The cheapest flights are often into Shannon Airport. By bus (Bus Eiraan), there is a bus about every hour which takes just over two hours. You normally have to change at Ennis. The Bus that currently leaves at midday is however a direct service. (service 51).
Citylink have just started (June 2003) a new four-times dailey service that is direct.
A single is 14 Euros : for details see their site at www.citylink.ie
Ceannt Station is the railway station in Galway City. It is located on the south-western corner of Eyre Square. The station opened on 1 August 1851. On 10 April 1966, it was named Ceannt Station in commemoration of Éamonn Ceannt, one of the executed leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916.
The station is currently undergoing a major redevelopment. The new design will be 'cathedral' style, with a fully glass roof providing natural light as well as heat in the winter months, and reducing it in summer.
I took a train from Galway's Ceannt Station to Dublin's Heuston Station. The duration of the trip was a little under three hours. The train was modern and clean -- and there was plenty of room in the compartment above each seat for luggage storage.
I took Bus Eireann Service 64 from Letterkenny to Galway. The bus did not stop at Coach Station. Instead, the bus left us off at a bus bay outside of Ceannt Station (Galway Train Station) near Eyre Square. From there, it was only a short walk to the hotel at which I was staying (the Park House Hotel).
On my second day in Galway, I went inside the Coach Station because it was the point of departure for my bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. The Coach Station opened in 2008 -- and it is modern structure with large glass windows. Reportedly, it cost 40 Million Euros to build. It is located one block northeast of Eyre Square on the corner of Forster Street and Frenchville Lane/Fairgreen Road. It is directly across from the Discover Ireland Centre.
Traffic in the city ranges from heavy to gridlock, depending on the time of day. Unless the weather is really bad, or you are unable to walk, your feet are the best way around Galway. We stayed in a cottage on the northern edge of the city,about a mile from city center, but most days we could walk it faster than driving. Also parking is a nightmare.(see my WARNING tip) If you get tired, have shopping bags to carry, or just too much Guinnius in you to walk, you can get a cab to about anywhere in town for 5 to 10 euro. Also there is a city bus line (though we never tried it).
After taking a bus into the city, we rented a car in order to head into Connemara (which I recommend). We went with our American sensibilities and booked with Enterprise (which I don't recommend. Although we called to confirm our reservation and our pick up time, we ended up waiting for over 2 hours to be picked up and then more at the office because they didn't have a car for us. Had I not thought my credit card would be charged for a cancellation, we would rented using Budget, another company conveniently located in Eyre Square (instead of on the edge of the other side of town).
I was more disappointed with how this process was handled than anything. Instead of being forthcoming about their limitations (they had 2 staff members on holiday and the office and rentals were being managed by 3 young men who looked like they'd rather be anywhere else), we were given promises that they had no intention of delivering on. I'd much rather have been told that we'd have to wait 2+ hours than be told - as we were - that a car was on its way when that was obviously not true.
Galway airport is fairly tiny, served by Aer Arann only (as far as I know). There's a good cafe there, and that's about it. At least it means you get your baggage quickly.
It's fairly near to the city, and taxi fares are displayed on a permanent sign just outside the entrance, which is helpful.
Oh........and you'll have to take off your shoes when you go through security!
You cannot fly to Galway on Ryanair but fares are often very cheap to Shannon (just over 2 hours away by bus - see other tip)
Ryanair Shannon flights come in from Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt (Hahn) on Ryanair.
However by changing planes you can access Shannon on Ryanair from many other places.
Alternatively fly to Stansted and change there for the Shannon flight.
Via Frankfurt : Oslo, Stockholm, Pescara, Bologna, Rome, Pisa, Montpeilier, .
Via Brussels : Pisa, Rome, &
AS Ryanair is point-to-point you have to offload baggage and connections are NOT guaranteed. Therefore plan on a changover of four hours, or an overnight stay at the transit point. To be on the safe side when flights come up very cheap you can always book a later flight and only use it if you get delayed.
