Life in Galway City.

University of Galway ranks #1 Friendliest City in The World, Travel + Leisure (2023); #1 in the World for Student Friendliness, Campus Advisor (2023); One of Ireland’s Most “Charming” and “Engaging” Cities, The New York Times and Lonely Planet (2023); #7: Best Student Cities in the World, Campus Advisor (2023).

As one of Ireland’s most diverse regions, home to the largest Gaeltacht in the country, Galway has an energy that far exceeds its size. A bohemian city steeped in history, with a “contemporary vibe” (The Lonely Planet Guide), Galway offers a rare combination of academic excellence, cultural vibrancy and natural beauty.  

Sitting on the Atlantic edge of Europe, the city has solidified its reputation as a hub for culture and innovation. Students enjoy an active campus life in Galway, alongside a buzzing local food culture and a year-round roster of immersive festivals. Venture outside of the city on a day trip, and you will discover untouched beaches, ancient ruins and rugged mountains. The cost of living in Galway is considerably less than in Dublin. Rent prices are 25% more expensive in Dublin city than in Galway city (Daft 2022 Q4 Rental Report). Our university campus sits at the heart of the city, with bus routes connecting to other areas across the city and surrounding towns. Learn more about your new home from home below. 

The Heineken Big Top tent at Galway International Arts Festival is located on the University of Galway campus.

Connect Through Culture 

Culture is woven into the fabric of Galwegian social life. Thousands flock to witness live music, world-renowned art and large-scale spectacles at the Galway International Arts Festival and Macnas parades every year. There is a festival for every kind of culture-lover, from the Cúirt International Festival of Literature and Galway Film Fleadh, to The Galway Races, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children and Galway Comedy Festival. The university is proud to partner with many of these organisations, offering students opportunities to engage in professional development programmes such as SELECTED. 

Macnas Parade in Galway featuring a giant puppet. Crowds take pictures as the puppet passes the bridge in front of the cathedral.Macnas Parade in Galway. Source: Mark Gusev, Shutterstock.

Outside of busy festival periods, grassroots galleries such as Outset Galway, Galway Arts Centre, 126 Gallery and Engage amplify the work of artists from throughout Ireland and further afield. Thespians will also be excited to discover the esteemed Druid Theatre and state-of-the-art Town Hall Theatre, offering showings of musicals, dramas, comedy, dance and circus acts from the home-grown Galway Community Circus  

Not confined to the theatre, culture can also be found on the cobbled city streets, with parades, buskers and live music pouring out of the city’s many cosy pubs. O’Connor’s Famous Pub is one local bar that has drawn 592 million views from across the world, as the video backdrop of Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl”. 

Galway City Market, Lombard St. Photo by Bree Anne on Unsplash. Students have a range of food options throughout the city for a variety of budgets.

Become a Galway Foodie 

Galway is famed for its foodies as much as its artists, claiming award-winning restauranteurs such as JP McMahon and Jess Murphy. The city has a long list of food options for different budgets. Take a quick visit to the market and watch as the city expresses itself through fresh food and crafts. Wander down Quay St to the west end cafés and restaurants, where the likes of Kai Galway and Greens & Co. are reinventing local ingredients in bold and delicious cuisine.

You can find elevated snack’ foods in Dough Bros and Roost, while reliable chippers, takeaways and sandwich spots can be found across the city. When funds are low, the university campus always has your back with a range of discounted, healthy food options. The University’s Student Pantry, a student-run initiative, allows students to make environmentally and financially sustainable food choices. The Pantry collects 1000kg of wasted food items from Galway’s supermarkets each week, to provide free, healthy meals for students.

Blockrock diving tower, Salthill

Get Involved  

Galway is full of passionate groups and organisations, working together to create a rich and inclusive social fabric. There are many opportunities for students to throw themselves into community life here, be that through societies, volunteering, work placements or research partnerships.  

With over 110 societies and 47 sports clubs to choose from, students can pursue their interests and discover new hobbies while meeting like-minded people and having a great time along the way. 

University of Galway is also Ireland’s leading university for student volunteering, with 4000+ registered volunteers. Thousands of students sign up to the ALIVE programme, every year to volunteer with over 450 organisations, many of which are based in the Galway community.   

Discover campus life at the University of Galway here; learn more about our commitment to the community here.