The town of Galway (along with its western suburbs of the Claddagh and Salthill) was a great draw for travel writers and artists throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As well as being of interest in itself, Galway was also the main gateway town to Connemara and the West of Ireland. By 1851 Galway was linked to Dublin by railway, and from 1879 visitors could take a horse-drawn tram from the railway station directly to Salthill. By 1895, the line was extended to Clifden in the heart of Connemara, beyond the Twelve Pins (or Bens).As transport improved visitors came in greater numbers, with many leaving fascinating accounts of their visit. These accounts are varied, naturally coloured by the cultural and religious background of the individual, and each must, of course, be taken with “a pinch of salt”.These are a selection of extracts, some beautifully illustrated, each of which is preceded by an introduction.