Galway Travel Guide: Rustic Pubs, All the Fish & Chips, & Live Irish Music Galore
We just returned from five days in Galway, and it was an absolute blast. Just a really, cracking, feel-good trip. (Did I use that term right? I feel like I heard it used all over Ireland. Either way, I’m owning it).
Full to bursting with Irish charm, this bustling harbor city on the western coast was already decorated for the holidays by November 1st, and had such a festive spirit. We spent most of our time in the city’s hub, known as The Latin Quarter, which boasts fantastic live Irish folk music almost every evening, great stone clad restaurants, and plenty of rustic pubs filled with fire nooks. We feasted pretty much exclusively on fish & chips, savory pies, and ciders (Guinness for Brad). And, let me tell you, everyone drinks Guinness! I love when your ideas of a place turn out to be correct.
Great Restaurants & Pubs
McDonaughs: Excellent fish & chips shop. Open late. Grabbed a plate of fried cod, and perfectly salted fries. The portion is so huge we shared.
The Pie Maker: So delicious we went twice. I was introduced to pies in South Africa, so any chance I have to try one, I do so. I had chicken and mushroom in a whiskey, rosemary sauce served with mash, braised cabbage and mushy peas. The braised cabbage tasted like Thanksgiving, in a great way.
Esquire: For brekkie. Sit down cafe just off Eyre square with great looking breakfasts, muffins, scones etc. I had I think, the best chocolate muffin of my life. Moist, with big chunks of melted chocolate. Pretty sure at one point I had chocolate in my hair. Worth it.
Great Pubs: Many places have music twice a day, once at 6:30pm and 9:30pm
Tigh Choli: Great live Irish music. Our first evening in Galway, we popped into this place and grabbed a tiny nook to sit and watch the music. We really lucked out as it was the only spot free to sit, and this place fills up fast. We caught the 6:30pm performance, and it was hands down our favorite. About eight people showed up with their instruments, including a couple of teenagers and an older gentleman who was clapping along with the show and at one point whipped out a flute and joined the musicians. You guys, he had an emergency flute! It was a rollicking, lively, local atmosphere. At one point Brad and I just looked at each grinning.
Tigh Neachtain: Rustic, cozy pub filled with artwork and fire nooks. We had a great time, relaxing by the lovely fire places, listening to everyone with their Irish accents, and sipping Stonewell and Guinness. Live music wasn’t playing the particular evening we went, but we were told they often have it. *Stonewell was my favorite cider in Ireland, and I made it a point to try quite a few. I’m usually more of a wine gal, but you have to try a beer or cider when in Ireland right?!*
Taafes: Had a blast listening to live music in this place. It’s right across the way from Tigh Choli. After listening to over an hour of music at Tigh Choli we ran for dinner at McDonagh’s, and then popped into this place just in time to grab a seat and catch another round of music. Note – it fills up very quickly.
Day Trip from Galway
Galway was the perfect home base for a five day trip in Ireland. About 2.5 hours from Dublin, and 1.5 hours from the Cliffs of Moher, we could enjoy the adorable town and fit in some great scenery, tiny fishing villages and pubs along the way.
Ireland has a way of working itself into your bones. It’s a place where I instantly felt comfortable, and knew I would visit again. I have long felt a draw towards the Emerald Isle. I feel the same way about Scotland and Cornwall. I think for my next trip, I would like to visit Cork and the Dingle Peninsula. My next blog post will be about the Cliffs of Moher!
What are your favorite places in Ireland? Where would you like to visit?