The Spanish Arch and Galway Museum
Please stop here and dismount from your bicycle, this is a pedestrian zone.
Directly in front of you is the Spanish Arch. Make your way over to it for a closer look.
This is an extension of the existing city defenses built-in 1584 by Mayor Martin. It was a measure to protect the quay as this was the location from where wine from Spain was unloaded, in particular, wine from Madeira, called Sack. It was a sickly-sweet wine that the native Irish were particularly partial to. During this period there was a conflict between England and Spain. There was a real fear of invasion and defenses were strengthened.
In the end, the Spanish launched an Armada in 1588 to invade England with disastrous consequences. Many of the Spanish galleons got caught up in a storm and were driven up along the east coast of England and Scotland, eventually crashing on the shores of the west coast of Ireland. Local Gaelic chieftains were forced to hand over some of the survivors. Over 300 were massacred close to here and their dismembered bodies left to rot. The locals gathered the corpses and buried them.
In 1988 the Spanish Ambassador arrived and laid a plaque to thank the people of Galway for acting so humanely.
Located to your right is the Galway City Museum and the Kitchen Restaurant. The exhibits are fantastic and change regularly. It’s well worth a visit. If you decide to visit and plan on spending some time there, you can close off the tour while you do so. When you're done, come back to this spot and start it again by choosing Resume.
Otherwise, if you prefer to keep moving now, continue walking through the arch, keeping left. We are walking towards the stone monument nearest the bridge. Let's go!