Galway City Museum
Follow galwaymuseum on Twitter
Find Galway City Museum on Facebook
Fáilte chuig Músaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe   Welcome to Galway City Museum

Pádraic Ó Conaire Statue Views from Galway City Museum Map of Galway City from 1610 Galway Hooker

Welcome to Galway City Museum

The Museum is a spacious, modern building, situated in the heart of Galway city on the banks of the River Corrib and overlooking the famous Spanish Arch. It houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions representing Galway's rich archaeology, heritage and history.

Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Sunday, 12pm to 5pm (from Easter Sunday to September only)
Closed on Monday.

Please note the museum will be closed on Good Friday, 3rd April 2015.



Recent News

Exhibitions 2014


Podcasting the Past

Since October 2013, Galway City Museum has been running a Thursday evening lecture series covering a wide range of themes relating to the history and heritage of Galway.

These fascinating and engaging talks by specialists in their fields, included Galway slave traders in the Caribbean by Dr. Orla Power, TCD, traditional boat songs of the west coast by Dr. Ríonach Uí Ógain, Director of the National Folklore Collection, UCD, and the Galway writings of John Millington Synge by Prof. Patrick Lonergan, NUI, Galway.

A selection of these popular talks were recorded as podcasts and are now being made available for download, free of charge, on iTunes. To listen to the poscasts click HERE.




Galway - Within the Walls

17th Century Galway 'Street View'

RealSim’s team of archaeological researchers and 3D artists have turned the extraordinarily detailed 1651 Pictorial Map of Galway into a highly realistic and interactive 3D representation now on display at Galway City Museum. What sets this model apart is a simple interchange which allows users to travel back to the future by seamlessly toggling between the modern and medieval streets. One viewer has described this as “17th century Street View”.  Visitors can experience this magical addition to the Medieval exhibition on the ground floor of museum.

Image courtesy of the Dept. of Archaeology, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI, Galway and the National Museum of Ireland A Portugese Faience vase* found at Quay St, Galway and dated to 1600-1650 features in the Galway - Within the Walls exhibition

Little is known about Galway prior to the 12th century. Galway first appears in recorded history as the place where Toirdhealbhach Ó Conchobhair, king of Connacht erected a fortification at Bun na Gaillimhe (the mouth of the River Galway).

In 1230 the Anglo-Norman Richard de Burgo fought with Gaelic Irish at Galway but was forced to withdraw. Richard returned in 1232 and built the first stone castle in Galway. Richard's son Walter is credited with establishing the walled town at Galway having granted the citizens their first mural charter c. 1270, which allowed them the right to levy tolls on goods to finance the building of the town walls.

This exhibition tells the story of life in medieval Galway and its residents, in times of fortune and strife. It features a large selection of archaeological artefacts found in the City in recent years.

*Image courtesy of the Dept. of Archaeology, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI, Galway and the National Museum of Ireland

The Galway Hooker

This exhibition tells the story of the iconic Galway Hooker boat, unique to the west coast of Ireland and regularly spotted on Galway Bay. It documents both the history and living tradition of these boats through objects, film, text and imagery. The exhibition illustrates the pivotal role these vessels played in the social and working lives of Galway coastal communities. The boats vary in size and shape and this is determined by their functionality i.e. cargo or regatta. The displays are a strong addition to the iconic Máirtín Oliver hooker, which has been one of the highlights of the museum since its installation in 2006. This is a long-term exhibition created in-house. Visitors can access it on the first floor of the museum.

Cinema: Galway Goes to the Pictures

This exhibition looks at one hundred years of cinemas in Galway from the very first venue in 1911 to the proposed development of an arthouse cinema in 2011. The people of Galway remember 'going to the pictures' and their stories are told through film, photographs, artefacts and a colourful display of cinema posters. Highlights include John Ford's Director's Chair used during the filming of The Quiet Man in 1952 and a Projector lightbox from the old Claddagh Palace cinema (1975-1995).

The art of film-making, the science of projection and the business of running the many cinema venues in Galway relied on people from all walks of life. As part of the People's History of Galway Project this cinema exhibition explores the role played by cinema in Galway's social life.