Galway City, Ireland is one of my favorite places to visit on the planet. Most people associate Galway with vibrant night life, the Cliffs of Moher or the Aran Islands but if you take time to examine the little things you will find Galway has a lot more to offer.
The swans of Galway City are one of the highlights when I recall my times exploring the city. There is a large population of these swans in Galway; they can be fairly friendly, that is if you feed them. I would advise against getting close to them if you do not have food as they will try to attack. On one of my trips to Ireland while in Dublin, (there are many swans there as well), I actually saw a young boy approach and try to pet a swan. The parents did not seem to think this was a threat but in fact, the swan almost bit off the child’s finger. Unbeknownst to them, I was shooting a video at the time; you can see this picture from the screenshot below. If you are parent DO NOT let your child approach the swans, that is unless you want them to develop a fear for these creatures.
As you can see from that picture the swan has it’s babies close and was obviously a little more on the defensive because of this. I cannot fathom how a parent would think it is a good idea to let a child approach a swan like that. But as long as you are respectful and don’t over step your boundaries you will be able to get fairly close to the swans; if you are lucky will be able to feed one as this young girl did:
The first time I saw a swan I immediately began to shoot a video and provide play by play commentary. Because I am from Canada as well as the fact that I had a bit of a hangover from the night before, I first made the mistake of calling them white geese but then realized they are swans. In Canada we have many Canadian Geese; I was so used to seeing them I made the mistake of calling them white geese. Take a look at my first encounter with a swan below:
After some more exploration I began to realize that the swans are all over Galway City and are very much a part of the culture. The best place to go in the city to see swans would be down by the Spanish Arch as they are prolific there. Beware that the river is much quicker in this area so getting close to them can be much more dangerous. If you go up St. Joseph’s Church on Henry street you will find a little canal system where you are bound to find a couple just lounging in the calmer waters. They also tend to relax around this area so you can really enjoy watching them rather than glimpsing them floating by in the fast moving water.
If you ever have the chance to visit Galway City Ireland please be sure to visit these beautiful birds. And if you are ever in Dublin you can go to Saint Stephens Green at the end of Graffton Street for more swan viewing. A quick word of advice: do not enter the park too late as it can be dangerous.
Author Biography – Kevin Lydon
Kevin is a passionate traveler who just recently began blogging about his experiences. Being a web developer it one day clicked for him that he could do his work from anywhere in the world and be able see all it has to offer in the prime of his life. To read more and follow Kevin you can visit his blog Guess This City or follow the facebook page