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City of the Tribes

Places to go in the City of the Tribes

St Nicholas' Church

Collegiate Church is one of the oldest parish churches in Ireland. It has been a place of worship since the 14th Century.

In common with many mediaeval ports, Galway dedicated its church to the patron saint of sailors. According to recent research, Columbus visited St. Nicholas' in 1477.

Today, St. Nicholas' is still at the heart of the city's activities. The main Galway market is held every Saturday outside its gates. In addition to its regular services, St. Nicholas' hosts concerts throughout the year.

St. Nicholas is the largest medieval church in use in Ireland today. The early sections of the church date from 1320, although tradition tells us that St. Nicholas was built upon the ruins of an older structure, and part of the chancel's south wall may incorporate some of this earlier material.

The Church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the 4th century Archbishop of Myra. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, merchants, sailors, scholars and virgins. Because of his veneration among sailors, many medieval seaport towns have churches dedicated to him. Given that he is also the patron saint of merchants, it seems that Nicholas was the clear choice for patron saint of Galway.

Known for his boundless generosity, he is best known to us today as Santa Claus.

Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch, which is located on the banks of the river Corrib, was built in 1584. It was originally an extension of the famous city walls, designed to protect the quays. Today The Spanish Arch is home to the Galway City Museum, which nestles into one of its impressive walls.

Galway has provided a port of call for sailors since the beginning of recorded history. St. Brendan surely used the city as a base to set up his monasteries along the Corrib's edge in the sixth century.

A plaque near the one pictured here claims Columbus visited the city before his epic voyage.

If he had, maybe he would have bumped into many other sailors who already knew about the 'new world' - Basque fishermen who disappeared on long voyages west and returned with ships laden with dried cod to trade and barter.

Not all sailors were welcome - Grace O Malley, the pirate queen, spent most of her life cheerfully terrorizing the city and it's merchant fleet.

Not all sailors returned from their voyages either - the sea itself has exacted a far higher toll than any pirate could levy.

Galway Open Air Market

Weekly Saturday Market in the centre of Galway city is quite simply one of those joyful, experiences of life that make you glad to be alive as well as offering a wonderful selection of foods and novel goods and gift ideas which are excellent value.

It is no wonder that locals and visitors throng the market all day long every Saturday, rain, hail or shine.

Located in the laneway between Shop Street and Market Street, as you walk between the stalls every one of your senses will be arrested by the cornocopia of smells, tastes, sounds and vision and lively atmosphere created by the interaction betwen the stall holders and browsers alike.

Foods range from the fresh fruit and veg stalls, where the stall holders often throw in fresh herbs or some extra items for good measure.

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