It may be a bit of a hassle but it does work if you have the patience.
update 2005 : Ryanair appear to have buried the hatchett with the airport authortity and now feature the 14 routes to Shannon : from the UK, spain, Germany, france, Italy and Belgium. This therefore allows many more 'connections' - more than I care to list anyway.
Although I took my own car all the way from 'sunny Sussex' to Galway it is possible that others are going to get to Galway by air or by a combination of public transport. To see some of the beautiful countryside around Galway I think that it is almost essential you have your own car, this is why I am suggesting a hire car.
Although you could pre book with one of the bigger companies such as Avis or Hertz. I am also suggesting you try a local company called Windsor. I say local but Windsor is actually an Irish company selling cars with garages in Galway, Dublin and Cork. Although I hadn't heard of them before or in fact used them I was verbally recommended them by a member of staff at a Hostel.
Their prices look competitive so I guess you can always get a quote. Let me know how you get on if you use or have used Windsor, thanks.
If you are in Dublin and would like to go to Galway it's very easy. All you need to do is go to the bus station, buy round-trip ticket for 13 euros and be prepared for a couple hours on the road.
FYI: It costs about the same to get a one-way ticket so when in doubt, get the round trip so you have more options.
When you arrive here, make your way to the docks. The 2 streets alongside have 2 or 3 multi-level parking garages. I think it was less than 20euro to park overnite and for several hours. Once you're parked, it's pretty safe, and then there's no need to take a taxi or bus anywhere unless you really don't feel like walking or you're going out to Salthill.
As I've said on my intro page -- Galway has a serious traffic congestion problem.
Part of the problem is the absence of a real relief road and the natural barrier of Corrib Lough and River forcing all traffic through the city -- whether they want it or not. There is a ring road, but it is not really built in a way making it independent of the main artery roads which greatly limits its effects.
What can you do about it?
First of all, try not to use your car in Galway, at all. This means you should try to get a central accommodation and do everything on foot either not having a car with you in the first place or leaving it parked for most of your stay. If you are staying in a suburb, try to rent a bicycle. Using public transportation will at least relieve you of the problem of having to drive yourself and having to find a parking spot.
Being a wheelchair user myself, I am very aware that these options exist only partially for people who depend on their cars in order to get around. If that is the case for you, please see my travelogue with specific information. I've seen very few accessible buses around. In breach of EU legislation, they seem to be at the very beginning to procure accessible buses. It will still take years before public transportation in Galway will be an option for wheelchair users.
Try to avoid the morning and evening rush hours. The roads get empty after 6-7 o'clock in the evening. The public parking spaces stop demanding money at 6:30 PM. Many shops will still be open then.
If you come from Connemara and are heading for Dublin or vice versa during the busy hours and if the traffic report is announcing major problems on the ring road, there is one sneaky alternative: sticking to the shore (Salthill Road, Promenade, Grattan Road, Wolfe Tone Bridge, the Merchants Road/Dock Road zig-zag, Lough Atalia Road, Dublin Road). However, as we were leaving, they were putting up road construcion signs at Lough Atalia Rd. -- if that one's closed, things will probably get quite bad.
The best way to see Galway is to get the larges t scale map you can get your hands on, equip yourself with a bike and explore!!!
People at local hostels are always looking for cycling companions - so ask.!
I dont remember whether I took this picture in Scotland or Ireland, bec. it is the same situation with the sheep. I suspect they are trained to do this, to stop the cars of tourists and they dont move away unless you take a picture of them.
Most ferries leave for the Aran Islands from Rossaveal (when you buy your ticket for the ferry buy a ticket for a bus to Rossaveal too).
Rossaveal is around 40-50 minutes drive from Galway.
Island Ferries go to the islands all year.
Island Ferries 091-568903, www.aranislandferries.com
In the summer there is a ferry from Galway to
the islands operated by O'Brien Shipping.
If you don't have your own car and/or don't have much time in Ireland you can take day trips that leave Galway almost each morning.
There are day trips to Connemara and to Cliffs of Moher + the Burren.
Few of the companies:
O'Neachtain Tours 091-553188
Lally Coaches 091-562905
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