Galway – County Galway
Leaving Doolin it would have taken approximately an hour and a half to get to Galway City, but we decided to drive up to Connemara to Kylemore Abbey first.
There were so many beautiful views along the drive and lots of sheep!
Kylemore Abbey has been few quite a few transformations and you get to walk the first floor and see all about the history. There is also a Neo-Gothic Church onsite to visit, lovely gardens, shops and cafes.
This is the view from the front of the Abbey, breathtaking!
Not pictured is the absolutely amazing Ham and Cheese sandwich we had at a pub along the way back to Galway City. We stopped at Joyce’s bar in Lissoughter, this was a great place to stop. Quaint pub with lots of locals. Also, something no one talks about is the ham and cheese sandwiches in Ireland is so good. This might sound funny but warmed up and all melty, they were a favorite!
We really enjoyed Dublin, but Galway was my favorite city. It was the perfect mix of city, culture and laid back style in my opinion. Galway is a harbor city and I loved the feel of being in a city while also being on the coast.
We headed into the city to go to our next hotel for the following two nights, we stayed at the Hotel Meyrick, which is now The Hardiman. Another great accommodation, the location was perfect. We were on the outskirt of Eyre Square, right across from the city meeting center. We did not know until we got there, but while we were the city they were launching their program for 2020 after being named the 2020 European Capital of Culture. The event took place right in Eyre Square.
Our hotel was beautiful and had great food options, spa and hotel bar. The location was so great for walking into the shopping areas. It also had a Canadian Hot Tub on the roof,which we used two nights.
As usual our first night was just spent walking around exploring the city and going in and out of pubs. We made sure to pick up our Aran Island Ferry tickets for the following day.
Pro Tip: Since we booked the Aran Island Ferry the next day from Galway (which is really a ferry terminal in Rossaveel) we needed to pick up our tickets from their store front in the city center. Make sure to do this and check their hours of operation! Also, make sure you know you will need to get to Rossaveel ferry terminal, we drove but buses are available.
This evening we ate at one of the best tapas restaurants we have ever been to, Cava Bodega. We were very fortunate to be seated when we walked in, they get busy and fill up fast, make a reservation if you can.
Also, we were so busy fully enjoying this meal I did not take a picture of anything… at all. But, I am sure you can notice I have forgotten to photograph quite a bit of our meals.
Getting to the Aran Islands can be done a few different ways from a different points in Ireland, we decided it worked best to do the ferry from Galway for our schedule. Make sure to pre- order your ferry tickets and pick them up. It was approximately an hour drive from Galway City to the ferry terminal, make sure to plan ahead for all of this.
There are three islands that make up the Aran Islands, Inishmore (Inis Mor), Inishmaan (Inis Meain) and Inisheer (Inis Oirr). We went to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inishmore. The ferry ride was very nice and only about 45 mins. If you go to Inishmore from Doolin it is approximately 90 mins.
Pro Tip – Rent an electric bike while exploring the island. Renting bikes is a great way to get around the island, and having an electric one is really helpful! It was only a few dollars more to get the electric bike and while people were pushing their bikes up hills we were whizzing past them.
When getting on the island you will get a map which will help you plan out your day. We just got on our bikes and started riding. We rode along the coast for a while seeing the seal colony, put our feet in the (cold) sea water. There were a few shops and stores to stroll through as well.
We then headed to Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa), which is the largest prehistoric stone fort of the Aran Islands. This place was super impressive. Just to prepare you, it is all uphill and quite a while to get there, but it is so worth it. Take breaks, have water with you, and do what you need to in order to get there and you won’t regret it.
After all of that climbing, a pint was necessary so we went to Ti Joe Watty’s. We were able to sit outside and enjoy a pint and some lunch.
We then road around the island a little more and spent some time before heading back to the ferry.
We headed back to Galway on the 4pm ferry and spent some time in the hot tub and relaxing before heading back out into the town for the night.
Since the weather was so warm, on our way back into Galway City the famous Salt Hill Promenade was bustling with people jumping off. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good picture from the car, but here is one from google.
This evening was filled with lots of pubs like The Kings Head, The Quays, Murphys and so many more. We also, walked around and shopped in the local stored and the mall. The indoor mall can be accessed from Eyre Square as well. We also went to Jury’s Inn to sit in their outside beer garden for a pint.
This city is amazing, I loved the people, the music in the streets, the vibe walking around and the laid back feel for being a city. I loved seeing people just hanging out by the water near the Spanish Arch. This is a city you really need to experience.
In Galway The Spanish Arch, is one of two remaining arches from the city walls that were constructed in 1584. I am going to be 100% honest with you, it was neat to see, but we actually walked past it about 4 times because it isn’t really anything “in your face” amazing.
Pro Tip: Galway is where The Claddagh originated, there are so many shops where you can get Claddagh jewelry, but why not get it from Galway where it came from?!
I bought my sister in law a Claddagh ring from McCarthy’s, so not only was the ring from Galway, but also incorporated her maiden name. Sean bought me a beautiful Claddagh ring while we were in Galway too!
One funny thing about Galway is when you are walking around the cobblestone streets at night there are no cars, but for certain hours during the day they are allowed to drive on those streets so be careful when walking around.
Our last night in Galway was spent eating more tapas from a different restaurant. The Yard at The House Hotel.
We ended our last night enjoying local pubs and walking around the beautiful streets. The next morning it was time to head to our last destination, Dublin!
Part 6 County Dublin – Coming Soon.
Missed Part 4 County Clare? – Available here.