101 places to go – Galway

There’s lots to love about Galway: the fact that, as one of Ireland’s most sparsely populated counties, you can appreciate a myriad of flora and fauna in stunning isolation. Or perhaps some of the natural landforms on display, such as Lough Corrib, the Republic of Ireland’s largest lake, the Twelve Bens mountain range or Connemara National Park. And of course there’s the Galway Oyster Festival, one of
Ireland’s most celebrated annual events.

Originally invented as a way to prolong the tourist season, the Oyster Festival has gone from strength to strength and has now become the reason many people visit Galway. Now in its 57th year, this year’s festival runs from 23-25 September and offers a wealth of events, including the National Oyster Opening Championship, a Festival Parade through the streets of Galway and the Bollinger World Oyster Opening Championship.

It would be easy to suggest that the Oyster Fest is the only reason people fall in love with Galway (they are rumoured to be an aphrodisiac, after all!) but there’s plenty more to enjoy. Here are a few of our recommendations…

• Originally built as a rather grand home for wealthy MP, Mitchell Henry, the incredible Kylemore Castle is better known today as a Benedictine monastery with lovely open gardens. The surrounding area is equally beautiful, with a tranquil lake in front and the Connemara Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop.

• A walking tour is one of the best ways to gain an appreciation of the lay of Galway’s land. The Hidden Connemara tours are particularly popular, offering a fascinating (and fun!) history lesson to complement the beautiful views.

Have you been to Galway? Let us know what to see and do in the comments below!

Check out our featured holiday cottages in the region.

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