Galway, known as the City of the Tribes, is the gateway to Western Ireland and all of its scenic glory. The fourteen merchant families who ruled the area during the 15th century contributed to its jagged horizons through the construction of castles, while the city centre is now buzzing with nightlife and a tourist “feel” which isn’t too overwhelming. The perfect mixture of past and present.
While this may suggest a limited selection of activities for visitors, there are certainly multiple options available to bear in mind on your travels, particularly those of you who are renting in Ireland.
Here are just four of our own suggestions.
Top 4 things to do
- Quay Street – Lined with famous pubs, restaurants, street entertainment and an incredibly vibrant nightlife, what more could you ask for as an introduction to the Irish tradition of a good night out than Quay Street? Frequent visitors describe the area as exciting, yet relaxed, and the perfect spot for traditional music and a hot, Irish coffee on a bitter evening.
- Dublin – You may have heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin – straight from the source – or that there are no comparable festivals to the celebrations held on St. Patrick’s Day; why not drive down and find out for yourself?While you’re there, take a trip through the Wicklow Mountains and enjoy the breathtaking views, providing the weather permits decent vision!
- Galway City Museum – Set in a spacious, modern building, Galway City Museum is situated along the banks of the River Corrib, overlooking the famous Spanish Arch. It houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions, representing Galway’s fascinating archaeology, heritage and history, and is open to visit for free all year round.
- Dogs Bay, Gurteen Bay and Salthill Beaches – Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay are two of the most stunning beaches in County Galway and, probably, in the West of Ireland. They are situated only 2 miles away from the picturesque little village of Roundstone, offering incomparable views of Errisbeg and the surrounding countryside.
The sand here does not comprise of traditional limestone fragments but, instead, is made entirely from seashell fragments, creating its stunning, pure white colour.
Salthill Beaches are a collection of several small, pebbled and sandy beaches separated by outcrops, overlooking Galway Bay which is a “Special Area of Conservation.” It has been awarded Blue Flag beach status and is extremely popular in the summer months.
Outside of these four suggestions, the scenery throughout Galway is truly some of the most breathtaking you will ever come across in Ireland or Great Britain. We would certainly recommend you take the time to go for some long drives, get the hiking boots on, and take advantage of some of the best views that Ireland has to offer.
Eating and going out
Ireland may be more famed for its liquid lunches rather than its solid equivalent. However if you are prepared to do a bit of digging there is a lot on offer in this city’s streets. Try Oscar’s Seafood Bistro found on the western side of the city. The restaurant takes advantage of the city’s connection with the Atlantic Ocean, sourcing the finest locally caught produce. Go for something decidedly less Irish at Oran Tandoori, tipped as the finest curry house in the city. Reasonably priced dishes are served daily to your table. For fans of spice, the vindaloo is the best dish on the menu.
A trip to Ireland would not be complete without at least one sip of the black stuff. Luckily for you there are many pubs and bars to quench your thirst. Tig Coili is an intimate affair that offers no short measure of music and (as the Irish would have it) craic. Alternately you could try Tig Neachtain, an altogether more bustling affair that is renowned for its decent mix of people. Hipsters, businessmen and artists are all drawn to the wooden interiors and the music pouring out onto the street.
With so much to do in and around Galway you will find the whole trip a lot easier if you rent a car on arrival in Ireland.