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Galway, Ireland - Your Travel Guide to this Charming Irish Coastal City

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Hey there! Let's talk about Galway, Ireland, a city that's got a bit of everything, from rich history to stunning coastal beauty. Before we visited, Ryan and I heard Galway was the the best place to visit if you're looking for the romantic and classic Irish experience - and we completely agree! Many Irish folks living in Dublin, Belfast and other busier areas take weekend getaways to Galway. It's a place where you can soak up the vibrant culture and enjoy some seriously good vibes. So, let's dive into the top things to do, where to find awesome hotels, and the tastiest spots to grab a bite in Galway!

Galway Mini Flags

1. Embrace the Charms of Eyre Square:

Let's kick off our Galway adventure in the heart of the city - Eyre Square. It's a lively spot packed with shops, pubs, and cool things happening all around. Take a leisurely stroll, do a bit of people-watching, and keep an eye out for talented street performers doing their thing.

2. Discover History at Galway City Museum:

History buffs and museum goers, listen up! Galway City Museum is a must-see for you. You'll find loads of interesting exhibits that tell the stories of Galway's past. From medieval artifacts to tales of the Spanish Armada, it's a captivating journey through time that'll make you truly appreciate the city.

3. Explore the Quaint Claddagh Village:

Now, let's venture to the charming village of Claddagh, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Galway's center. This place is all about tradition and the famous Claddagh Ring. Swing by Thomas Dillon's Claddagh Gold, the oldest jeweler in Ireland, and find yourself a beautiful Claddagh Ring to cherish forever.

Galway Spanish Arch

4. Enjoy the Views at the Spanish Arch:

Stroll through the the Spanish Arch, an ancient stone structure that was once part of the city walls. It offers awesome views of the River Corrib as it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Snap some Instagram-worthy shots and imagine the tales of the Spanish traders who used to hang out around here back in the day.

5. Take a Foodie Tour:

Ryan and I always enjoy a good foodie walking tour. It's a great way to get a lay of the land, eat traditional food, get a local's expert advice and meet other travelers. We took this tour, booked on TripAdvisor. This tour was a bit different than others, as we tasted a starter at one restaurant, a main course at another, and then ice cream and a decadent Irish coffee.

Castle near Galway

6. Get Out and Explore:

We took a break from the hustle and bustle Galway and visited nearby villages, Athenry and Dunguaire. We explored the Athenry Castle and Dunghaire Castle. The drive was an adventure through the Irish countryside, and is totally worth it if you have a rental car.

Castle Near Galway
My cutie parents in front of Athenry Castle

Castle near Galway

Irish Graveyard

Next, we'll look at some of the best places to stay in Galway:

  • The Galmont Hotel & Spa: If you're up for a touch of luxury, this place has got you covered. It's located just a short stroll away from Eyre Square, and you can pamper yourself with spa treatments and savor some seriously good food.

  • The House Hotel: Looking for something a bit more intimate and stylish? The House Hotel is your go-to. It's got that boutique charm and a cozy atmosphere right in the heart of Galway.

  • The Ardilaun Hotel: Want to get away from the hustle and bustle? The Ardilaun Hotel is your retreat. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it's the perfect place to relax while still being close to all the action.

A little footnote from us, avoid the Jury's Inn (Leonardo's Hotel) - it was quite a mess and totally not worth the money.

Galway River

Let's explore some of the best places to eat in the city:

  • Kai: This award-winning restaurant is a culinary gem. They serve up inventive dishes made with the finest local ingredients. Just make sure to book in advance because it's a popular spot!

  • 1520 Bar: Great pub vibes with live music most nights. They even have a cocktail menu!

  • Ard Bia at Nimmos: Get ready for a flavor adventure at Ard Bia. They do a fusion of Irish and international cuisine that's creative and seriously tasty. Oh, and don't forget to save room for their legendary cakes!

  • McDonagh's: You can't visit Galway without trying some traditional fish and chips, and McDonagh's is the place to go. They've been serving up crispy fish and golden chips for ages, and it's an absolute must-try.

Pro Tip: If you are traveling with a group of more than 2 people, we HIGHLY recommend making reservations in Galway. Many of the restaurants were fully booked during our stay and many hopeful visitors were turned away at the restaurant doors. Book in advance!

Seaside Irish Town
Pier Head Restaurant in Dunguarie - a great spot for lunch in the sun!

Galway, Ireland, is a city that's got a little something for everyone. Whether you're into history, culture, or just soaking up the coastal vibes, you're in for a treat. So pack your bags and get ready to explore Galway, Ireland!

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