Since it was built, back in 1584, the Spanish Arch or ‘The Sparch’ as some Galwegians like to call it has been offering some sort of use. This captivating piece of architecture was purposely built to help protect Merchant ships from looting and it has been standing solid ever since. On a sunny day in Galway, Spanish Arch is where you will mostly find everyone. It is a great chill out spot that has its own story to tell.
Contrary to popular belief the Spanish actually had nothing to do with the building of the arch and it’s just a name that has happened to catch on. It used to be known as the ‘Ceann an Bhalla’ meaning the ‘Head of the Wall’. It is thought that the name Spanish Arch caught on because of the trades between Spain and Spanish Galleons who often docked in that spot to trade Wine and Spices. This location was also visited by Christopher Columbus in 1477!
This monument offers history, relaxation and an exciting atmosphere. Sit back and enjoy yourself whilst watching kayakers manoeuvre over the minor rapids of the River Corrib.
You may also visit the Galway City Museum which was relocated to this location in 2007 and is now over-looking the Spanish Arch and the River Corrib. They have exhibitions available which are called Routes on the Road which is history on pre-historic Galway and Galway within the Walls which is based on Medieval Galway. They also have other exhibitions available that have items such as 12th century rosaries and 12th century textiles, all found in Galway! For those who are more interested in Cinema, there are exhibitions available of personal effects by the one and only John Ford, who was a film director and a Hollywood legend. There is a cinema available also and it screens Galway goes back to the Pitches which will give you a clearer insight of everything you need to know about Galway and how it became such a great tourist location. The Galway City Museum is free of charge to all and is open from Monday to Friday. They offer guided tours, talks, live concerts, workshops and even art classes for all who are interested. With 3 floors, there is a lot to see and a lot to learn so don’t miss out on a fun and educational day and get there nice and early!
For those who are looking for something to do outdoors, there are walking city tours available every day, 7 days a week which last between 60 and 90 minutes and not only cover the Spanish Arch but also areas close by. These are guided tours and cover the history of the areas also, so why not go for a walk and learn something new.
Spanish Arch is located just off the Quay Street and is a 20 minute walk from the Maldron Hotel, Sandy Road, Galway. Alternatively, you can get the number 407 bus from just outside the hotel, it runs every 30 minutes until 7.30pm and after that it’s every hour.