Galway was founded in the 13th century as a medieval Anglo-Norman settlement on the eastern bank of the River Corrib. Today the city, which has a population of about 75,000, is a vibrant, bustling center of the arts and commerce, with a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Its medieval streets, waterways, music sessions, and other cultural events make Galway one of the most charming cities in Ireland. The close proximity of the Connemara Gaeltacht, the country’s largest Irish-speaking community, and the Aran Islands lends a distinctive Gaelic dimension to the cultural life of Galway. The world renowned Druid Theater Company, the Macnas Street Theater Company, and An Taibhdhearc, the National Language Theater, are all located in the city center. The city’s forty-odd annual festivals and celebrations— among them the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, the summer Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Oyster Festival—are famous throughout Ireland and beyond.
Originally founded in 1845 as Queen’s College, Galway, National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway is today regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious universities with a worldwide reputation for scholarship and teaching. Since the 1960s, the university has experienced significant and continuous growth, both in its stock of buildings, facilities, and physical resources, with an enrollment now exceeding 15,000 students.
BC students at NUI Galway are completely integrated into the Irish university system. An orientation provided by the International Student Officer at Galway introduces students to life in the city and at the university. The BC on-site coordinator teaches a mandatory Irish Studies course and helps with academic support. BC Arts and Sciences students may attend in Fall or for the Full Year only.
Students may choose among well equipped, self-catering residences near the university or close to the city center.
A large number of social and artistic societies, academic groups, and sports clubs sponsor the very popular student balls held throughout the year. The university sports facilities rank among the best in Ireland. The Boston College site coordinator organizes monthly activities, which include excursions to Dublin, Derry, the Aran Islands, Mayo, and County Clare, as well as to events in and around Galway—theater, museums, and an occasional dinner out.