The Claddagh Tour & Seafood Cultural Experience

NEW**** This year we are offering some additional tours, in collaboration with 2 extremely popular local Galway businesses.

3 Experiences - woven into ONE completely unique package, for either individuals, families or groups.


Galway, a town tormented by the sea,”

Dr. John Cunningham.

Galway Bay is Ireland’s gateway to some of the most culturally-rich seascapes in Europe.

Made all that more magical by a social history that is embedded in a rugged, yet sublime coastline, this new tour offers you the opportunity to discover how Galway City has been shaped by its proximity to the ocean, and it’s dependent waterways.

The ocean that rolls into Galway Bay laps over a shoreline of long lost stories; of ancestors making their way to America, of cultural exchange, development & the seafaring escapades of our famous Claddagh Boatmen!

To really appreciate the history of Galway, we need to take an imaginative journey through times of war & peace, love & loss, economic development & demise… and consider what might be the shared-experience that has led to the resilience & inspiration of our now multicultural community?

The answer to this question is the magic and ferocity of Wild Atlantic ocean.  

Settlers, Cheftans, Kings, crusaders, traders & families have all grappled with the character & texture of our ocean’s majesty:

What the sea doth gives us, it can easily take away.

 And, it is here that our story begins:

Galway Tours

2 Tour Options. Depending on the season (and weather), we offer either a maritime walking or boat tour that is inspired by Galway’s maritime history, with Skipper Ciaran Oliver & Certified Tour Guide Shane Spelman, from

Both the walking and boat options offer an introduction to one of Ireland’s most famous fishing villages: The Claddagh (where the original Claddagh ring originated), followed by lunch at the award winning seafood centre:

Basically, if it is raining you get to enjoy an extended maritime walking tour - but, if the day is clement - then we can jump aboard our Motor Tour Boat, for an exhilarating excursion on Galway Bay, followed by a seafood culinary delight.

*** Keep reading for detailed info ***

#meitheal2019 Galway Bay Tours

#meitheal2019 Galway Bay Tours

The Claddagh Tour & Seafood Cultural Experience

Option 1. Walking Maritime Tour with Shane Spelman. This includes a visit to the Claddagh Exhibition, at the Galway City Museum with Skipper Ciaran Oliver and concludes with a delicious seafood plate and locally crafted beer (or soft drink) at Galway Bay Seafoods: €45 per person.

Option 2. Walking Maritime Tour with Shane Spelman. This includes a Claddagh History Boat Excursion around Galway Bay (instead of a visit to the museum - although the historical content is the same) with Skipper Ciaran Oliver, followed by a seafood plate and locally crafted beer (or soft drink) at Galway Bay Seafoods €55 per person.

Finish your tour at the award winning seafood centre:   Galway Bay Seafoods  . Photo credit: Anita Murphy.

Finish your tour at the award winning seafood centre: Galway Bay Seafoods. Photo credit: Anita Murphy.

During this tour you will hear how the original settlers from the Neolithic era began to build a town on the edge of Europe that would go through endless turmoil and change, including the banishment of the original Irish Clans by the Anglo Normans in the 13th Century. Discover how the de Burgos transformed Galway from a small fishing village on the edge of Lough Corrib into a powerful fortified town run by a City of Tribes / Families who traded with people all over the world.

Importantly, you will experience Galway with three Galway Families, who are passionate about their history and the legacy that their ancestors have bestowed upon them.

What your tour will include:

  1. Walking Maritime Tour with A4 visual / photographic archive material.

  2. Seafood lunch & locally brewed beer. 

  3. Claddagh History: Choice of either the Galway City Museum or Galway Bay Boat Tour.

Maritime Walking Tour with Museum Option: Starting 10am at The Spanish Arch, we will reflect upon centuries of life outside the City’s walls.

Our cultural voyage will pause for a few moments as we gaze over Galway Bay & the Dominican Church, a site that provides a backdrop narrative from which our senses (re)connect with Ireland’s past hardships. This sojourn into Galway’s dark past will be an occasion to reflect upon not only Galway’s rich and textured history, but also our own identity and sense of place.

