The heart of central Galway, with its medieval arches and narrow, cobbled alleyways, lies between Eyre Square on the east and the River Corrib on the west. The main thoroughfare begins west of Eyre Square and changes names from William to Shop to Main Guard to Bridge before crossing the River Corrib and changing again. It may seem quite confusing, but don't worry about getting around. The streets are all short and well marked.

This area is best explored on foot so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. To see the highlights, follow the signposts on the Tourist Trail of Old Galway. A handy booklet that provides historical and architectural details is available at the tourist office, Ireland West Tourism (Aras Fáilte), Foster Street (tel. 091/537700). Hours are May, June and September, 9am to 5:45pm daily; July and August, 9am to 7:45pm daily; and October to April, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:45pm, Saturday 9am to 12:45pm.

The longest walk is to Salthill, which takes 30 minutes. The Promenade (Prom), stretching from The Claddagh to Blackrock is a very popular walk with locals and visitors alike.

By Bus

Galway has excellent local bus service. Buses run from the Bus Éireann Travel Centre or Eyre Square to various destinations including the suburbs of Salthill and the Galway Bay coastline. Fares start at around €1.50.

By Bicycle

West Ireland Cycling, located at Earls Island (opposite the Cathedral), Newcastle (tel. 091/588 830) offers bikes for hire starting at €18 per day or €90 per week. Or contact Richard Walsh Cycles, Headford Road, Woodquay (tel. 091/565710).

By Taxi

You can find taxi ranks at Eyre Square as well as all the major hotels in the city. If you need to call a cab, try Galway Taxis (tel. 091/561111), Big-O Taxis (tel. 091/585858), or City Taxis (tel. 091/525252).

Note: Not all cabs are equipped to accept credit cards so make sure you ask BEFORE you get in.

By Car

Galway is the gateway to west Ireland and to really do justice to this region, you need a car and a good map - don't rely on GPS for the many small byways. Driving in Ireland might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The West has good, wide main roads (National Primary Routes) and better than average local roads (National Secondary Routes), both known as 'N' routes. If you are following the Wild Atlantic Way on the smaller Regional ('R') routes, particularly in West Clare, you may encounter some difficult roads. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads (as well as flocks of sheep) can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel.

There is free parking in front of Galway Cathedral, but most street parking uses a pay-to-park system. Multistory parking garages average €1.80 per hour or €15 per day. We recommend you leave your car in one of these lots unless you're heading out to explore the Connemara Peninsula or on a scenic drive through the countryside.