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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- 9 of the best pubs in Galway (for live music, craic and post-adventure pints!)
- 11 superb restaurants in Galway for a TASTY feed tonight
- 9 of the best places for breakfast and brunch in Galway
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.
5. Menlo Castle
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.
There’s plenty of things to do in Connemara to keep you occupied. Here’s a few activities to get you started:
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.