GIAF’s Summer Guide to Galway

21 June 2024

Welcome to Galway, a vibrant and picturesque city nestled on the rugged western coast of Ireland, perfectly positioned along the renowned Wild Atlantic Way.

What is there to do in Galway during the summer? We are so glad you asked!

As you explore this dynamic cultural hub, you'll discover a captivating blend of traditional Irish charm and contemporary creativity. From its bustling Latin Quarter to the tranquil shores of Galway Bay, the city offers an array of experiences that celebrate its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Experience two weeks of extraordinary arts and culture with Galway International Arts Festival (15-28 July).

With over 100 events spanning across music, theatre, visual arts, comedy, circus, street art and spectacle, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're an art enthusiast, a music lover, or simply looking for a unique experience, the festival promises unforgettable moments and world-class entertainment. Join us in Galway and be part of an extraordinary celebration of creativity and artistic expression that transforms the city into a bustling hub of innovation and inspiration.

Discover GIAF 2024 Events here.

Galway's West End
Galway's West End by Marc Jennings / Up in the Eire

GIAF's Guide to Pubs

Discover the best of Galway's finest pubs and vibrant nightlife, we've curated a list of our favourite places for a cosy pint, classic cocktails, some dancing and live music.

Between Eyre Square and Shop Street, we recommend:

  • O’Connell's Bar
  • An Pucan
  • Hyde Bar
  • The Skeff
  • Garavan's

In Woodquay, we recommend:

  • Hughes Bar
  • McGinn's Hop House
  • Festival Club - Rowing Club (during GIAF)

In The Latin Quarter, we recommend:

  • The Front Door
  • Tigh Neactain's
  • Busker Brownes
  • Bunch of Grapes

And finally, when you cross the bridge to go to The West End, we recommend:

  • Monroe's Tavern
  • Róisín Dubh
  • Taylors Bar & Beer Garden
  • Massimo Bar
  • The Blue Note
Galway's Bustling The Latin Quarter
Galway's Bustling The Latin Quarter. Photo by Marc Jennings / Up in the Eire

GIAF's Guide to Cafes and Quick Bites

Indulge in Galway's culinary delights with our handpicked selection of charming cafes, cozy coffee spots, and specialty food havens, offering everything from artisanal cheeses to delectable pastries.

Here are our top picks:

  • For coffee: Espresso 44 and Coffeewerk + Press
  • For sandwiches and acai bowls: WYLDE
  • For a deli counter and fine foods: McCambridge's
  • For artisanal cheeses, wines, and farmhouse products: Sheridans Cheesemongers
  • For a cold beverage and a 99 ice cream: Holland's Newsagents
  • For breakfast and pastries: GBC Restaurant and Coffee Shop

GIAF's Guide to Restaurants

Savour the flavours of Galway with our guide to the city's exceptional food scene, featuring a diverse array of restaurants that showcase the finest in local and international cuisine. Here's a few places we recommend visiting:

Elephant & Castle serves up burgers, pasta, yummy desserts & their famous chicken wings in an elevated yet cosy atmosphere located on the ground floor of The Dean Galway.

If you're looking to experience the ultimate, classic Fish and Chips, look no further than McDonagh's on Quay Street.

Neapolitan inspired but distinctly Irish, trying The Dough Bros' award winning pizza is a must!

A Michelin Bib Gourman restaurant, Kai Restaurant serves up seasonal dishes sourced locally and cooked intelligently.

Martines Restaurant and Winebar is a family run steak and seafood restaurant nestled nicely on the lively Quay Street in the Latin Quarter.

Begin your day with a delectable brunch or end the evening with delicious cocktails and an incredible view of Galway City at Sophie’s Restaurant & Rooftop Bar.

Now that you know where to go in Galway, where will you stay?

This summer, plan the perfect stay in Galway for you, your budget and your needs. Here are some options:

The Dean Galway: A design-led hotel with a rooftop bar that would be just as at home in Manhattan.

University of Galway Apartments: A variety of bright, contemporary, self-catering apartments is available, each with a kitchen/living area and up to 6 bedrooms.

Flannery’s Hotel: A comfortable hotel with several on-site eateries located on the way into the city.

Galway Bay Hotel: A 4-star hotel on the shores of Galway Bay, complete with stunning sea views.

Travelodge: This budget-friendly hotel is just a ten minute walk from Eyre Square with onsite parking and multiple awards.

Sleepzone: For those looking for a hostel that is friendly, affordable, clean, and centrally located.

See our full list of accommodation recommendations here.

Connemara. Photo by Chaosheng Zhang
Connemara. Photo by Chaosheng Zhang

Now that you’ve experienced Galway City, where should you go next?

Just west of Galway City, along the Wild Atlantic Way, lies Connemara, a stunning region known for its lakes, mountains, rugged coastlines, white sand beaches, and distinctive island communities. In Connemara National Park, you can enjoy fantastic walks and hikes, while the coastline offers opportunities for kayaking and scuba diving. The picturesque country roads, often dotted with sheep, add to the area's charm.

For more information on activities along the Wild Atlantic Way, visit

Find more tips from GIAF on our Visit Galway page.