Perhaps no other place best describes the lush green countryside of the “Emerald Isle” such as Galway. A traditional harbor city on Ireland’s west coast, Galway is often perceived as an ideal place to spend a relaxing vacation while exploring Ireland’s breathtaking scenery. However, if you choose to look beyond the rainbows and charm, you will find a city in need of volunteers. Exciting service op’s are waiting in a myriad range of programs. So grab your green garb and head to Ireland — what you decide to do is truly up to you as a volunteer in Galway!
Popular Ways to Volunteer in Galway
As an industrialized nation, Ireland might not be the first place that comes to mind when deciding on a volunteer destination. However, the skills and work needed in Galway are important for maintaining its reputation for a clean and safe environment. Although the environment and conservation efforts might come to mind when thinking of Galway, there are many diverse needs within the community that reach beyond the environment.
Popular causes and projects. Volunteer work in Galway includes community development, conservation and environment, education and museums, youth or elderly work, and homelessness. Volunteers are needed in a variety of capacities throughout Galway. For those desiring to engage in environmental efforts, there are opportunities from working on sustainable farming, planting trees, habitat clean-up, as well as working with animals. Both short and long term programs are available, dependent on the preference of the volunteer and program type.
Short term volunteer programs. Opportunities in Galway are abundant because many organizations seek people looking to assist with events that help the community. This can be ideal for volunteers looking for integrating volunteer work into travel. Volunteer projects are also available for 2-4 weeks and benefit volunteers by providing accommodations, partnering with community organizations, and are a great way to meet people from across the world.
Long term volunteer programs. Longer volunteer work in Galway is also readily available for those looking to spend more time integrating into Irish culture. Taking a TEFL course in Galway can give you an experience of living abroad while gaining TEFL qualifications that can take you across the world. Service learning can provide both short or long term opportunities to volunteer while learning about societal issues relevant to Galway and Ireland as a whole. For example, littering in Galway was recently discussed as a critical environmental issue for the city. Volunteers can get their hands dirty by directly participating in litter clean-up. For volunteers with more time, connecting with organizations aimed to change societal patterns and opinions on littering could be a valuable project to join.
Life in Galway for Volunteers
Known as the “Cultural Heart of Ireland,” Galway is most associated with Irish language, music, art, and dance traditions. Nearly ten percent of Galway’s population are Irish speakers. Although the language is dying out, it is a point of pride and history that the people of Galway value. Life in Galway can be both calm and exciting, depending on your lifestyle. For those who enjoy a quiet and serene routine, Galway is rich in nature and countryside. For those who enjoy city life, Galway also boasts exciting cultural events, food venues, art, shopping, and entertainment.
Galway is Ireland’s third largest city with high employment, skilled graduates, and proud traditions. Galway’s traditions include a dedication to festivals and entertainment. The Galway Arts Festival is Ireland’s largest international arts festival and began in 1978. Today, over 162,000 people attend over 14 days of performances, talks, and exhibitions.
Situated in the inner city is Eyre Square, a park featuring statues, fountains, and within walking distance of popular shopping streets and the Galway Railroad station. For volunteers, life in Galway is what you make it. Take in the scenery and enjoy rural outdoor adventures or take a stroll down Quay Street and visit a local pub. Galway is truly a perfect mix of nature and quaint city life.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
By searching for volunteer roles based on your individual interest, activities, and cause, you can narrow in on the perfect project to fit your skills and passions. Do research before reaching out to an organization. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to volunteer here?” “What skills can I best put to use?” “Who do I hope to be helping as a volunteer?” By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to better articulate what you can bring to an organization and what you hope to gain out of the experience.
As a service economy, Galway is in need of highly skilled volunteers. For those looking to turn volunteering into something more, consider the possibility of an internship. While an internship can be created out of volunteer work, don’t expect to be paid right away. Similar to other countries, internships in Ireland often go unpaid. Yet, by helping others as a volunteer in Galway, you are better prepared to enhance your resume and speak to the skills you gained while volunteering abroad.
While Galway is known for its small-town charm and lush green fields, volunteer work is also necessary and will help contribute to its lasting lure. By volunteering in Galway, you can help a community in need while developing lifelong skills.
Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Ireland.