I insisted that we spend an afternoon in Galway city before hopping on the bus back to Dublin. Galway is situated beside the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay. It is a very populated area, so by the afternoon the cobblestone streets were flooded with people. We walked through Eyre Square down to shop street making our way to Galway Bay. The row of colorful houses are an identifying point of the bay. I find it very peaceful being there. We walked around to the opposite side to see the Spanish Arch, which was built during the 16th century to protect the quays. It used to be known as the “Head of the Wall”.
Continuing our walk around the city, we followed the River Corrib up to the Galway Cathedral, which is actually called Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas or apparently in Gaelic- Ard-Eaglais Mhaighdean na Deastógála agus Naomh Nioclás. Say that five times fast! This was my first time entering the cathedral and it was impressive- with grand pillars, large dome and mosaics. Once we were back on Shop street we picked up some gifts for family; a claddagh ring for Mike’s mom, a cute scarf from my relative’s store Twice as Nice and a Galway hat for his dad. Wandering down the small side streets we found a crafts fair with jewelry made from bogwood and at the end of the street was Sheridans Cheesemongers. I could not resist going in and trying samples of the local cheeses. The staff was very friendly and picked out some great samples for me. I ended up buying some and eating it on the bus on the way back to Dublin. With the short afternoon we had in Galway city, we ate lunch at McDonagh’s on Quay street. Although it is centered on the main street, Mike heard about this place on Rick Steve’s travel podcast.
I did not plan what time to catch the train to Galway, so we had literally missed it by one minute by the time we got to the station. What we should have done was take the express coach to Galway (route X20), but instead we got on a regular bus making every single stop on the way. After a nearly four hour ride back to Dublin, it was time to have dinner. In order to celebrate our engagement, Mike and I opted for splurging on dinner at F.X. Buckley. We ate every last bite of the high quality prime cut beef and savored it with some nice wine.
Getting there: If you are in Dublin, you can take the express bus for about 20 euro or you can take the train for about 22 euro if you leave from Dublin (Heuston station). There are also private tour company’s that will do multi-day trips, often combining Galway City, Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher. This will generally cost more than 100 euro.
Drinks & Dining:
- The Quays Bar – Traditional Irish music every night, Guinness and bar food.
- McDonagh’s – Fish and Chips
- Sheridans Cheesemongers – Farmhouse cheeses, olives and charcuterie. Check out the wine shop and bar above the cheese store too.
- Martine’s Quay Street Wine Bar & Restaurant– Mussels, Oysters and all other types of seafood served here.
Activities: The best activity is to simply walk around and explore Galway city. Walk up the River Corrib and around the bay. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even kayak starting at 40 euro. I would suggest going to the Galway Races if you are there during the summer festival. There are themed days where you can win prizes and of course money if you pick the right horse.