Museums

VisitGalway - The Old Forge Mountbellew Museum

The Mountbellew Old Forge Museum

The Mountbellew museum is within a 200 year old forge of the Mountbellew Demense – one of the few remnants of the estate. The museum contains exhibits of the old forge equipment such as a huge bellows and anvil, Bobbyjo’s horseshoe, old farm implements, and an ancient flat bottomed wooden boat a thousand years old recovered from near Eskerstephen graveyard.

VisitGalway - Galway Crystal Centre

Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre

Galway Crystal is a world renowned crystal manufacturer, which established its excellent reputation since starting in 1967. Through the years many well known people have passed through the doors of Galway Crystal, from Royalty to Presidents to celebrities. Aras an Uachtarain, the White House and the Vatican are but to a name a few of the prestigious homes in which a Galway Crystal piece resides.

VisitGalway - Galway City Tourist Office

Galway Tourist Office

Although the Galway Tourist Office is not a museum as such, it’s a great walk-in service providing information about all things Galway. The tourist office or also known as ‘The Galway Discover Ireland Centre’ is open all year round and is situated just off the city centre. Here you can avail of the expert local knowledge of their travel advisors, for when VisitGalway leaves you wanting more!

VisitGalway - Patrick Pearse's Cottage

Teach an Phiarsaigh

Teach an Phiarsaigh or otherwise known as Pearse’s Cottage, is a small restored cottage located in Ros Muc, which was used as a summer home for, Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916), leader of the 1916 Rising. During the War of Independence, the interior of the cottage was burnt but has since been reconstructed and now contains an exhibition and a number of momentoes of Pearse. The cottage was also used as a summer school for Pearse’s pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin. This historical attraction is now a key ‘discovery point’ on the Wild Atlantic Way route.

VisitGalway - Geology Museum of James Mitchell

James Mitchell Geology Museum

You can be forgiven for not having heard of The James Mitchell Museum in Galway, not many have, so much so that the Museum has also become known as ‘Galway’s Hidden Museum’. The museum is housed in the Department of Geology in the Quadrangle Buildings of the National University of Ireland in Galway, the oldest building of the University. At the museum you can witness some 15,000 rock, mineral and fossils specimens from all over the world. The specimens are seen as valuable resources and are used for both educational and research purposes.

VisitGalway - Galway City Museum

Galway City Museum

The Galway City Museum is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Spanish Arch, on the banks of the River Corrib in Galway City. The museum houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions which represent Galway’s rich archaeology, heritage and history. Permanent exhibitions include; Routes to the Past (Pre-Historic Galway), Galway Within the Walls (Medieval Galway), Pádraic Ó Conaire: Man and Statue, Dance Hall Days, Cinema in Galway and Galway and the Wars of Empire.

VisitGalway - Fisheries Tower Museum

Fisheries Tower Museum

The Fishery Watchtower is one of Galway City’s most historic landmarks. Built in 1852/53 by the Ashworth Brothers, the building is the only one of its kind in Ireland and was originally designed as a draft netting station. Draft netting involved the process of netting fish using a row-boat and a long net secured at one end to the shore. The building also served as a look-out tower for fishery personnel to monitor fish stocks as well as illegal fishing activity along the river! The Fishery Watchtower Museum, one of Galway’s smallest museums, houses a wonderful collection of fisheries memorabilia and vintage photographs.

VisitGalway - Mill Museum

Mill Museum

The Mill Museum or the ‘Little Mill’ as it’s otherwise known is the only remaining preserved corn mill in the West of Ireland today. The museum opens its doors during the summer months so that visitors to the town can appreciate and learn about this important aspect of Tuam’s industrial heritage. In the Millers House there is a display of miniature models of four types of mill. The tour of the Mill includes a slide show on the history of Tuam and its surrounding areas.

VisitGalway - Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre

Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre

Relive one of Europe’s most historic battles that changed the course of Irish history at the Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre. At the centre you can find out how three rival European Kings- William of Orange, James II, and Louis XIV- took hold of Ireland in their struggle for power with over 45,000 soldiers gathering at Aughrim in 1691, in what proved to be the defining battle of the Williamite War in Ireland. The Battlefield Trail at the centre uncovers the dramatic story of one of Europe’s bloodiest Battles still evident in today’s peaceful landscape.

VisitGalway - The Irish Workhouse Centre

The Irish Workhouse Centre

There were 163 workhouses built in Ireland from 1840 to 1858, the single biggest building project undertaken in Ireland ever. The workhouse system, which basically provided work to those in dire poverty in return for food, so as to avoid death by starvation, was an English solution to an Irish problem. It failed! The Portumna Workhouse opened in 1852. It operated as a workhouse from the time it opened until the early part of the twentieth century. All seven workhouse buildings are intact. The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna is dedicated to telling the story of the Irish Workhouse and giving people an insight into what life in a workhouse was like. Visitors are guided through the original workhouse buildings and view a short film on life in the workhouse.

VisitGalway - Athenry Heritage Centre

Athenry Heritage Centre

Learn about Normal Ireland at the Athenry Heritage Centre, set against a picturesque backdrop of the 13th century medieval church ruins. The centre exhibits includes the torture dungeon, models of the medieval town, storyboards and a replica street of medieval crafts. Weaponary demonstrations also take place in the centre along with other demonstrations which are fun and educational for all the family. The Athenry Heritage Centre is also home to the Town’s original 14th century Mace & Seal, the oldest of their kind in Ireland.

VisitGalway - Glengowla Mines

Glengowla Mines

After a farmer discovered ‘galena’ just under the soil surface, the Glengowla mine was setup and mining commenced in 1851. The mine was in operation until 1865, and finally measured 40 metres deep and 200 feet wide. Mining at Glengowla centred on silver and lead, though Connemara marble, gold, dolomite, quartz, and rare green and blue octahedral fluorite were also mined. The Glengowla Mines is Ireland’s first ‘show mine’, offering guided tours throughout the mines giving a sense of the conditions in the mines back in the 1800’s. The centre also features activities for kids, a traditional working farm and a museum displaying artefacts. The mine is also home to a seismograph which is part of Ireland’s National Seismic Network. Lastly, the mine was used as a filming location in the film, ‘An Klondike’.

VisitGalway - Fields Of Athenry Thatched Heritage Cottage

The Fields Of Athenry Thatched Heritage Cottage

The Fields Of Athenry Thatched Heritage Cottage is a recreated traditional Irish cottage where kitchen artefacts from the the early 1900’s are displayed along with farmyard machinery which can be seen in the yard. The cottage brings  to life a time when friends and neighbours came to listen to a seanachai (story-teller) or to the music from a travelling fiddler or piper. Traditional music and dance take place on Wednesday and Saturday nights at the cottage.

VisitGalway - Caheroyan House and Farm Museum

Caheroyan House and Farm

Situated in a quiet rural area, the refurbished Caheroyn Manor House and farm, owned by the Coyne family, is part of a scenic estate which compromises of 70 acres of farmland and 30 acres of rich woodland. The Manor house and farm offers its visitors an opportunity to relax and experience some of nature’s finest treasures.

VisitGalway - Errislannan Connemara Pony Stud

Errislannan Connemara Pony Stud

Errislannan Manor, home of Stephanie Brooks, is set in beautiful woodland surroundings and overlooks a trout lake, bounded in the Connemara’s moors and mountains. The Manor is home to the Errislannan Connemara Pony Stud and Riding Centre and is part of the Connemara Branch of the Irish Pony Club. Many ponies and children have started  out at Errislannan. The Manor is also a member of the Royal Horticultural Society Connemara Gardens Trail, offering lovely walks on the estate. Scenic and historic treks over moors and around the coast, as well as lessons, cross country riding, livery and pony camps are also offered at Errislannan.

VisitGalway - Katie's Cottage Claddagh Museum

Katie’s Cottage

Once a thriving fishing village on the outskirts of Galway City, the Claddagh village made up of cottages lived in by Gaelic speaking inhabitants, suffered hugely during the famine of the 1840s. During the famine many of the people living in the Claddagh emigrated from the area. In the 1920s many of the cottages were deemed no longer fit for habitation and were to be completely knocked down.The last six cottages were demolished in 1952 to make way for the current fire station. The identity of the Claddagh village had been essentially stripped. In 2014, the Claddagh Arts Centre opened on Upper Fairhill Road and in 2015 had established an authentic thatched cottage on the premises. The cottage hosts storytelling evenings, classes, workshops and local events. Visitors also receive a cup of tea/coffee and a homemade scone baked above the open fire.

VisitGalway - Connemara Smokehouse

Connemara Smokehouse

The Connemara Smokehouse is Ireland’s first Food Économusée. The family-run business, run by the Roberts family since 1979, is the oldest smokehouse in Connemara and offers regular tastings of the best quality traditional smoked salmon. The Smokehouse provides visitor tours which include filleting and slicing demonstrations along with explanation of salting and smoking techniques, followed by a tasting of smoked salmon. The smokehouse also pride themselves in using organically grown Irish Salmon an important part of their production.

VisitGalway - Tropical Butterfly Centre

Tropical Butterfly Centre

Seawinds Nurseries and Tropical Butterfly Centre offers a unique experience within it’s tropical enclosure, just a short distance from Rossaveal Harbour. Visitors have the opportunity to see hundreds of free flying exotic butterflies in their natural environment. There is also a large selection of mounted arthropods from all over the world. Fun for all the family. The exact location of the centre is unkown, but ask a local in the Carraroe area and they’ll point you in the right direction.

VisitGalway - Inishbofin Heritage Museum

Heritage Museum Inishbofin

The Inishbofin Heritage Museum was set up in “the store” at the old pier of the Island, in 1998.  It houses the contents of traditional island homes, fishing, farming and tradespeople’s tools along with over 200 black and white photographs which capture both local islanders and depicts island life, including fishing and farming practices.

VisitGalway - Connemara Marble Visitor’s Center

Connemara Marble Visitor’s Centre

The mining of Connemara Marble is one of Ireland’s oldest indigenous industries and at the Connemara Marble Visitor Centre, visitor can witness the quarried marble being cut, shaped, and polished. Visitors can also view a large collection of antique and vintage Connemara marble Jewellery. In additon, the centre houses a large collection of early Irish antique furniture, pottery and carvings from the 17th century. When entering the visitor centre, take note of the mahogany front doors which are the original front doors of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin which was burned down in 1965.

VisitGalway - Claregalway Museum and Forge

Claregalway Museum and Forge

The Claregalway museum and forge captures the rich culture and heritage of Claregalway’s rural parish history and traditions. The Museum provides an insight into the traditional way of life in rural Ireland of the 1950s and before which can easily be forgotten due to the increasing urbanization of Claregalway. It also highlights the historical features of Claregalway, comprising of the 13th Century Franciscan Friary, the 15th Century Claregalway Castle and the the 17th Century Nine Arch Bridge through old documents, books, articles and newspaper cuttings. The forge is housed within a restored old Blacksmith, which was last used in the 1990’s.

VisitGalway - Heritage Centre of Lettermullen and Gorumna

Lettermullen and Gorumna Heritage Centre

The Lettermullen and Garumna Heritage Centre has hosted cultural and heritage exhibitions of the private collection of the local historian John Bhaba Jeaic Ó Confhaola. The collection includes old books in Irish and English as well as newspapers and magazines from times past. Photographs of families in the area and of old customs practiced in the area in times past can been seen giving a great insight into life as it was. In addition, visitors can witness tools and instruments on display from long ago in the centre as well as blacksmith, carpentry and farming tools to name but a few.

VisitGalway - Lackagh Museum and Heritage Centre

Lackagh Museum and Heritage Centre

The Lackagh Museum and Heritage Centre is housed within a restored traditional Irish cottage which was abandoned in the 1970s and in a few years crumbled into ruins. The cottage has been restored with a beautiful golden thatch roof. The cottage and out house contain artefacts and treasures of Irish ancestors for visitors to see. The centre reflects a way of life that has almost disappeared in Ireland today. Visitors can get a real sense of old Irish traditions and artefacts through the displays within the museum such as the open fire, butter churns, a dresser full of beautiful crockery and a spinning wheel – just some of the treasures stored in the cottage. In addition, there is an impressive display of farm machinery which can also be seen.

VisitGalway - The Sheep and Wool Centre

The Sheep and Wool Centre

The Sheep and Wool Centre is a family run interpretive centre based on the sheep and woollen industry in Ireland. Visitors to the museum can witness wool craft demonstrations showing how sheep’s fleece is made into yearn, using methods that were practiced in this area at the turn of the last century. Visitors can also see & learn about the various breeds of sheep on display at Leenane. During the peak season you may be lucky enough to watch the sheep being sheared of their wool. Audio presenations give visitors a chance to listen to interviews from locals who remember the past and Connemara traditions.

VisitGalway - Kiltartan Gregory Museum

Kiltartan Gregory Museum

The Kiltartan Gregory Museum and Millennium Park was originally a National School built in 1892 at the behest of the local landlord, Sir William Gregory of Coole Park, Gort. It is located at the historic spot “Kiltartan Cross” where the blind poet Rafferty met and fell in love with the “Beauty of Ballylee” Márre ní hEidhie and often played music for local dances. Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats, amongst others, have been inspired by the Kiltartan landscape. Today the museum contains photographs, manuscripts, first editions, memorabilia, Great Famine material, genealogy of local families and a reconstruction of an old school classroom from the 1900’s.

VisitGalway - Dartfield Horse Museum and Heritage Centre

Dartfield Horse Museum and Heritage Centre

Steeped in Irish history, the original house at Dartfield was built in 1827 by Henry Blake, a member of one of the historical tribes of Galway. Today, the museum buildings were redesigned from the old courtyard on the grounds. The museum was originally set up as a tribute to the Irish horse and the Connemara pony, displaying the important relationship between man and horse, but has since expanded to encompass the Irish dog breeds and veteran cars. In addition, on the 350 acres of parkland, visitors are free to explore the walking trails on the land, see the farm animals and take part in the many activities available, which include horse riding, sheep dog demonstrations, archery or clay pigeon shooting.

VisitGalway - Station House Museum

The Station House Museum

The Station House Museum is located on the site of the old Clifden Railway Station and is housed in the original Engine Shed built in 1895.  This small museum is devoted to the story of its founder John D’Arcy, the local Connemara ponies, the old railway line between Cliden and Galway City, Millars Mill and the Alcock and Brown (the world’s first transatlantic flight). In the Marconi wireless station, visitors are treated to a photographic exhibition.

VisitGalway - Connemara Heritage and History Centre

Connemara Heritage and History Centre

The Connemara Heritage and History Centre is an open-air museum which is based around the restored pre-famine cottage of Dan O’ Hara. Dan lived here until his eviction from the farm and subsequent emigration to New York, where he ended up selling matches on the street. Today, with the cottage restored, the centre gives a window onto lost traditional ways of Ireland, with demonstrations of bog cutting, thatching, sheep shearing and so on. Other attractions include audiovisual and history presentations, as well as outdoor exhibits including reconstructions of a crannóg, a ring fort, and a clochaun. Interestingly, the centre also served as the first pit-stop in TV Series, ‘The Amazing Race 12’.