Galway sits, forever young, where the River Corrib kisses the Atlantic Ocean. A harbour on the west and probably one of my favourite places to visit on the Emerald Isle, I took my boyfriend to this Celtic coven for the weekend. Chris is from Oxford but after two nights on the coast he felt as Irish as the Irish themselves. I put his metamorphosis down to breathing in the Atlantic air but perhaps there is something to be said for drinking Guinness on the seafront also.
We had a wonderful weekend and I wanted to share some of highlights with you in this post. As the weather gets warmer why not take a staycation and soak up some of the best that Ireland has to offer?
We took the Gobus from Dublin City centre. It costs €23 for a return journey and takes about two and half hours.
Book your tickets with Gobus online here.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Maldron Hotel Sandy Road. The hotel is situated on the outskirts of Galway City with easy access to the city centre and Salthill. It also boasts exceptional fitness facilities and a spa which includes a complimentary visit to the thermal suite with the purchase of any treatment. It is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day in the city. We enjoyed the hotel’s Vitality Breakfast during our stay which has continental style pastries as well as healthy options like the power shot but you can also opt for a full Irish to give you plenty of energy for the day ahead.
Book your stay here.
What we did
Galway is a bustling city with so much to see and do. Here are some of our highlights.
Oysters and a pint of the black stuff on Shop Street.
When visiting Galway you will no doubt stumble upon Shop Street. It is the main thoroughfare in Galway and a bustling shopping street as the name suggests. It is also full of casual dining spots and we were delighted to be able to stop and refuel. We sat outside and watched the world go by as buskers played homage to Thin Lizzy.
Galway City Museum
I’ve been to Galway quite a few times now but this was the first time I visited the Galway City Museum. I was really impressed with what it had to offer and would highly recommend a visit. The museum was opened in 2007 and showcases the material heritage of Galway.
As a creative fiction and short story writer I was particularly interested in the Padraic O’Conaire exhibition but with everything from GAA to sea science there is something to interest everyone in this wonderful museum.
Plan you trip here.
A trip to Galway would not be complete without visiting the Spanish Arch. It is one of the historical gems of Galway and situated next to the City Museum. The arch is one of the remaining parts of the city wall which was used to protect the city’s quays.
Salthill and The Blackrock Diving Tower
The Blackrock Diving Tower has featured in numerous music videos and is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. We took the bus from the city centre out to Salthill and walked along the prom, passing the amusements and heading right out to the tower. Despite the cold and the imminent rain there were locals swimming and a sense of freedom that can only be experienced in the West.
Where we ate
Ard Bia Nimmos
We stopped for lunch at Ard Bia at Nimmos when visiting the museum and the Spanish Arch. Ard Bia prides itself on having roots in a place but still drawing inspiration from around the world. The restaurant has a rustic, paired back aesthetic and we felt at home as we sat at wooden tables surrounded by coastal inspired decor. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, capturing perfectly the essence of the west of Ireland.
We shared a delectable fish platter of crab and salmon and a pot of seaweed tea which was the perfect accompaniment. I then browsed the shelves filled with a diverse range of preserves, cook books and aran style blankets all available to purchase.
Brassiere On The Corner
We also enjoyed a beautiful evening meal at Brassiere On The Corner. This is a chic restaurant with exposed brick and dark wood. The menu is extensive and consists of freshly sourced fish, deli boards and steak.
We also enjoyed a pint in the famous Tig Coili. The pub is situated on Mainguard Street at the end of Shop Street. It is a cosy pub known for its traditional Irish music sessions. The walls are decorated with pictures of past performers and behind the bar you can see notes from different currencies hanging from the ceiling.