I don’t know if I can accurately express just how much I love Galway in this post. First of all, let me just preface all of this by saying that this was my second time back to Ireland in the space of two months because that’s just how much I love it there. It is undoubtedly my favourite country I’ve ever been to. Second point worth mentioning is that I’m going back again this summer – should I just be moving there and save on the air fare? Obviously, yes. So naturally, I’m so excited to be teaming up with The Everygirl today to share my top 7 picks for your next trip to Galway, but if you want to catch even more snaps from my epic two days there, click through to see more of this indescribably beautiful place!
When people ask me where the best food was while I was travelling, I don’t even think twice before telling them it was in Galway, where I had the most incredible brunch in one of the most special restaurants I’ve ever been to: Ard Bia at Nimmo’s. Yes, the food in Paris was exquisite, the stick-to-your-ribs fare in Denmark was unreal and I still dream about the tapas in Spain, but something about the wholesome, farm-to-table, abundant plates that I got to experience in Galway really resonated with me. It’s comfort food with class, and best of all, it’s fresh and simple. Can’t stress enough how amazing this very simple plate above was.
Amanda, one of my besties who lives in Cork as a doctor with her awesome boyfriend (hi Dave!), came up to Galway with me and it was honestly the best time ever. We walked the Prom, kicking the stone at the end for good luck (which sadly led to the demise of the steel toe on one of my Jonak booties but totally worth it), carried on our mid-day beer drinking with a stop at a lovely pub en route whose name I can’t remember but who had lovely staff who answered all of my many questions, and best of all, at the end we saw a bunch of locals jumping off the famous diving board and swimming. In October. In Ireland. Love it.
We were watching a hurling match in this tiny pub after our walk when we struck up a convo with a lovely gent next to us called Alan who proceeded to give us every insider tip we could ever need. He spent at least 20 minutes detailing the whole city, even connecting us with his friends (like he did at Sheridans Cheesemonger, where we were able to get Seamus the owner to take care of us on Alan’s word). I’m actually a big beer girl (like not literally, though give me 5 years and I’ll probably have developed a lovely little beer gut) so I don’t exactly need a respite from beer, but for those of you who would rather a glass of wine or who just want a break from the pub scene, the wine room at Sheridans is so lovely and well worth visiting!
We went back to our hostel (Galway City Hostel, loveliest hostel staff ever!) for a quick change after walking and drinking all day so that we could look prettier while we walked and drank more. The Quay’s, while definitely the most well-known and therefore a tourist destination, is still well worth going to because of its legendary status, and for its great live music sets. We basically just wandered up and down the network of main streets downtown, popping into shops, grabbing another pint (or two…or three…or…you get it) and then finally coming back to our hostel where we immediately started roasting this Northern Irish guy who had passed out along with all of his friends. Made for a pretty great pancake breakfast the next morning when we messed with his head as he remembered nil.
Amanda and I woke up the next morning feeling, well…worse for wear. We had a brunch at the museum’s cafe which was amazing actually (thanks again to Alan for all his amazing reco’s!) and then we had to make the hard decision: do we drag our hungover butts back to Cork in shame or toughen up and go see the Burren as planned? Well, if the pics above are any indication, we chose the latter and I have to say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. As Amanda soon realized, the Burren is apparently the place I find most beautiful in the entire world, because the hangover quickly cleared up and was replaced with an almost frenzied freak out as I became overwhelmed by the beauty around me. I literally had my head hanging out the window dog-style going “OH MY GOOOOOD. WOOOOOOW. AMANDAAAAA. I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!” as she navigated us around the park in her trusty little car. Needless to say, it was beyond special for me.
From the centuries-old tombs to the surreal and stunning karst landscape to, of course, the Cliffs of Moher, it was honestly one of the most incredible days of my trip. I’m not the best at retaining memories actually (blame it on that soccer concussion) but this day is perfectly imprinted in my mind. From “Happy” serendipitously blaring on the radio while I was indeed in one of the happiest states of my entire life driving in this breathtakingly green countryside while sun rays cut through the mist to seeing the water crashing below at the Cliffs of Moher to balancing on a tiny spot in the dotted karst landscape, looking at a burial site to my left and cows grazing to my right, it’s a day I’ll remember always.
So thank you, Galway, for making me oh so very happy and making me fall even more in love with Ireland (which based off of this first travel diary, I didn’t think was possible!). Definitely visit The Everygirl to get more specific recommendations for your next trip – I can’t wait to go back this summer!