Visiting Ireland's incredible cities: Gorgeous Galway
Travel

Visiting Ireland's incredible cities: Gorgeous Galway

Yes, like the song. But the city of Galway in the West of Ireland has much more to offer than a painfully catchy beat.

Galway is—and I tell this to anyone who will listen—one of the most incredible places in the whole of Ireland.

The city is a hub for students, older people, families and tourists alike, and there’s something for everyone in the capital of the West.

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The nightlife is buzzing all through the year, seven days a week, and ‘nightlife’ might not even be the right name for it, as the pubs and restaurants are always full of life no matter the time of day.

The Latin Quarter holds dozens of traditional Irish pubs, some small and cozy, dotted with people enjoying a pint of Guinness while reading a book during the day (Head to Tigh Neachtain’s if this is the atmosphere you’re looking for); some deceptively huge and almost maze-like, with stages set up year-round to accommodate for the next talented musician (The Quays and The King’s Head are always good for this).

In Galway's West End, The Róisín Dubh hold Silent Discos every Tuesday and they’re always a big hit—you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a room full of people with not a note in their head between them—half of them swaying and shouting a love ballad, the others jumping around and rapping terribly.

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Then there’s Carroll's: it used to be a small, nice but quiet local nearby the more popular Monroe’s Tavern, but a refurbishment in recent years has transformed it into a modern, almost hipster hangout, with a re-purposed double-decker bus serving pizzas in the beer garden—but it still manages to retain its old charm.

Speaking of beer gardens, Ireland is one of the best places in the world for nice outside seating in pubs and restaurants. A shame we don’t get the weather for it too often, but when we do there’s no limit of outside spaces to choose from. An Púcán gets a special mention here for their incredible beer garden.

Almost every bar in Galway comes with an impressive, broad menu, from traditional fish and chips, toasted sandwiches and roast dinners smothered in gravy, to ever-popular vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Gourmet Offensive Falafel Bar even do a vegan version of Ireland’s favorite adopted dish, The Spice Bag.

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Once you’ve filled up to your heart’s content, there’s nothing like the simple pleasure of taking a stroll around the city. Galway is a city that has managed to retain the picturesque look and atmosphere of a small village, and this can be seen in the cobbled walk down Shop Street and the old stone buildings.

A walk around Galway cannot be complete without visiting the Docks and seeing the famous coloured houses painting The Long Walk, which made an appearance in the video for Ed Sheeran’s song.

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On a sunny day, or at least a day where it isn’t raining, Galway’s old-world Spanish Arch (or ‘Sparch’ as it is fondly known) tends to be mobbed by young people having the craic, drinking cans, playing music and sport and sometimes jumping into the water-- everywhere in the city is completely full of life.

Further along the Docks brings you to the outskirt of the city and towards Salthill, Galway’s gorgeous beach, where you can stroll along the strand, indulge in an ice-cream, try your luck in the busy casinos or jump off the famous Blackrock pier,.

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Galway’s university campus is also a majestic site, with the old Quadrangle a favourite spot for new graduates to take celebratory photos in sashes and graduation caps to mark the end of their college career. The campus is open to everyone, and it isn’t unusual to see tourists taking in the sight of the autumn ivy running red across the walls of the Quad.

Across from the campus, overlooking the roaring River Corrib, is the Galway Cathedral—another incredible piece of architecture which can be enjoyed no matter your religious tendencies.

An artistic city, murals and statues of all kinds can be found hiding around the winding stone streets of Galway city, sometimes appearing where you least expect it.

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This might seem like nothing more than a love-letter to Galway, but it’s impossible not to be biased when you’ve been to the loveliest city on Earth.