The Spanish Arch built in 1584, stands on the left bank of the River Corrib, where Galway’s river meets the sea.
The arch is the remainder of a 16th century bastion, added to the town’s walls to protect merchant ships from looting. At this time, it was known as Ceann an Bhalla (Head of the Wall).
It was originally an extension of the famous city walls, designed to protect the quays. The Spanish Arch is, in fact, a misnomer, as there is no proven association between the Spanish in Galway and the building of the Arch.
The Arch features a wooden sculpture, called Madonna of the Quays, which was sculpted by the well-known artist, Claire Sheridan, who lived in the adjacent building during the ’50s.
Today The Spanish Arch is home to the Galway City Museum, which nestles into one of its impressive walls. Its current title Spanish Arch dates from the last century – a reference to the former merchant trade with Spain, whose galleons often docked under its protection.