Ballinasloe is the largest town in County Galway after Galway City, and is a prosperous and expanding commercial/industrial center for East Galway.
The town is within easy access of other major regional centers.
It serves as a central base for tourists, offering great accomodation and a host of leisure pursuits, including coarse angling, boating, shooting, golf and horse riding and a marina.
Every October, Ballinasloe is host to one of Europe's oldest and largest Horse Fairs, dating back to the 1700's. This annual event attracts up to 100,000 visitors from all over the world, with many returning to the town year after year. This festival is one of the most important social and economic events in the life of the town. The town is also renowned for horse and pony riding, show jumping and other equestrian activities which take place throughout the year.
The town derives its name from the ford of the River Suck near the old Norman castle at River Street, which became a meeting place for the hostings of the Connacht tribesmen, chiefs and warriors of Breifne and Meath. The ford became known as 'Beal Atha na Sluaigheadh' meaning the 'mouth of the ford of Hostings'.
Ballinasloe is steeped in history, and has been lauded for the architectural character of its fine streetscapes.
Ballinasloe is also famous for its limestone which was used in many public buildings in the town as well as several important buildings nationally and internationally. The most recent example of note is Galway County Council's Civic Offices in Prospect Hill, Galway City, which were completed in 1999.