Trip tips: Galway, Ireland's most Irish city

Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:25am EDT
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By Aimee Donnellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Known as Ireland's most Irish city, Galway is making a name as its cultural capital.

Located 130 miles (210 km) west of Dublin, at the edge of Europe, the city's remote coastal position has not deterred visitors that over the years have included Christopher Columbus, John F. Kennedy and the Spanish Armada.

Also known as "the city of tribes" after the 14 merchant families that ruled between the 13th and 19th centuries, Galway has the highest concentration of native Irish speakers. It is the birthplace of James Joyce's wife and muse Nora Barnacle.

The university draws youth into this medieval city whose arts and music scenes are thriving despite Ireland's near economic collapse and painful austerity policies.

Live music is standard fare in the pubs, so don't be surprised if a group begins what looks to be a spontaneous session.

Galway's festival season that used to run from May to October is expanding to meet the demands of increasing tourist traffic. The city is preparing for science and visual arts festivals in November and the Continental Christmas Market.

Here are tips for getting the most out of the Galway area from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists in all parts of the world offer visitors the best local insights.