Visiting Galway, Ireland

Over the past several weeks I have been detailing our trip to Ireland and I am jumping ahead now to Galway. This is where we spent our last day because it appeared to be quite close to Shannon on the map. The drive to Shannon was farther away than we thought as it was mostly back roads.

A little information about Galway. Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) or City of Galway (Cathair na Gaillimhe) is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the fifth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city in the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay. The population of Galway city and its environs is 72,729 according to the 2006 census. The Claddagh Ring is associated with the Claddagh, a fishing village located just outside the old walls of the Galway city.

When we arrived in Galway, it was after a long drive and everyone was ready for lunch. We headed up the street in Galway City at the suggestion of the B&B owner. As always, I was intrigued by the architecture, the small cars, and the signage.

I loved that I could pick up lunch, stop at the pharmacy, and then go into a casino if I wanted. There are many beautiful hotels in galway and I wished we had time to stay in some of them. I’m sure we’ll return soon though!

We ate lunch at Lohan’s Bar & Restaurant near the water on Upper Salthill. As you near the water at the top of the street, you’ll see their sign on the side of the building. They had a vegetarian Shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes and lentils that was really good. I never expect to find food that I can eat when traveling so it was nice to have a few items to choose from, although not vegan. My husband, a beer connoisseur so to speak, decided to try a local brew called “Galway Hooker.” A “Galway Hooker” is a traditional boat native to Galway. Is also the name of a new local micro-brewed beer. He asked our waitress what she thought of the microbrew and she thought it was “crap” although she said it in a less family-friendly way. She said she liked Guinness better and I get that. If Guinness is the beer of Ireland, it might be hard to convince the Irish to try something different, especially if it isn’t anything like Guinness.

Walking back to our B&B, I noticed this sign. Now if there were more signs like this for auctions in the US, there might be a bigger male turnout, don’t you think?

After lunch we decided to walk over to Shop Street, which was probably a 15-20 minute walk from Upper Salthill. What is Shop Street? Shop Street is the main thoroughfare in Galway city, County Galway in Ireland. It is a pedestrianised street, containing central Galway’s best preserved ancient building, Lynch’s Castle. As the main shopping street in Galway City, it contains old brick buildings, bright storefronts, numerous pubs and array of street performers.

This lively section in Galway will appeal to people of all ages. We were on a hunt for a few things with my mother-in-law. She was looking for a sweater and fabric. All along this area are small shops and restaurants where you can find almost anything. There were tourist type shops with all things screaming Irish on them, but also great little shops with beautiful jewelry, photos, and books. There were so many restaurants, too! Thank goodness we already ate otherwise it would have been incredibly hard to decide on one.

The elusive fabric shop was getting harder and harder to find and despite inquiring in different shops, we never got the same address. We felt like we were walking in circles for what felt like hours. Completely by accident we found a mall — it looked like a regular store from the front, but once you stepped inside you realized this place was huge and had tons of shops on different floors. On one of the upper floors we found Hickey’s, the fabric shop that we had been trying to find.

We waited on the steps outside the store because I’m not that into fabric stores (more of a safety pin and tape kind of girl). When she reappeared with this teeny tiny bag, I told her she better go back in and buy more fabric. Relax, I said that jokingly. We had walked all over Shop Street looking for fabric and she said she didn’t see that much that she liked. And with that, we decided to walk back to the B&B.

Along the way back, we saw this interesting metalwork on the street.

Although my favorite was spotting this house. How’d they know I would be stopping by?

Overall, Galway was a great stop on the end of our visit because it was low key and easily walkable. I liked that although one of the largest cities in Ireland, it had a small town feel. Had we stayed longer, I definitely would have visited the Galway City Museum or The Church of Ireland St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church is the largest medieval church still in everyday use in Ireland. That’s why there will have to be another trip to Ireland.