Galway, is a harbour city on Ireland’s west coast, where the River Corrib and the Atlantic Ocean come together. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, surrounded by shops and historic pubs with live Irish folk music. There are stone laiden cafes, boutiques and art galleries that line the winding narrow passages of the Latin Quarter, that retains parts of the medieval city walls. This city is the cutest one in Ireland in my opinion. The colorful flags, bicycles and flower baskets hanging all around bring so much life and beauty on every corridor and corner. I can see why Ed Sheeran sang about this magical quaint city.
How to get there
Taking the bus from Dublin to Galway
The bus station across the river on the Ha’penny bridge from Abbey Court hostel is called City Link (4 Crampton Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 X434, Ireland). It is a yellow building servicing yellow busses. You can buy tickets inside the building, and they are very helpful. The bus ticket was 13 Euro round trip to go 2.5 hours away to the Western coast of Ireland from all the way East. You can book online for citylink at https://www.citylink.ie/ and will save 3 dollars on your ticket! The busses are yellow and have signs telling you where the bus is headed. They are very clean, nice, and comfortable. The 2.5 hour bus ride through the Irish countryside was one of my favorite parts of being in Ireland. You really got to see so much that you would not typically see, especially without renting a car. I listened to Ed Sheeran’s album Divide the whole way, while taking full advantage of my window watching the lush green countryside filled with sheep fields and rolling hills go by. This is a perfect day trip from Dublin or a great overnighter or two from the main city. I found myself wishing I had more time in this charming city than the larger touristy and bustling Dublin.
Things to Do
Have a morning reading date at Coffeewerk + Press
Check out this cute modern and colorful asthetic coffee shop with craft coffee and great central location and prime people watching views of the city. There is seating outside and indoors but not a ton and this place fills up fast. Head there in the morning for a peaceful morning reading and coffee. This is rated the best coffee in Galway and some even say it is the best in Ireland. It was my favorite spot the whole time I visited. Their hours are Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm and 9am-6pm Sat and Sun. The coffee is a bit on the expensive end being nice craft coffee but if you are into the minimalist and creative asthetic you will love this place. They sell local and international art and home goods products as well as ceramics and candles. This little boutique and coffee shop is the coolest in town. Check out more about their products here.
Eat at The Residence Hotel & see live Irish musicians at night
This hotel has a bar in the lobbey called 1520. They offer cheap Irish beers on tap as well as some of the best homemade stew I have had! They gave a warm bowl of stew on a cold and rainy day and it was a great covered outdoor seating to view the busy Shop street. The traditional Irish lamb stew was 10 euros for a bowl. Their whole menu can be found here. This is also a well known and popular spot for live music at night and cocktails. I could tell it was one of the most popular and trendy bars in Galway. It’s location is ideal, tucked in the heart of Quay street, the very popular shopping district covered with flags and flowers. They also host classic, live Irish music 7 nights a week. Whether you stay at the hotel or not, it is worth a visit. They had such a good bowl of stew and a bar with reasonable prices.
Go shopping at “Shop street” or Quay street
Shopping Street is the main hub of life in the city coming out of Eyre main square. This is quay street that runs though the center of the narrow passages of all the little shops, restaurants, coffee shops and businesses. The streets are flagged with brightly colored flags in the sky and filled with flowers and decorative bikes and signs.
Eat at the Pie Maker
This is a local’s favorite restaurant making delicious homemade pies sweet and savory. The pies are homemade with high quality Irish meats, local vegetables and organic spelt flour. Vegetarian options are also available! The restaurant is open from 11am-11pm daily. A meal cost ranges from $6-$16. This place can be busy and have a wait but it is worth it! The pies are one of the best meals in town and a must try in Galway.
Look for Street Art and Murals
This is the most quaint and walkable city to see in not very much time. The whole town is cozy, colorful and an artistic historic vibe on the coast of Ireland. There is definitely many artsy boutique shops as well as artists who live in the community. There are different murals in parts of the town to be on the lookout for.
Take a walk at the Harbor to look at the boats
There are lots of colorful boats in the small harbour on the water and a great walkway all along the water in town to take a walk and see the meetnig of the ocean and river.
Visit Galway Cathedral & the Canals
There are lots of walking paths along the canals of Galway that are great for running, biking or walking. They offer a beautiful view of the city and ocean as well as the Cathedral of Galway. On your walk be sure to stop in and see the cathedral, a renaissance-style Catholic cathedral, that has a mosaic of JF Kennedy. The cathedral is free to enter and is open from 08:30am until 6:30pm daily.
Take a picture of the Spanish Arches
This is a fun historical piece of the city to walk under on your exploration of the city. It is on the left bank of the Corrib River, and is one of Galway’s historical gems, dating back to pre-medieval times. This is a free site to see.
Booking a Hostel
This is one of two best modern hostels in Galway. It is 300 metres from the Galway bus and train station, and 1 km from the Spanish Arch. There is breakfast, free Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms. Linens are included. There’s a kitchen and a BBQ grill for use. The common area has a pool table and a TV with a DVD player. Towels and laundry can be used for a fee. Discounts on nearby parking and bike rental are also available.
$37USD/night, BOOK HERE
Bunk Boutique Hostel
This is the best selling hostel in Galway and is modern and artistic more like a boutique budget hotel. The hostel is a 1-minute walk of Eyre Square and Galway’s coach and train stations. There is free WiFi, luggage storage and lockers. There are mixed and female dorms, bathroom facilities and showers. Bed linen is provided. There is a kitchen and lounge area with computer and printing access. This hostel is also high rated by couples.
$38USD/night, BOOK HERE