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excerpted from:

Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way

SSCA Cruising Station

OCC Port Officer

Trans Ocean

Galway - What to expect when you get there

Galway Harbour has something for everyone. There is a 25-berth marina with new floating pontoons that have water and electricity in the commercial harbour right in the centre of town. Expansive beaches for lounging, swimming, or kite surfing are but a short walk away. Adjacent to the marina is a network of fine restaurants, lively pubs, shops and galleries for dining and browsing along serpentine streets dating back hundreds of years. Galway is a university town, and there is always plenty happening. Live music abounds on the streets and in the pubs nightly. It is a city very much alive with promise.

The museum near the Spanish Arch is well worth a visit and often hosts small intimate free concerts. The grassy square on the riverfront always has plenty of activity and street entertainment, and the walkways along the river offer a romantic stroll through quiet neighborhoods. The Promenade along the bay shore is complete with bike paths and parks, an aquarium, a museum, an amusement park, cultural events, street vendors, and loads more.  There is a street market near the cathedral on Saturdays in the summer with fresh local produce and handmade goods. 

For yachtsmen visiting from distant ports in need of services and provisions, there are laundry facilities in the alley next to the Malt House restaurant, an internet access point next door, a fabric supply store at the other end of the same alley, and nearby several chemists, a euro store, Eason’s book store, and Dunn’s supermarket which stocks ice (in the frozen foods section in the back of the shop) along with everything else you could possibly need including liquor – albeit at astronomical prices! There are also numerous small butcher shops, a Spar convenience store, and fashion shops. Don’t pass up a visit to the gourmet deli, McCambridge’s and the bakery.  On the waterfront past the Harbour Hotel is a fish store par excellence. It is the distributor for the fishing industry out of Galway and fresh catch is available from the shop daily. 

Galway is a major commercial shipping port and there is a customs and immigration presence for clearing in.  If arriving from another country, announce your arrival to the Harbourmaster, Brian Sheridan, and make arrangements for clearing, docking, fuel, and services through his office. The staff is very pleasant and helpful during business hours. Water is available at the pontoon near the Harbourmaster’s office as well as on the visiting yacht finger piers.

There are also 120 new guest moorings installed for the VOR stopover in 2009, but the field is rather exposed so in inclement weather it is best to seek shelter inside the harbour. Reservations for space are recommended.  Keep in mind that the locks to the inner harbour remain closed for much of the day to provide enough water depth for large commercial vessels. They are only open for two hours around the high tide, which is the only time ships may enter and leave the harbour. There is a dinghy dock at the stone wall on the outside of the lock jetty for landing by yachts on moorings in the outer harbour.

The approach to the lock gates is marked by a lighted marker on the harbourmaster’s building.  Stay in the green zone for safety as there are shallows either side of the channel.  Yachts can pick up a mooring or tie up along the stone wall outside the harbourmaster’s office to await the opening of the lock. 


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