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Is Galway City Museum Worth A Visit? (Spoiler: It Is + It’s Home To Some Very Unique Artifacts!)

Is Galway City Museum Worth A Visit? (Spoiler: It Is + It’s Home To Some Very Unique Artifacts!)

Af you’re debating a visit to Galway City Museum, you’ve landed in the right place.

Galway City Museum aka ‘Galway Museum’ is one of the most popular places to visit in Galway (especially when it’s raining, which it tends to do… quite a bit!).

A stone’s throw from the historic Spanish Arch, the museum is a great place to soak up the city’s past and step back in time for an hour or to.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from info on Galway City Museum’s opening hours to the buildings history and much more.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Galway City Museum

Inside Galway City Museum

Photo via Galway City Museum on FB

OK, so a visit to Galway City Museum is pretty straightforward, but there’s a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit easier.

1. Location

You’ll find Galway City Museum at the Spanish Arch, one of the most historic corners of Galway City (Spanish Parade, Galway, H91 CX5P).

2. Opening hours

During normal times, the Galway City Museum opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 17:00. Check in advance of your visit.

3. Admission

There’s a reason a visit to the Galway Museum is one of the best free things to do in Galway – admission won’t cost you a penny!

The history of Galway City Museum

galway museum

Photo via Galway City Museum on Facebook

Established in 1976 in a former private home, The Galway City Museum is a folk museum that houses a considerable number of artifacts relating to the city’s history and Irish traditions.

The museum has more than 1,000 objects in its collection, most of which were donated by Galway people over the last 40 years, so there’s plenty to see and do.

The collections include pre-historic Galway, Medieval and post-Medieval, World War One, the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, and 19th Century Galway.

Things to see and Galway Museum

meaning of the Claddagh Ring

Photo left: GracePhotos. Right: GAMARUBA (shutterstock)

There’s a mix of ongoing exhibitions at the Galway City Museum that are there all year round along with a handful of temporary ones.

1. Ongoing exhibitions

Ongoing exhibitions at Galway City Museum include Routes to the Past (Prehistoric Galway); Galway Within the Walls (Medieval Galway); Pádraic Ó Conaire: the Man and the Statue and SeaScience

2. The oldest Claddagh Ring in existance

A recent acquisitions at the Galway City Museum include what is thought to be the oldest Claddagh Ring in existence.

The recent acquisition by the Galway City museum is thought to come from circa 1700. It was the property of a Richard Joyce, who belonged to one of the Merchant tribes of Galway.

3. New exhibitions

Some of the newer exhibitions include Revolution in Galway (1913-1923), Galway & the Great War and GAA: The Three-in-a-Row 1964-66.

4. Temporary exhibitions

The Galway City Museum has a number of temporary exhibitions that explore stories connected to the 1916 EasterRising and the Decade of Commemoration.

5. Unique attractions

Some of the more unique attractions at the Galway Museum include the Galway Civic Sword and Great Mace.

Interestingly enough, the sword dates back to the Charter of King James I (1610) while the Mace was crafted in Dublin in 1710.

Things to do near Galway City Museum

spanish arch galway

Photo left via Google Maps. Photo right by Stephen Power

There’s heaps of things to do a stone’s throw from the Galway City Museum. From great places to eat and pubs to museums, walks and more, you’ll find plenty to see and do below.

1. The Spanish Arch

Walking down by Spanish Arch Galway

Photo by Stephen Power via Failte Ireland

Rooted in Medieval times, the arch was built in 1584, but has its origins in the 12th century Norman-built town wall. And, even though a tsunami partially destroyed the Spanish Arch in 1755, there’s still enough left to have a good gawk at.

2. The Long Walk

Galway City

Photo by Luca Fabbian (Shutterstock)

The Long Walk is an extended promenade right next to the Spanish Arch that was built in the 18th century. Best viewed from across the water as the sun drops, the Long Walk is a fine place to ramble out to, if you’d like to escape the city without actually leaving it.

3. Food, pubs and live music

the front door pub galway

Photo via the Front Door pub on Facebook

If you’re feeling peckish (or thirsty!) after visiting the Galway City Museum, there’s plenty of places to eat and drink nearby. Here’s some guides to jump into:

4. Salthill

things to do in salthill

Photo left: Lisandro Luis Trarbach. Photo right: mark_gusev (Shutterstock)

The town of Salthill is another fine spot to escape to, if you fancy seeing a bit of the Galway coastline. It’s a 30-50-minute walk out to Salthill and it’s well worth the visit.

There’s loads of things to do in Salthill and there’s plenty of great restaurants in Salthill to nip into if you’re hungry.

5. Menlo Castle

menlo castle galway

Photo left by Lisandro Luis Trarbach on Shutterstock. Photo right by Simon Crowe via Ireland’s Content Pool

There’s lots of great castles near Galway City that are worth a visit (there are plenty of castles in Galway worth seeing, too!). One of the most frequently missed is the brilliant Menlo Castle. You can walk here, if you like, but you’re better off driving, if possible.

6. Connemara

aerial view of Gurteen Beach

Photo via mbrand85 on

There’s plenty of things to do in Connemara to keep you occupied. Here’s a few activities to get you started:

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