Landmarks in Galway


Lynch's castle was the historic home of Galway's most powerful family. A magnificent limestone building, it is an excellent example of the Irish Gothic style. Its heavily carved facade bears the arms of Henry VIII. Standing on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street, Lynch's Castle gives us a rare glimpse of old Galway. The 1651 Pictorial Map of the city shows fourteen lavish merchant homes. Lynch's Castle alone survives intact. Today it houses the AIB bank.


St Nicholas's Church (National Monument), in Market Street in Galway's central area, was built in the 14th C. and, although much altered in later centuries, has preserved the aspect of a medieval parish church. Exploring the Irish countryside can be a profound experience. The island's past endures, in the countless ruined churches and crumbling castles that mark the landscape; and for the thoughtful traveler, those ruins are like heralds, forever lamenting the greatness of a world that exists now only in the shadows of history. But in the heart of Galway's city-centre stands the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas: a structure older than half of those ruins, and whose only shadows are parted by the brilliant colours streaming through her vast stained glass windows. Notable features are the triple gables of the west front, the gargoyles (rare in Ireland) and, in the interior, a number of tombs and a reader's desk.


Galway Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven

Perhaps with the hint of a nod to Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence, the large octagonal dome of Galway's Catholic Cathedral rises above the roofs of the medieval city. Providing a full side view to those crossing a bridge over the Corrib, it was the last major stone church to be built in Ireland, at a time (1957-65) when concrete was already well established as the main medium of construction. The brainchild of Bishop Michael Browne, it was intended to be a church which would be, in his own words, 'solid, dignified and worthy of Galway' and hopefully of the Good Lord as well. Dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, it was designed by J.J. Robinson, over whose shoulder the bishop doubtless looked at every single detail.