Things to do in Galway City

This blog could be 100,000 words just as easily as it could be 1000, such are the possibilities that come with a visit to the gorgeous Galway. Situated as it is on the dramatic western coast of Ireland – it is the perfect starting point for numerous adventures such as discovering the Wild Atlantic Way, visiting the castles of yore, and basking in the natural beauty of Connemara National Park.

However, the city itself is that which I wish to explore with you today, with its wonderful blend of contemporary culture and awe-inspiring antiquity - there is never a shortage of exciting experiences to be had in Galway City

The Latin Quarter & Spanish Arch

If you’re up for a day of bar hopping, window shopping, and people watching – then the Latin Quarter should definitely be your first port of call. Bursting with activity at all hours of the day, it’s a real glimpse into the bustling culture of Galway City, offering a blend of modern influences and medieval heritage.

 

 

Take a stroll down to the Spanish Arch at one end; named after the large contingency of Spanish and Portuguese residents that had settled there, calling for Dublin to comment: “Galway is more Spanish than Irish”. It forms the remains of a medieval defence structure, most of which perished after being hit by a Tsunami in 1755 – and was visited by Spain’s great explorer Christopher Columbus.

 

Picture Credits - thisisgalway.ie

 

Today it’s a great place to chill out with a book or catch some craic with the locals, after your adventures through the colourful culture of the Latin Quarter. You’ll even catch a free concert or two with some pretty good buskers frequenting the area; Ed Sheeran himself used to ply his trade down this way – before he made it big of course.

 

Corrib Princess River Cruise

Appreciate a different perspective of Galway from the luxurious Corrib Princess, which sets sail down the river on a daily sight-seeing tour. Departing from Woodquay at the very heart of the city, passengers traverse down the Corrib River surrounded by unrestricted views of Galway’s history, from romantic castles, to protected wildlife in their natural habitat – every bend comes with its own surprise and delights.

 

Picture Credit - thisisgalway.ie

Eventually the river opens out onto the crisp, crystal waters of Lough Corrib, the second largest in Ireland. Here you will catch bracing views of the majestic Connemara mountains – perhaps with a warming Irish Coffee in hand.  

A guide will reveal all the hidden histories and mythologies that have unfolded over the years, ensuring that you have a whole new understanding of this beautiful little corner of Ireland by the time you disembark.

As well as the sightseeing tours, you can also book the boat out for your own private evening events: from birthday BBQS to bachelorettes parties – cruise the Corrib in whichever style you please.

 

 

Salthill Promenade

 

If you want to get out and stretch your legs, then head across to Claddagh Quay to begin a bracing and beautiful stroll overlooking Galway Bay.

The Salthill Promenade stretches across two kilometres, offering stunning views of the Aran Islands, and the hills of the Burren on one side, with an array of interesting bars and restaurants on the other. You’ll be in good company at any time of day, with tourists and locals taking to the oft-beaten path for running, walking, rollerblading and even swimming should the weather be in their favour.

 

Picture Credits - Galwaytourism.ie

The walkway ends at the famous Black Rock Tower, where you can choose to take a plunge into the bay and splash around like so many before you, or if you’d rather remain dry for the return leg you can simply drink in the wonderful views and atmosphere on land. Just make sure you kick the wall before turning back – it’s a bit of a local tradition!

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Food Tours

 

Picture Credits - galwayfoodtours.com

With all this fresh air by the waterside, you’ll be working up quite the appetite as you gallivant through Galway, which is lucky – as it’s an absolute haven for foodies.

The city is home to an abundance of food tours, with a schedule suited to every palette – ensuring that you get the best possible taste of Galway. From world-famous oysters, to whisky tastings, and luxurious chocolate sampling – you’re definitely best to come with an empty stomach and an open mind to accommodate all of the culinary culture that is coming your way.

 

If you’re more of a lone wolf than part of a pack, then you can always dip in and out of eateries guided by your own whim, but I would definitely recommend McDonagh’s for the ultimate Irish chipper experience, and top it off with one of Murphy’s famous ice-creams.

Michelin Star Restaurant

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated supper, then you’ll be delighted to know that Galway is home to not just one, but two of Ireland’s 21 Michelin Star restaurants – Loam and Aniar.

Loam is Irish for “rich and fertile soil” with the restaurant exploring the cutting edge of contemporary cuisine while staying true to traditional Irish roots. With every single ingredient locally foraged, you won’t find any exotic spices on your plate - having been replaced with a creative blend of flavours and textures found right on Galway’s doorstep. The sustainably sourced seven course tasting menu can be paired with an impressive selection of wines – chosen to heighten your enjoyment of the luxuriously presented dishes.

 

 

 

Aniar means ‘From the West’ in Irish, referring to the origins of all of the produce which is crafted into the sumptuous and artistic dishes served up in this incredible establishment. The menu is fresh and seasonal to the point of each daily menu being dictated by the food delivered to the kitchen that very morning. The chef and his staff take patrons on a journey of discovery through the West Coast of Ireland, and all the wild and wonderful tastes that have been dotted through its landscape and heritage.

 

Picture Credit - Guidemichelin.com

Galway Cathedral

With all its intricate stonework and splendour, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this particular edifice came into being centuries before – but in actual fact it was built relatively recently in 1965.

 

Picture Credit - Robert Lindsdell

 

Although the youngest of Europe’s great stone churches, the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, is no fledgling experience! The incorporation of a domed ceiling and elegant pillars are heavily inspired by the renaissance period, adding to the grandeur of the experience. Couple that with marble floors, elaborate stained glass windows and a calming air of serenity – it’s a wonderful spiritual stop-off on your exploration of Galway City.

 

 

It might seem controversial to make indoor plans on a sunny day, you won’t regret it when you see the sunlight pass through the stained-glass windows, shining a rainbow across the stunning interior.

Have you been to Galway before? What was your favourite activity while you were there? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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