Galway, like any major city, has more than its fair share of pubs. Choosing one very much depends on whether you’d like to either go for that quiet drink or to fall in on a music session or obligatory sing song! We’ve put together a list of what we think are Galway’s most historical pubs, many of which host traditional Irish music sessions.
Also take a look at Historical Pubs in Galway City PART 2
Sea Road, Galway City
The Crane is a well-known traditional Irish pub with Irish music sessions 7 nights a week. Situated on the corner, its Victorian façade dates back to the 1800′s.
It’s a 2 level bar with the downstairs been frequented by the locals. The “craic” gets going upstairs from 9.30pm each evening and is very popular with visitors to Galway.
These days’ traditional Irish music sessions aren’t the only music genre on offer – the Crane has broadened its horizons – roots, blues and the occasional singer/songwriter also add to the mix.
19 – 20 Shop Street, Galway
This pub has definitely seen a bit of history in its time. Taafes has been running as a pub for the past 150 years, with the building itself notching approximately 400 years.
Traditional music sessions are popular here starting at 5pm (from April to October) and at 9pm (for the rest of the year). The great Sharon Shannon (these days joining the legendary Shane Mc Gowan in concert) played Taafes!
As well as being a traditional pub it’s also a GAA pub. Check out the walls while you’re here – it’s kind of like a shrine to sporting heroes.
Pub grub is served during the day and it’s a hugely popular spots with both locals and tourists.
1 Eyre Square, Galway
The historical connection here is attached to James Joyce’s wife, Nora Barnacle. The building was home to Nora’s first love, Michael Bodkin. He was the influence for James Joyce’s story “the dead”, due to his dying young and also because of Nora’s great love for him.
Richardsons takes in views of Kennedy Park and Eyre Square. The pub itself has 2 levels, an off licence and accommodation. Again this would be a popular traditional Irish music pub with sessions held mostly downstairs. Bands with different musical styles have played in the upstairs venue.
The Spanish Arch Bar
Quay Street, Galway
Traditional Irish music sessions by upcoming musicians are on offer at the Spanish Arch Bar. The energy of youth clearly comes across and it’s a definite draw for tourists. At the week end there’s more of an emphasis on soft rock with the music being geared to older clientele.
What would the Carmelite nuns have said? Part of this pub was actually a 16th century Carmelite Convent and it really is a historical gem. Wood panelling from the home of famous British Actress, Lily Langtry can also be seen here.
Cookes Thatch Bar
Cookes Corner, Newcastle Road, Galway
Cookes humble beginnings can be traced back to the 1600′s. It would have been part of the Blake Estate. The Cooke family purchased the pub in 1855 and it was passed down through 5 generations of the family. In 2002 the Cooke family sold the pub.
Today it’s one of only 2 thatched roof bars that remain in the City. The establishment itself consists of 3 bars under 1 roof – a snug, a lounge and the bar under the thatch roof. You can catch a live music session from Wednesday to Sunday, with traditional Irish music sessions featuring on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Private parties are welcome and Cookes will arrange for finger food and music.
Need somewhere to stay in Galway? Take a look at our Galway city hotels page.
What’s your favourite pub in Galway? We’d love to hear from you – feel free to leave a message in the comment box below.