Ireland's fourth largest city (pop. 80,000), located roughly midway along the country's Atlantic coast - and a nearly straight shot of a bit over two hours west of Dublin - boasts a history stretching back nearly a thousand years. But today it's best known for its lively, often boho social, cultural, and music scene (turbo-charged by its youthful university population, a good 20 percent of all Galwegians, as locals are known), as well as its many festivals and events - some 175 in just a regular year.

It's always been a popular destination for visitors - and never more so than after its turn in the limelight in Ed Sheeran's 2017 hit Galway Girl (below). Galway is also known as "Ireland's cultural heart", and as it takes up the annual mantle of European Capital of Culture (together with Rijeka, Croatia), those events and cultural ferment will be hurtling into overdrive. A great year indeed to pay a visit to the "City of the Tribes" (a reference to the 14 great merchant families which ruled the city in the Middle Ages)!

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