Founded in 1978, the Galway International Arts Festival collaborates with artists and companies throughout the world to produce and present an international programme of theatre, spectacle, dance, visual arts, music, literature & comedy involving hundreds of artists and performers. GIAF is at the heart of all aspects of life in Galway City contributing immeasurably to the economic, social and cultural life of the west of Ireland. Over its history the Festival has become a vital showcase for Irish arts internationally and international arts in Ireland and is now firmly established as Ireland's leading arts festival. The festival takes place every year during the last two weeks in July. www.galwayartsfestival.ie
Adrenaline-pumping action, heart-stopping finishes and breath-taking fashion are all to be found at the Galway Races. Situated on the outskirts of Galway City, the Galway Race Festival is world renowned. Veteran race goers, and those who simply love the atmosphere, travel from around the world for the unique experience. The Summer Festival Race Meeting is famous for its electric atmosphere, excellent racing and infectious sense of fun. Celebrities can be seen sipping champagne by the Champagne Tent and the more conservative can be heard above the crowd as the horses round the bend into the home stretch. The Festival runs for seven consecutive days starting from the last Monday in July each year. galwayraces.com
Enjoy the thrill of the Dog Races from this fantastic Greyhound stadium. Enjoy dinner and drinks in the Masters Restaurant while placing your bets at your table with a full tote service. www.igb.ie
Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival
The first Oyster Festival in Galway took place in 1954. A local hotelier came up with the idea of celebrating the opening of the oyster season with a festival. With help from local businessmen and Guinness, the first festival took place the following September with 34 guests attending the first Oyster Festival Banquet and from such humble beginnings grew what is now regarded as one of the most celebrated and longest running festivals in the world. For the best in gourmet seafood, live music and the best Guinness in town, it is well worth making the trip to the Galway Oyster Festival. For three days and nights in September, Galway City comes alive as thousands of people travel from the four corners of the world to enjoy a remarkable festival celebrating the oyster, a food known for its mysterious luxury and passion. galwayoysterfest.com
Babóro International Arts Festival for Children
Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is recognised as the leading Irish arts festival devoted exclusively to children with an attendance record of over 72,000 since its foundation in 1997. For one week in October, Baboro has been devoted to presenting high quality national and international arts performances and workshops for children in and out of schools. Venues in and around Galway are used for the presentation of this festival with selected artists travelling out to county schools, youth centres and community centres. baboro.ie
Cúirt International Festival of Literature
The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is Ireland's premier literary event. The festival annually brings authors of local, national and international repute to Galway for readings, workshops, discussions and book signings. Over the course of its history, the Cúirt Festival has hosted a dazzling array of literary talent, including Nobel Prize winners, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney. Contemporary literature is given a full airing during the week of the festival and there are events to suit all literary tastes and interests. galwayartscentre.ie
Galway Early Music Festival
Since its inception in 1996, Galway Early Music has produced annual festivals which celebrated the culture of Europe from the 12th to the 18th century in music, dance, costume and colour. The aim of the festival is to create an audience for the music and dance of the medieval, renaissance and baroque periods through concerts and participation in workshops and masterclasses. The festival also encourages interaction of professional and amateur musicians and the development of historically informed performance in Galway and in Ireland as a whole. Galway Early Music Festival takes place in May each year. galwayearlymusic.com
Galway Comedy Festival
The Galway Comedy Festival has grown year on year to its current position as one of Ireland’s top festivals, attracting world class comedians and thousands of visitors to Galway for a last blast of laughter before winter.
Some of the stars who have performed over the last few years include: Bill Bailey, John Bishop, Dylan Moran, Jim Jefferies, Tommy Tiernan, Sean Lock, Dara Ó Briain, Kevin Bridges, Stewart Lee, Ross Noble, Ardal O’Hanlon, Gina Yashere, Reginald D Hunter, Shappi Khorsandi, Milton Jones, Rich Hall, Joel Dommett, Rhys Darby, Deirdre O’Kane, Jon Richardson, Foil Arms & Hog, Aisling Bea and literally hundreds more.
The festival operates in a dozen venues in Galway for the week, plus they take over the city’s main plaza, Eyre Square and erect their comedy village, with venues, food outlets, beer stalls and general tomfoolery. They showcase improv and sketches, solo shows, mixed bill shows and new act showcases in multiple venues throughout the city. www.galwaycomedyfestival.ie
Clarenbridge Oyster Festival
Clarenbridge Village is a little piece of heaven just 15 minutes' drive south of Galway City and 15 minutes' drive from Raheen Woods Hotel. The first Oyster Festival was in 1954 and since then Clarenbridge has hosted many National and International celebrities and has contributed enormously to the development of the tourist trade in the region. September 1st ends the oysters honeymoon and the eating season opens with the Gala Oyster Celebration in the festival marquee. That's when oyster lovers head for Clarenbridge to sample what are recognised as "probably the most succulent Oysters in the World!'' www.clarenbridge.com
Galway Town Hall Theatre
The building which houses the Town Hall Theatre was erected in the 1820's and served first as a Courthouse and later as a conventional Town Hall. In the 1950's, the building was converted into a cinema and was used for film screenings until it fell into disrepair in the 1990's. Galway Corporation, with the assistance of a grant from the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, undertook a major refurbishment of the building between 1993 and 1995 and it re-opened as a state of the art, 393 seat Municipal Theatre in October, 1995. The Theatre is situated in the centre of Galway and features a fine portico overlooking the newly renovated Courthouse Square and a bar/cafe in the upper foyer. tht.ie
Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery
Situated in Galway city, and only 15 minutes from Raheen Woods Hotel, Kennys was established in 1940 by Des & Maureen Kenny. Web folklore has it that Kennys Bookshop was the second bookshop in the world to have its own website. Only a sci-fi shop in San Francisco beat them to it. As pioneers of bookselling online, Kennys have continually redeveloped their site over the years to keep up-to-date on the changing trends and needs of it' customers. Kennys has a renowned stock of books on Irish history, culture, literature and language, as well as a comprehensive selection of non-Irish material that covers all aspects of the human experience. kennys.ie
Theatre plays a large role in Galway with three theatres; The Taibhearc, The Druid and The Town Hall Theatre. The Taibhearc, situated Middle Street, is mainly an Irish language theatre. Athenry Drama group has performed many outstanding plays at this venue. The Druid has played host to some of the best theatrical productions in the country and the Town Hall is Galway's Municipal theatre. All theatres are just 20 minutes by car or train from Raheen Woods Hotel.
The nightlife in Galway is buzzing. There are numerous pubs to suit every occasion. Quay Street is a must for those interested in traditional Irish music and Galway also has a number of nightclubs to cater for the younger age group.
Check out these links for more information on Events in Galway: www.discoverireland.com
Enjoy a one night break at Raheen Woods Hotel, overlooking the Fields of Medieval Athenry.