Taking its name from the Spanish ships that once docked beneath it, the Spanish Arch was built as an access point to Galway. A tsunami in 1755 damaged the structure, but it is still standing today. Visitors to Galway often encounter the arch during a stroll along the 18th-century promenade that flanks the quays. Several tours of Galway offer the chance to see the arch including the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus, bike tours, and city walking tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Spanish Arch is a must-see attraction for history buffs.
- To explore Galway City in comfort, wear flat shoes; some of the cobbled streets have uneven surfaces.
- Near the arch, admire the Madonna of Quays sculpture, carved from wood by artist Claire Sheridan.
How to Get There
Accessible only by foot, the Spanish Arch is located near Quay Street overlooking the River Corrib. It is a 10-minute walk from both the main square in Galway City, Eyre Square, and Galway’s train station. Most visitors arrive by foot as part of an exploration of Galway’s historic city center.
When to Get There
The most popular time for travelers to visit Galway is during the summer months, but the city is a university town which means that the student population keeps it bustling year-round. Several festivals are worth traveling for including the Galway Oyster Festival in September and the Galways Arts Festival in July. The holiday season in December sees the city decorated in festive lights.
Galway City Museum
Right beside the Spanish Arch is the Galway City Museum, an exhibition space focused on the history, archaeology, and cultural heritage of Galway. Explore exhibitions covering topics such as Prehistoric Galway, the 1916 Rising, and World War I. The museum is also home to a cozy cafe.
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