Gorgeous Galway, the next instalment of our international student guide to Ireland. Situated on Ireland’s beautiful west coast, Galway is a student’s paradise – world-class education, great places to see and things to do, super lunch spots and a kicking nightlife…

3Eat, drink, dance

This western gem is one of the best when it comes to places to fuel up, take your pick from pizza and seafood to a Supermacs burger!

The Home Plate on Mary St serves up food just like your mother used to make – assuming she was a good cook. It’s wildly popular with students and there are regular discount vouchers available locally which make it even better value than it already is. A fry-up Irish breakfast here reportedly keeps you full for 18 hours!

Goya’s cafe in Kirwan’s Lane is great for home baked breads, pastries and cakes and for a real Irish tea experience pop into the Cupan Tae. Ard Bia do a great weekend brunch, try out the baked ham, poached market eggs with potato cakes and hollandaise for €8.50 – the coffee is the business as well.

For quick lunch bite, the deli and coffee at McCambridge’s is a winner – sit outside and watch the world go by. Looking for something a little fancier, try Kai they serve lunch (big portions of innovative food) from 12-3 starting from€5 for a soup up to €12.50 for their Sea Road Fishfingers: panko crumb pollock with a khol rabi and cucumber salad topped off with a wild garlic ranch… need we say more? Great for a treat.

The Dough Bros started life as a food truck and now have a stand-alone pop-up restaurant in Galway city-centre – try out their tasty Naples-style wood-fired pizzas. Good food, reasonably priced makes this a student favourite and really, who doesn’t love pizza?

There’s also Supermacs, Ireland’s homegrown version of MacDonalds, and every student’s guilty late night pleasure!

There’s loads an loads of places to quench your thirst in Galway from traditional pubs offering live music like Tigh Neachtain’s to street food/bar/nightclubs like the Electric. Catch a gig at Monroe’s or the Roisin Dubh and don’t forget to sample a local brew from the Galway Bay Brewery.


Galway has a small but perfectly formed high street offering including Topshop, River Island, New Look and Pennys – the latter two are great for bargains and fast fashion and Topshop and New Look offer a 10% student discount. There’s a Boots in town too and if you have a Student Travelcard they offer 10% off too. But it’s the markets and independent stores that really shine in this coastal city. Galway Market runs every Saturday in Church Street and showcases craft and food. Explore the alleys and laneways off the main throughfare to find vintage clothes, Irish design shops and souvenirs to bring home. Speaking of which, Galway is home to the famous Claddagh Ring – a favourite keepsake with tourists and locals alike.

1Things to do

Galway is teeming with fun things to do, after the studying is complete of course! Many fantastic festivals grace the city every year from the Galway Arts Festival – great for theatre and music – to the Oyster Festival!

Take in the sea air with a walk along Salthill Promenade or go for a swim if you’re brave enough! Sit and watch the swans at Spanish Arch. This Galway landmark is thought to be an extension of the city’s medieval city walls designed to protect ships docked at the quays with goods from Spain, although it was partially destroyed by the tsunami that followed the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Need more proof of Galway’s charms? Just look at how Happy everyone is here!

Studying in Galway

NUI Galway is located in the city-centre and ranks among the top 2% of universities in the world. They offer a range of exciting courses for international students from study abroad and Pathway Programme options to under-grad and post-grad courses. Find out more about entry requirements for NUIG, more about fees and details on how to apply.

The Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) offers over 70 courses in five campus locations including in Galway City. The courses available at GMIT cover a range of topics from business and creative media to agriculture and tourism.

Shannon College of Hotel Management, although based in nearby Co Clare, is a college of the National University of Ireland, Galway and offers two main programmes to international (non-EU) students – a Bachelor of Business Studies in International Hotel Management (BBS) and a Certificate in English Language Studies (CELS). The degree and certificate are both awarded by the National University of Ireland.