Dominican Church, Galway City.

Dominican Church, Galway City.

Aften being taken on this imaginative journey back in time, your interest will be stimulated by photographic archive images taken from the outskirts of Galway’s walls of a shaley shoreline, framed by hundreds of small thatched dwellings, called The Claddagh.

As one of the oldest recorded fishing villages in Ireland, the Claddagh dates back to the 7th Century.  Up until the early 1900s it was a thriving  Irish speaking community with its own norms (they even had a King of the Claddagh), laws & way of life that was shaped entirely by ocean living & traditional fishing practices. 

You will see the remnants of the spectacular Spanish Arch, & retrace the steps of the Claddagh fisher-wives who sold their fish at markets, as merchants from far-off lands traded their wares.

The Claddagh Fisher Wives.

The Claddagh Fisher Wives.

And, it is here that you will enjoy an intimate & deeply personal story of Claddagh Custom with our first tour guide, Skipper Ciaran Oliver (Great-Great Nephew of the last King of the Claddagh), who will share his family's history while showing you around an exhibition curated by the Galway City Museum of the iconic Claddagh fishing community and the heritage associated with their traditional sail/work boats: The Galway Hooker.  

Here we will engage with folklore & stories of one of Ireland’s oldest traditions. 

You will also see Galway’s famous traditional hooker boats moored in the water (summer tours will be able facilitate people to step onto one of the boats).

You will also see Galway’s famous traditional hooker boats moored in the water (summer tours will be able facilitate people to step onto one of the boats).

Following this, we will walk down the Long Walk with Shane Spelman to hear countless tales of maritime seafaring adventures that led to Galway becoming one of the most distinguished towns in Ireland; a status bitterly gained after centuries of fighting, famine & colonisation.

Galway City Tours

Discover the incredibly important role that our river 'Gaillimh' played in the emergence of the industrial revolution.  As one of europe’s fastest flowing rivers, it provided the opportunity to harness the necessary power to bring Galway into the industrial age, providing power for up to 26 mills and employment in textiles, distilling and munition.

From here, Shane will guide you to the docks to learn how important the ocean was to Galway’s strategic success as a centre for international trade throughout centuries.

Galway City

Shane will share with you the Dock’s past, present & future development plans, followed by the tour’s grand finale: the graveyard at Forthill, which occupies the site of the late medieval Augustinian foundation, which was demolished in the 17th century. 

This cemetery is steeped in history!  It was the site of the 1588-1589 slaughter of 300 + sailors and soldiers shipwrecked from the Spanish Armada on orders from William FitzWilliam, viceroy under Queen Elizabeth I.

To finish off this memorable maritime experience, you will enjoy one of Galway’s most popular seafood destinations: Galway Bay Seafood: Dockside Deli, where you will enjoy a plate of locally fished, sustainable seafood & glass of locally brewed beer (or soft drink).

Walking Tour Duration: 2 Hours (meal after).

Option 2. Maritime Walking Tour with Boat Excursion Option.

The same maritime walking tour & meal (as above), but rather than visiting the museum this venture includes a boat tour around Galway Bay with same Claddagh history.   2 Hrs. Meal afterwards.

Create memories that will last forever!

Galway's contemporary seafood gastronomy has been inspired by centuries of shared cultural-encounters.  And, there is no better family to showcase this tradition than Galway Bay Seafoods.

Est. in 1950, this family business has grown over the last 70 years.  With knowledge that has been passed down through generations & an infectious passion for seafood, they will provide you with genuine 100% Irish seafood culinary experience.

Galway Bay Seafood’s state-of-the-art processing and smoking facilities is an award-winning seafood retail centre and Ireland’s FIRST dedicated Seafood Cookery School. 

We also have some additional ADD on tour experiences. These tours are bespoke and tailored to meet needs and can include a boat tour (1 or 2 hours with any of the above walking & seafood gastronomy tours) as well as any of the alternative options:

Galway Bay Tours

The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.
— — Robert Wyland
best attraction in galway 2 .jpg
Video of An Capall, American Mór and An Tonaí.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Grundy.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Grundy.