Continuing my series about my trip to Ireland, today’s post is dedicated to the city/area we spent the most amount of time in: Galway. This is the second of a 3-part trip recap. Be sure to check out parts 1 and 3!
Galway is my FAVORITE city in Ireland. The west coast is absolutely gorgeous and Galway is a great location to make homebase while you explore all the west of Ireland has to offer. While it is a city, its architecture and layout makes it manageable to explore and feels more quaint than Dublin. Galway is a very artsy city, where medieval stone structures are interspersed with colorful buildings and sailboats.
Galway is such a pedestrian-friendly city. The two pubs we frequented the most were right on the pedestrian walkway. On our first night, we went to The Kings Head. The structure itself has been around for 800 years! How crazy is that? Our favorite pub, however, was Tig Cóilí. We loved the traditional Irish music and how “local” this place felt. The Kings Head had many tourists, but Tig Cóilí had more locals than tourists, or so it seemed.
West Coast Tour
If you’re looking for a fantastic tour, go on one led by the Galway Tour Company. Our tour guide was incredible and we were able to see a ton of places in a short amount of time! Megan and I chose The Cliffs of Moher & The Burren tour that took us along the west coast through Co. Galway and Co. Clare. A few stops included:
Dunguaire Castle & the Village of Kinvara
The Burren is home to many neolithic structures, including poulnabrone dolmen, burial tomb that was created 1,000 years before the Giza pyramids. The top piece of the tomb is 65 tons… much like Stonehenge, it is a mystery to how these tombs were built.
The Cliffs of Moher
The O’Brien family was the last ruling family of the area. When the last O’Brien died, he willed his castle and the Cliffs of Moher to the people of Ireland. It is now a beautiful park with the most breathtaking views. Fun fact: a scene from Harry Potter was filmed here and parts of Princess Bride! We lucked out and had great weather to have a perfect view of the cliffs.
County Clare & Ballyryan
Our last stop of the day was a small seaside area in Ballyryan. With the sun setting over the ocean, coupled with the previous drive through beautiful County Clare, this stop was a picturesque way to conclude the day.
What We Missed (But I saw previously)
- Kylemore Abbey: Built in 1920 as a private estate, it eventually became an abbey for nuns fleeing Belgium during WWI. It remains an abbey, however it is open to visitors to take in the beautiful gardens and estate.
- Connemara: Connemara is known for its beautiful green marble which you can find in much of the local jewelry. This region is also home to the Connemara National Park for you outdoorsy types.
What I Wish We Saw
- Aran Islands: Due to the time of year we went, visiting the Aran Islands wasn’t recommended due to the unpredictability of weather, as you have to take a ferry to get to them. They are known for their Aran Sweaters, but also their prehistoric ruins and seal colony. You can also explore the island by bike, which I would’ve loved!
Stay tuned for Part 3!
Have you been to Galway? What were your favorite places you visited?