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Galway is the second largest county in Ireland covering an area of 2350 square miles. Just over 188,000 people live here. Galway sits on the Atlantic coast in the west of Ireland, with a natural indented coastline of harbours, deep fjords and island clusters. The county is divided into two by the extensive Lough Corrib, Ireland's second largest lake, with fertile farmlands to the east and mountainous Connemara and boglands to the west. Off the coast of Connemara lies the island of Inishboffin, unspoiled and rich in archaeology and geology. To the south, in the mouth of Galway Bay, are the Irish speaking Aran Islands where age old traditions are found along side modern living.

The name Galway derived from the Irish 'Abhainn na Gaillimhe' - the Galway River - which was named after Galvia, a mythological princess. Steeped in history, County Galway displays the remains of many beautiful monasteries, striking castles and new heritage centres. Inhabitants in Galway date back over 5,000 years.

Visitors to County Galway can enjoy a rich Irish culture from the Gealtacht areas of Connemara and the Aran Islands to the contemporary arts festivals of Galway city. See our separate guide to Connemara and discover the magic of this breathtaking and dramatic landscape, the splendor of Kylemore Abbey and the charming towns and villages of this unspoiled corner of Ireland. Quite a different terrain can be found in the eastern part of County Galway. Rich pastoral land set in a lush wooded landscape lead into the region known as the Shannon, home to Ireland's cruising waterways. The southern tip of the county is the beginning of the Burren, a huge unique limestone plateau with underground caves and botanists delight.


Cities and townships in County Galway
The capital of the county is the university town of Galway. Other principle towns are Tuam, Ballinasloe, Clifden, Oughterard, Athenry, Gort and Kinvara. Please see our individual town guides for further information.
 
Business Information
The chief economic activities in County Galway are agriculture, tourism, services, IT and manufacturing. Computer software and telecommunications are two growing industries along with the manufacturing of healthcare products, information technology and food production. New businesses into the county are actively supported by various organizations listed below. Galway is the principal centre for business in the county and for the whole of the west of Ireland. A vibrant city reflecting a booming economy and renewed affluence.
 
Helpful contact details for business enquiries
Enterprise Ireland   tel: (353) (0)91 735900
Galway County Council tel: (353) (0)91 509000
Galway City and County Enterprise Board tel: (353) (0)91 565269
The Industrial Development Agency (IDA Ireland) tel: (353) (0)91 751111
The Irish Trade Board tel: (353) (0)91 756600
Galway Chamber of Commerce tel: (353) (0)91 563536
WESTBIC (Business & Innovation Centre for the West of Ireland) tel: (353) (0)91 567974
Forbairt tel: (353) (0)91 755138
Udaras na Gaeltachta (for the Gaeltacht/Irish speaking areas only) tel: (353) (0)91 592011
FAS - the National Training and Employment Authority tel: (353) (0)91 567165
Other sources of finance applicable to business start up, development and acquisition, and related agencies are as follows:
Credit Unions   tel: (353) (0)1 4908911
National Irish Bank tel: (353) (0)1 6785066
Ulster Bank (Small Business Unit) tel: (353) (0)1 6777623
Bank of Ireland Enterprise Support Unit contact any branch
Smurfit Job Creation Enterprise Fund tel: (353) (0)1 4784091
Allied Irish Bank Strategic Development
Business Banking
tel: (353) (0)1 6600311

The Dept. Of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: TEL (353) (0)1 661 4444; www.irlgov.ie/entemp has extensive and very helpful advice on all aspects of business employment in Ireland, including a business start up information pack which is superbly put together and includes everything from planning, funding, locating, employing people and business development.

Travel (also see town guides)
County Galway can be reached by road, train, bus or air. The county is serviced by excellent trunk roads from all the major entry points to Ireland. Galway Airport has flights to and from Dublin and Manchester in the UK.
Mainline trains run from Dublin via Ballinasloe and Athenry. Bus Eireann provide a choice of services in the county including Expressway town to town service, Provincial Bus covering Galway's rural areas and City Services in Galway city. The Aran Islands can be reached by ferry from the mainland or by plane from Conamara Airport.
 
Airports
Galway Airport tel: (353) (0)91 7755569
Connemara Airport tel: (353) (0)91 593034
 
Bus
Bus Eireann tel: (353) (0)91 562000
 
Ferry Services
O'Brien Shipping (Aran Islands) tel: (353) (0)91 567283
 
Train
Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail)
www.clubi.ie/railnet
tel: (353) (0)91 564222
 
Galway Tourist Office tel: (353) (0)91 563081
 
Tourism, Leisure and Accommodation
Please see town guides
 
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