From narrow streets alive with activity and Irish culture to amazing landscapes and seascapes – Galway City has it all.
Here’s our list of top ten interesting facts about Galway City:
1. Galway is the fourth most populated city in the Republic of Ireland - according to the 2016 census, the population of Galway is 79,934.
2. The park at the center of Galway City is officially called John F. Kennedy Park. However, it is still known by most Irish people as Eyre Square. It was renamed John F. Kennedy Park in the 1970s after the visit of Ireland's favorite US President. The square is home to the old city gates and its defending cannon.
3. Galway is nicknamed “The City of Tribes” (“Cathair na dTreabh”) after the fourteen merchant families who led the city during the Hiberno-Norman period.
4. The city is known for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events including the summer’s Galway Arts Festival which is known for its famous Macnas (the arts group) parade.
5. There are many symbols associated with Galway. These include the Claddagh Ring, Galway's own symbol of love and friendship, worn the world over; the Aran Sweater, an emblem, not only of the Aran Islands but of Ireland itself; and the Galway Hookers, ships that distinguish themselves as Galway’s signature upon the water.
6. In 2007, Galway was named one of the top eight “sexiest cities” in the world, and in 2008, it was ranked the 42nd best tourist destination in the world and 14th in Europe.
7. According to the 2016 census, Galway city and its suburbs had the highest rate of Irish speakers (41.4%). (Nearly half - 49% - of the population of Galway County could speak Irish in 2016!)
8. The Aran Islands, probably Ireland’s most famous islands, are located just off the coast of Galway. The three islands – Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer – are the perfect place to visit to see Ireland at its best. They are also Gaeltacht areas.
9. The most famous person born in Galway is the great Hollywood actor Peter O’Toole. Peter Seamus Lorcan O’Toole was born in Connemara in 1932. Most famous for his role in the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia,” poor O’Toole holds the world record for Oscar nominations without actually winning. He was nominated an incredible eight times without bringing home a golden statue.
10. The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, a townland in the civil parish of Kilcummin, County Galway. In Irish, its name is Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile, meaning "piggery between two briny places".
*Originally published in 2014. Last updated in January 2021.
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