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Galway is a pleasant town in western Ireland. There aren't many real sights, but this is overly compensated by its friendly people, the laid back atmosphere, cozy pubs and excellent restaurants. Furthermore, the city is the gateway to western Ireland with its many castles and the beautiful Connemara swamp area. Off the coast are the Aran Islands: Inishmore (with five fortresses on this island alone), Inishmaan and Inisheer.
Galway is the fastest growing city in Ireland. In 2010 its population was 75,000, that number is expected to grow to 100,000 in 2020.
Galway is situated on the west coast of Ireland, at the mouth of the River Corrib, which flows into Galway Bay. North of this bay (and west of Galway) are the Connemara wetlands. The famous Cliffs of Moher at Hags Head lie southwest of the city.
Just like in the rest of Ireland, the high-tech industry (ICT, biotechnology and medical devices) are well represented in Galway. Tourism is of great importance: the town is visited by more than two million people annually. Furthermore, Galway is an administrative and educational center for western Ireland.
Galway's small airport is located ten kilometers east of the city center. This airport is easily accessible by rental car. From the city follow the N6 and at Carrowmoneash take the N18. The way to Galway Airport is clearly signposted.
Larger Shannon Airport is located ninety kilometers south of Galway and is accessible via the N18. By rental car the trip from Shannon Airport to Galway takes about one hour.
The city has good public transport. There are two bus companies: Bus Éireann (11 city bus lines) and City Direct Galway (four lines). From the bus station in the center of town you can take buses to the eastern or western parts of town.
The center of Galway is largely traffic-free. Around the center is a ring (Cuar Inmheánach). It is not difficult to find your way around in Galway, but in summer it can get very busy. Furthermore, it can be difficult to find a parking space. In the streets it is often not allowed to park more than two hours and the rates of the parking facilities are quite high.
For tours around the area, a rental car is ideal. Both the N59 (along the west side of Lake Lough Corrib) and the R337 (along Galway Bay) lead to the Connemara's beautiful landscape.
There is a huge range of accommodations in Galway. Especially budget travelers will not have any trouble finding shelter, but there are also middle class and luxury hotels. Furthermore there are a lot of privately run bed & breakfasts. Despite this large amount of accommodations we recommend you to book yours well in advance, when you're planning on visiting Galway during summer.
For more information about Galway we recommend Google and the following sources: