Galway City Museum


On your tour around the city, as you approach the Spanish Arch, you'll see a large modern building sitting behind the arch which houses the Galway City Museum. The museum opened it's doors in 2006 and has been a fantastic addition to the cultural heart of Galway.

The museum hosts a number of permanent exhibitions and also features rotating temporary exhibitions throughout the year, the latest of which is Women's Stories and Emblems, 1916 - 2016 curated by Mná 2016. The permanent exhibitions showcase many of the finds which were discovered during Galway's extensive archaeological excavations which includes everything from pottery, architectural fragments and military artefacts. Highlights in the museum include a 3D tour of medieval Galway, which gives a good indication of the city's beautiful medieval heritage as well as a majestic Galway Hooker which is suspended from the ceiling and can be viewed in it's full glory as you walk up the stairs to the temporary exhibits. Once you reach the top floor you will get a wonderful birds eye view of the city and the Claddagh across the river Corrib.

Galway City Museum was officially opened in April 2007.  The building was designed by the Office of Public Works and funded by the EU and Galway City Council.

Among the objects currently displayed is a chess piece carved by Liam Mellows, leader of the Western Rising, in Mountjoy Jail before his execution in 1922 and the Piper's Hat worn by Éamonn Ceannt in Rome in 1908. The exhibition gives excellent insight into the events leading up to 1916 and the inevitable consequences of the bloody Irish civil war which followed. The exhibit also delves into the role many Galwegians played in the events of 1916 and outlines how the Galway of today still retains the names of many of the martyrs and fighters in it's streets, parks and stadiums (names such as Fr. Michael Griffin, Liam Mellows, Éamonn Ceannt and Dubliner Pádraig Pearse will be very familiar to the people of Galway).

Other exhibitions currently being displayed include 'Galway & the Great War' which explores the stories behind the statistics of the 200,000 Irishmen who took part, and the 30,000 who were killed, in the First World War as well as 'Galway GAA: The Three-in-a-Row,1964-66'. In the top level there is a wonderful photographic portrait exhibition of local Galway people called 'A Century of Galway People, 1916-2016'. The Sea Science exhibition has been recently updated and the museum also caters to an extensive educational and events programme throughout the year, the Events & Exhibition Guide for 2016 is accessible on 

Entry to the museum is free.

The Hall of the Red Earl Timeline

1230 - Richard De Burgo arrives to wrest control of Connacht only to be thwarted by the native O'Connor and O'Flaherty clans.

1232 - De Burgo seizes control of the river crossing where he builds a castle on the site of a captured fort.

1233 - The castle is retaken by Felim O'Connor.

1235 - De Burgo returns with a large army and defeats the O'Connors.

1270 - Richard's son, Walter, begins the process of building a defensive wall to defend the town.

1271 - Walter dies and is succeeded by his son Richard the Red Earl. This is the most likely date for the construction of the Hall of the Red Earl.

1484 - Galway granted mayoral staus. As the 'Galway Tribes' come to power, De Burgo's power wanes.

1556 - The hall falls into serious disrepair.

18thC - The Galway County Courthouse is built on the site.

1820 - The Customhouse is built on the site.

1997 - Hall of the Red Earl is uncovered during building works.

1999 - Excavation completed.

2001 - Extension to Custom house incorporating the excavation is opened.