Eyre Square / Kennedy Park
Situated at the top of Eyre Square, beside the Browne Doorway, are two large, cast-iron cannons. They make an impressive spectacle and have been there for longer than many of the other memorials in the square. The cannons were presented to the Connaught Rangers at the end of the Crimean War of 1854-1856. The Rangers had played a major part in the Alma Valley Battles in 1854. They were presented in recognition of the Rangers' military achievements during the Crimean war, and have been a source of pride to Galwegians for many generations.
John F. Kennedy
A bust of US President John F. Kennedy stands in the Eyre Square park. The park is also named after him, and it was erected on the spot from where he addressed the people of Galway on a visit in 1963. JFK received a phenomenal welcome in the city and was made a Freeman on the same visit. Galwegians consider this visit to be one of the most important events in the history of the city, because of the very strong connections with the United States and the fact that Kennedy was proud to proclaim his Irish ancestry. Following his visit, Galway Corporation updated and modernised the park and renamed it John F Kennedy Park, although it is widely known as Eyre Square.
Right in the heart of Galway, at Eyre Square, there is a statue of Padraic O'Conaire, the author of Field and Fair, M'asal Beag Dubh and numerous tales and stories written in Irish.
O Conaire was born in Galway in 1882, in a house on the docks, which today is a public house bearing his name.
O Conaire was a fluent Irish speaker and was active in the Gaelic League as a teacher. He is best known for his stories in Irish. Having spent a number of years in London, O Conaire returned to his native land in 1914. He bought a small donkey and cart and became a familiar character travelling the roads collecting material for his stories, teaching and telling stories as he did so. He died in Dublin in 1928 and the statue was erected to his memory in 1935. Visitors and locals are attracted to sit up beside the statue of the little storyteller to have their photograph taken.
The fountain at Eyre Square is a fine example of one of the more modern additions to Galway's artistic and architectural heritage. It was built in 1984 and it manages to embrace Galways' traditions in a contemporary fashion. The fountain centrepiece consists of a copper-coloured representation of the sails of the Galway Hooker. This was a traditional fishing boat, unique to Galway, which has gained fame because of its widespread use in times past, its importance to the port of Galway , and its unusual and attractive appearance. It has long been used as a symbol for the county of Galway and it appears in the coat of arms, emphasising the importance of the maritime influence on the community. It marks the pivotal point in the city and is well worth seeing.