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The best of Galway
With its large student population and position smack bang on the monumentally popular Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is a city with plenty of dynamism. Long known as a bohemian, artsy kind of place, this western Irish city has some of the liveliest nightlife in the country, not to mention some of the best places to feast on fresh seafood and plenty of pubs for knocking back a few pints of the black stuff. Visit in September for the oyster festival, come in summer to mess about on the river or call in in winter for cosy nights in snug pubs. And whenever you’re in town, be sure to book one of these top hotels. Some boast Orient Express train carriages or ancient abbey remains, others rooftop hot tubs or top-class restaurants, and every single one has a bar worth staying in for and a location that makes exploring Galway easy.
This is a city on the west coast of Ireland, at the very edge of Europe before it gives way to the wild Atlantic, which makes the variety of things to do in Galway a non-surprise. The town's famously bohemian vibe has always been as far as wandering artists and musicians could go so, very often, the folks just stayed. In the city centre, craft shops sit alongside old-fashioned pubs where nightly sessions of traditional music and dance send echoes through the cobbled streets. History pulsates everywhere, from the remnants of the city walls by the Latin Quarter (now a lively strip of restaurants and bars) to a convent-turned-boutique-hotel and the traditional fishing boats at rest in Claddagh, home of the famous Claddagh ring design. As you drink coffee or a pint at an outdoor table and watch the world go by, the fresh salt wind will reminds you that Galway is at heart an ocean town and that the sea has informed the local way of life for generations. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.