Discovering Medieval Galway


Those who live in or visit Galway often put its famous ambiance down to something intangible – a little sprinkling of magic, perhaps.

But apart from a hardy, wry and fun-loving people and a strong artistic community, much of Galway’s magic can be traced back to medieval times.

As a celebration of medieval Galway and the unique stamp it has put on our streetscape, our people and our culture, Galway 2020’s Small Towns Big Ideas project, the Galway Medieval Experience, will take to the streets in October.  

Organised by The Galway Civic Trust (Dúchas na Gaillimhe), the festival aims to celebrate and explore the city’s culture, food, and European connections of the medieval era. “So much of what Galway has to offer is rooted in its heritage – its style and setting, which all date back to this medieval Galway,” says Michael Quinn, Development Officer with Galway Civic Trust. “You have this modern, vibrant city, but that vibe is under-pinned by its history and the physical layout of the town. We have a wonderful pictorial map of Galway from those times, and it’s lovely to see people’s faces as you show them this fabulous historic map and how the street scape and many of the buildings haven’t changed since then. They really get a sense of the heritage of the city.”  

The Galway Medieval Experience will be a two-day fun and educational event which is aimed at families, the local community and visitors to the city. It will encompass demonstrations, re-enactments, music, art and guided tours. There will also be cookery demonstrations, along with tasting of various food stuffs of the time. The main part of the festival will be hosted in the Custom House Courtyard, while the adjacent archaeological site known as The Hall of the Red Earl will act as the base for guided tours. The nearby Druid Theatre will also be utilised to host engaging talks on Galway in medieval times. The festival will take participants on an intriguing journey back in time using archaeology, while exploring Galway’s connections with Europe in the medieval period, with particular focus on trade, religious and migratory links.   

Galway Civic Trust is a local charity whose mission is ‘to protect, promote and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of Galway’. The organisation has vast experience in event management and delivery. Over the last number of years, it has hosted the most extensive programme of Heritage Week events of any single organisation in the country. It also has an in-depth knowledge of international, national and local medieval history.  

Galway Civic Trust conducts medieval walks of the city on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Its offices are based beside the Hall of the Red Earl – the birth place of Galway town in the medieval era, and it welcomes thousands of visitors every year.  


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