The Christmas period offers us many great opportunities to get out and about with the family, with so many things to do, people to see and places to visit. This week, we thought we would take a look at one of Ireland’s most popular travel destinations; the stunning and friendly county of Galway.
Often called “Ireland’s Cultural Heart”, Galway is an area with plenty to see and do this Christmas, with its cobbled streets, medieval buildings and friendly locals helping to create the perfect festive atmosphere. Galway is full of great places to visit throughout the year but there’s something magical about the county and particular the city of Galway during the months of December and January. With many great family hotels throughout Galway, you’ll be spoilt for choice with accommodation and things to do this Christmas.
Here’s a list of our top 5 places to visit this festive season if you visit “the city of the tribes”.
Galway Christmas Market
Located in Eyre Square in the centre of Galway city, the Christmas continental market transforms the city into a real Christmas wonderland. Packed with lots of great stalls, there’s so much to do in the market for all of the family. The Galway Christmas market is one of the longest running in Ireland and is expected to attract up to 650,000 visitors up until it finishes, on Sunday 22nd December. With lots of great food and craft stalls and plenty of entertainment for the kids including Santa’s grotto, storytelling, school choirs, puppet shows and much more, be sure to check out the Christmas continental market when in Galway this December.
Galway on Ice
Eyre Square promises to be a busy area in Galway this Christmas with the many shops, bars and markets making it a popular destination for visitors. One area to be sure to visit with the family this year is Galway on ice which is located in the harbour district of the city, approximately 200 metres from Eyre Square. This is the first year of the rink in the city and it is proving extremely popular and could very well become a regular fixture over the festive period. The ice rink is a must visit for families and whether your familiar with the skates and ice, or not, you’ll not feel out of place on the rink. With a skate school, lessons and assistants to help you and your family enjoy your journey around the ice, you’ll be sure to leave wanting more. The first three sessions each day are family focused, so if you have young kids who would like to take to the ice, it’s best to try and get there early. The ice rink will be running until January 2014 with tickets available from as little as €8 per person or €30 for a family ticket.
The Atlantaquaria located in Galway is Ireland’s national aquarium and a must see place if you visit with the family. With so much to see and do, it can become a real learning experience for all the family and you may even find yourself coming away with some new knowledge for sea life. With an ocean tank, touch pools and the skeleton of a 60ft fin whale among the attractions, a visit to Atlantaquaria is a great way to spend a day with the family in Galway. The aquarium is closed every Monday and Tuesday during winter for maintenance work.
If you wish to get away from the general hustle and bustle that can come with a busy city centre in the run up to Christmas then Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill could be just what you are after. It is an award winning Celtic gardens and visitor centre with a nature trail, children’s discover trail, woodlands & meadow area and an ancient ring fort. With a cafe and plenty of events over the Christmas period, this is a great place to spend a day this festive season. This Christmas, Santa’s Christmas Magic takes place from 20th – 22nd December and is worth getting along to with the family. This is a Santa experience with a difference as the whole family gets a gift, followed by music, dancing and lots and lots of family fun.
Galway Sportsground may seem like a strange place for the family this Christmas, but it is home to the Connacht Rugby Union team and the festive season will be a busy period for the team. Rugby is one of the biggest sports in Ireland and despite being seen as the weakest of the four Irish provinces, Connacht has made great strides in recent years and the atmosphere on a game night is worth taking in. There are two home games over the Christmas holidays with Welsh side Newport Dragons visiting on Saturday 21st December before the all Irish affair with Leinster on 4th January. If you are visiting Galway over this period or are new to the game of rugby, why not treat the family to something different and experience the atmosphere and enjoyment of a live rugby match.
With lots to see and do in Galway this festive season have a Christmas to remember by visiting Galway with the family. It’s easy to see why the county continues to be such a popular travel destination for thousands of people every year.