I felt an overwhelming sense of calm as we made our way across Ireland to the charming city of Galway. I knew I’d made the right decision – instead of a day over in Dublin, I’d planned out a full weekend to include Galway, too.
The nice thing about Galway was that I had nothing actually planned for what to do in the city. That meant no pressure, no worrying that we were going to miss something, and most of all that we could take our time just enjoying the atmosphere and taking it all in – which I think Galway is perfect for.
Plus, unlike overcast Dublin, the sun had decided to play ball for us here!
Which meant that after checking in and dropping our bag, we headed straight to a pub.
With the BEST BEER GARDEN EVER.
I give you – O’Connell’s Bar! It felt like something out of Harry Potter!
Seriously – it’s so cool that we ended up getting a couple of drinks before realising we should probably, uhh, explore the city instead of just a beer garden (but clearly the beer garden was worth exploring, too!).
(Also – side note: you may recognise the pub from a certain music video. Depressingly, I read that tourism in Galway has increased since Ed Sheeran released this song!! I almost titled this post “Becoming A Galway Girl In Ireland” and then realised I should re-evaluate my life.)
(Second side note: the pub at the end of the video is – I think – O’Connors. Yep, O’Connell’s AND O’Connors. But O’Connors looks REALLY cool too, it was just a bit of a walk from the main town so we didn’t end up making it there.)
Galway is incredibly pretty. I immediately warmed to the pretty park in the centre, Eyre Square, and promptly fell in love when we found ourselves in the famous Latin quarter.
There’s not a lot I love more than colourful buildings, so we had definitely come to the right place! Throw in some cobblestone streets, buskers, pubs and history, and you’ve got an unrivalled vibe of a city that can warm anyone’s soul.
I quickly found that it didn’t matter that there isn’t much to “do” in Galway. I was happy to sit and watch musicians play, people-watch from the comfort of a café, or sit by the shore amongst the students enjoying the sun.
I also took a lot of photos.
The Latin quarter isn’t the only part filled with colour either – this was one of the first photos I took, near the bus station.
Even the main high street has pops of colour.
The only downside was it was hella busy, and I’m still not sure if it was even a bank holiday in Ireland, but I have no doubts that there were plenty of other British people over in Ireland for it. We saw no less than five hen parties just in Galway. Locals were shopping, everyone was soaking up the sun and a lot of tour groups were in town for the weekend.
But it didn’t matter – I still loved it, and we wandered around the same streets an indeterminable amount of times.
As well as colourful buildings, Galway also has a colourful history, and there are a few walking tours to showcase the highlights (Marteen Lane has some that look particularly interesting, like a dark history tour, and a Galway women one!). We did manage to find the window from which mayor James Lynch hung his own son, and we walked through the historic Spanish Arch on the waterfront. Incredibly, part of the arch was destroyed in 1755 by a tsunami… caused by the earthquake in LISBON. A tsunami in IRELAND from PORTUGAL. (I guess there would have been something poetic if it had been from Spain!)
In the evening, we popped into The Pie Maker for dinner.
The Pie Maker had immediately jumped out at me as a good place to eat in Galway – and it did not disappoint! I had chicken and whiskey; Ash had beef and ale (Guinness?). It was like we were cheating with our Irish drinks, because we don’t like whiskey OR Guinness (I know, sacrilege) and this was our best chance at trying them in Ireland.
The food was delicious anyway, and we had this wonderful view from our seats!
Shortly after this was taken, a group of buskers set up, and when we finished dinner, we wandered over to check them out because they looked… interesting.
(Not before I had banoffee pie though – because how can you NOT when it’s a pie place?! It was also delicious!)
I don’t know who they were, but they were like an Irish mariachi band and so much fun! A lot of people were walking past, and at one point a guy walked right through them and accidentally ended up doing a little jig with them! It was hilarious.
I honestly think the buskers were one of my favourite things about Galway. Every time you turned a corner, there was another one – and they were ALL good. This made for a perfect way to while away some time, too, and I made sure to give a few of them some money.
And, of course, one of the best things to do is enjoy some live music in a pub.
There are infinite amounts of cool sounding bars in Galway, and I have no doubt that I could spend a week here with a pub crawl every night and still not find all the best ones. (I think O’Connell’s MUST be, though!)
So it was tough to choose where to ring the evening in, but Dail Bar comes highly recommended. It was nice in there, but even though it was pretty lively, I felt like we weren’t getting the full effect in the early evening. I’m sure it would have been better with some live music!
We should perhaps have stayed two nights so that we could make a night of it in Galway – but it turned out that like Dublin, Galway was pretty pricey for drinking. I had actually expected it to be considerably cheaper, especially as it’s a student town, so this came as a bit of a shock, and we decided to very much cut down on drinks!
I’m very glad we made it to Galway, though. It’s such a pretty town, especially on a sunny day.
For once, we stayed in a hotel (The Light House – get 10% off if you book using my link!) rather than a hostel, and our room was lovely, even if the service was lacking (we literally met someone when we checked in, she just gave us our key, and we never saw anyone again). It looks like there are some really cool hostels around though, so I’d probably stay in one if we come back!
This was perfect for our weekend though – we even had a “balcony” overlooking the water! And for a third of what it would have cost to stay in Dublin. Literally almost half of what it would have been to stay in a HOSTEL in Dublin!
My only disappointment was in the morning, when I had planned to get breakfast in this amazing looking outdoor café, which Google says would open at 8am. We got up early to go before our bus – to find it was shut! The sign even said it would be opening at 8am, but at almost 9, it still wasn’t open. Boo!
I think it’s safe to say that we enjoyed our short getaway in Galway, and there are a few places in the area that we’d love to get to, like the Cliffs Of Moher and Connemara. An Ireland road trip is DEFINITELY on the cards!
Read more about our trip to Ireland:
Where’s your favourite place in Ireland? Is Galway on your list?!
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