Welcome to The Best Galway City Walking Tours
The main aim of an Áthas Tours Galway city on foot tour is in the name: to bring a little joy to the world-hopping traveller. So drop that suitcase, stow away your holdall or backpack. And then allow us to show you around fabulous Galway. New York based Travel and Leisure magazine conducted a survey to find the world’s friendliest city. Galway is that place, folks! It was voted this for a reason. We have festive nature, lively people and a particularly strong arts scene and diverse cultural heritage. We have numerous theaters, great musicians, poets, comics and the multi-talented gracing our streets. Superstar Ed Sheeran busked here as a teen because Galway is considered a buskers’ paradise. Our aim, therefore, is to show you all sides of the city through our walking tours. We will put the emphasis on fun but with the various constituent elements of our hometown in mind.
Let us walk around the city and find the old and ancient. Places like Lynch’s castle, the Spanish Arch and Saint Nicholas’ Collegiate church all lay claim to being the most iconic parts of the old city. There are hidden gems like the Claddagh village, Forthill cemetery and bits of the old city wall found down alleyways and even within shopping centres. For our American visitors, a shopping centre is your typical mall! The ancient Irish, Vikings, Normans, English, Spanish and others have all left their mark on Galway. So, these places must be included in any visit to the City of the Tribes. Learn about scary Vikings, terrifying Normans, vengeful Irish, mean English and some unsavoury people who all helped build Galway through the ages. We are sure there were plenty of good people too throughout the centuries but it is often the villains and trouble-makers who make for better television!
Out with the old and in with the new is what they say. “They” sometimes have a lot to say but are correct here. Galway is a fun and vibrant place. Newer places mix with the old. Today’s characters talk to the ghosts of those long dead. Young musicians add their new music to that which has passed. The city is awash with artists who all hope and wish to be become immortal through their paintings, performances and perseverance. The friendliest city in the world has all the trappings of a modern world.We will show you the best restaurants, shops and distractions. Meet the modern characters who compliment the Galwegians who still shout from beyond through stories and the gift of the gab. Some would say that the gab is not a gift if someone will not shut up at three in the morning! It is all about using it to liven up a story. Any guide-led tour needs an ability to relay a story in as animated a way as possible.
Galway On Foot Tour – Happy Times!
Áthas is the Gaelic word for Joy and we are happy to be your guide. Each and every Galway on foot tour will allow a little history, geography, culture and gawking (staring at others), to creep in because we strongly believe all of these elements will add to your city experience. Where appropriate, random stories and actions will be added to each tour, in order to enhance your experience. Áthas Tours was set up with the visitor to Galway and Ireland in mind: we will cater to your needs and imagination, bringing life to your experience of our beautiful, friendly little city. As mentioned, the new and the old will come together through our stories and upon visiting various sites. The people of the city are a very important aspect of any story and will be introduced. We will introduce you to the locals: artists, musicians, poets, as well as Galwegians from every walk of life. Medieval mayor James Lynch will explain why he had to kill his own son in the name of Justice. His son, Walter, will have a different version of events to tell from beyond his grave.
Again, our aim is to tell the history of the city in as honest a manner as possible. An honesty sprinkled with some fun. You are on holiday and do not need to be completely weighed down by what was often brutal and downright nasty! Humour will counteract the shock of knowing we Galwegians built strong city walls for good reasons. Sieges and plagues were not good material for jokes then but time is a buffer. We want you to have a smile on your face, even after the heavier facts have begun to weigh on you. That is why any heaviness will be quickly followed by a lighter story. Galway is one of the friendliest cities in our ever-shrinking world. Our aim with these walks is to guide you towards the light and not the darkness. Fun and enjoyment shall be our tools to help you see our city in a new light. We want to bring a feeling of ‘Áthas an Domhain’ or ‘Joy of the World’ to you. The city with a new color to it.
If we fail this map should help:
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We are more than happy to cater for small or large groups and you can BOOK immediately. All inquiries will be answered as soon as possible. All and any help and will be given to make your stay as comfortable, fun, exciting and stress-free. You can also book accommodation with our brilliant partner affiliate Booking.com Thanks!
Pictured is Áthas Tours owner and founder Gary Casey. Here he is at the top of Ireland’s famous Croagh Patrick mountain. He survived the climb but slipped a few times on the way down.
A little extra on your tour guide Gary
I am just over the forty mark. Just by a little! That has not slowed me down. I love to walk and talk. I always have so consider this as an ideal career move. I also have the insane ability to stand still and talk so we will not always be on the move. I consider it a pleasure to be able to tell an American visitor about JFK’s visit in 1963. Or leaving an English visitor surprised by the fact that Galway always liked the royals! The French go rabid for the fact that French was spoken by our Norman founders. The Spanish dance when they learn their ships once got us quite drunk. Italians rejoice at Christopher Columbus having prayed in Saint Nick’s church before his journey west. Visitors from Scotland might like to know that their countrymen fought and died in battles close to the town. Galway just has so many links to so many countries. It was a global city well before globalization got popular.
So who is Gary? My surname, Casey, translates as ‘the observant one.’ To be honest, I did not always live up to that title. It took me years to look through the haze of cheap beach holidays to realize what is on my own doorstep. You have got to love a story about a mayor hanging his own son over a love-affair gone wrong. This is typical Hollywood stuff. I am writing the screenplay about it at the moment so hands off! Or what about a man who killed many men in duels to the east of the city? But who also loved animals so much he formed a society to protect them? These Galway people of old fascinate me as do some of those currently walking our streets. I decided to set up my tours with these stories in mind. I also like to try help people have a good time. We all need to have more of a fun time.
Anyways, I was born in this city. This place was built on conquest, war, siege, famine and a lot more of the nasty stuff at times. However, good always comes out of any situation. That is my job. I aim to tell the stories I know in as light-hearted a way as possible. A tale laden with woe can be of offset with a little sprinkle of fun. This is very much the Galway spirit. Ask any Claddagh fisherman or woman who had to bend their backs constantly just to survive. Their honesty and humour is what makes Galway the world’s friendliest city. To have a sense of fun in the face of hardship is what makes a Galwegian what he or she is. I hope we don’t lose sight of that as Ireland joins the ranks of the ever-wealthier.
Disclaimer: any attempt at humour whilst using stories about Galway’s past, present or future is subjective. What I find funny may not tickle everyone’s fancy like life is one giant feather. That is not to say we will not try.