and celebrated nightlife makes the town a hub for visitors. Easy to explore, its historical town is filled with well-known pubs and it is famous for their oysters, served practically everywhere.

If you arrive in Galway early in the morning, you will be surprised by the scarceness of people. The only activity we witnessed came from delivery men and their double parked trucks along the streets.

Many of the town’s famous pubs and restaurants are located along the medieval part of the city and it is where you should concentrate most of your time.

Start your visit by walking from the River Corrib to the Latin Quarter and explore many of the city’s historical buildings along the way.

Quay and High Streets are great to travel down (this single street actually changes names a few times) and as you walk, the façade of shops will progressively became more colorful and beautifully decorated.

Spots Not to Miss

St. Nicholas Church, Lynch Castle and Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold are a few interesting places to see in the historical area.

The largest medieval parish in Ireland built in 1320; St. Nicholas Church was used by Cromwellian forces as stables for their horses when they took over Galway in 1652.

Lynch Castle rests between colorful buildings. Now just a regular bank, it was a former 16th century townhouse from one of the city’s fourteen ruling tribes.

Supposedly the oldest makers of the famous Claddagh Ring; Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold is a unique and historical jewelry store in the heart of the old town.

The iconic ring - a symbol of friendship, heart and loyalty - is considered to have originated over 400 years ago and is still being made in this store.

If you enjoy memorabilia, visit their tiny museum filled with collectables, stories, letters and the “world’s smallest Claddagh Ring”, sitting under a magnifying glass.

Tip: If you have extra time, consider a short visit to Eyre Square Center. Built into former sections of the city’s historic walls, this contemporary mall overlooks Eyre Square, a modern public park surrounded by buildings and just outside of the historical part of town.  


The Wrap-Up: We left Galway around mid-day, when the city had become extremely busy and teeming with pedestrians. Our stay in County Galway lasted three nights where we visited the stunning Connemara and the rocky Inishmore. With a five hour drive upon us, we grabbed our car, fought our way through the gridlock and made our way towards Northern Ireland.

- Want to see the full trip and plan your next? Check out our Ireland Two Week Itinerary!