the family names and crests of the fourteen tribes of Galway - photo by Eoin Gardiner under CC BY 2.0
the family names and crests of the fourteen tribes of Galway - photo by Eoin Gardiner under CC BY 2.0


Along the River Corrib, one can find the Irish city of Galway. With a chronicle dating back to 12th century, it is no surprise that there are several historical sites in Galway City. Here are some of them:


Historical Sites in Galway – Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas

Galway is home to a medieval house of worship that was founded in the 14th century and dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra. It was where Duḃaltaċ MacḞirḃisiġ produced the Leabhar na nGenealach in 1650. It was also where the mayoralty and city council elections were held during the time of the Tribes of Galway.

Historical Sites in Galway – James Mitchell Geology Museum

What remains of the now defunct Natural History Museum of the National University of Ireland, Galway is a museum that features rock, mineral and fossil collections. Founded in 1852, among the first exhibits were rocks, mineral and fossil collections of William King.


Historical Sites in Galway – Lynch Memorial Window

According to legend, the Lynch Memorial Window is where James Lynch FitzStephen hanged his own son in 1493 for murdering a merchant sailor from Spain. The Spanish merchant sailor is said to be a rival romance to the girlfriend of James Lynch FitzStephen’s son. At the time, James Lynch FitzStephen was Galway’s mayor and magistrate. It is said no one wanted to perform the execution, so the mayor carried out the deed himself to make sure justice prevailed. After this, the mayor retired into seclusion.

Lynch’s Castle

At the junction of Abbeygate Street and Shop Street in Galway City, one can find Lynch’s Castle – a fortified house from the medieval era. It was home to the Lynch family, one of the Galway tribes, and it is believed that parts of the limestone structure date back to the 14th century. Today, the castle houses AIB Bank.

National University of Ireland, Galway

NUI Galway was established in 1845 and opened in 1849 as Queen’s College Galway. Stretching along River Corrib, its oldest part is its quadrangle and the nearby Aula Maxima. Among the notable faculty of NUI Galway include Nicholas Canny, Michael Daniel Higgins, George Johnstone Stoney and William King.

Salmon Weir Bridge

The Salmon Weir Bridge is recognized as the oldest surviving viaduct spanning across the River Corrib. Built in 1818, it originally linked the county courthouse to the county jail in Nun’s Island.

Spanish Arch

Along with the Caoċ Arch, the Spanish Arch is what remains of the Ceann an Bhalla or Front Wall that protected Galway City’s quays. The Front Wall was constructed in 1584 and during the 18th century, the two arches were added to provide access between the town and the Long Walk.

The Browne Doorway

The Browne Doorway can be found in Eyre Square in Galway City. This freestanding monument was the entrance to the 17th century Browne family house. Today, the Renaissance doorway is a commemoration of the architecture during the glory days of the civic opulence in Galway.  

The Fisheries Watchtower Museum

This restored 19th century Victorian watchtower is one of the historic landmarks in the city of Galway. Originally built to be a draft netting post, it was also utilized as a watchtower for monitoring fish stocks and unlawful fishing activity. It is presently home to The Fisheries Watchtower Museum that showcases vintage photographs and fishery memorabilia.