A Day in Galway City

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It’s nearly impossible to walk down the Latin Quarter in Galway City without these famous lines coming to mind:

Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk of a day -I-ay-I-ay….

You have to be one kind of a town to have a song written after you; the likes of Chicago, New York or Paris being proof of that. Well, here in Ireland we have such a special town as well, and it’s called Galway. A harbour city located on Ireland’s west coast, this town is renowned for its cool, bohemian and alternative atmosphere, where always a fun event or concert is taking place.

But aside from the main attractions that this quaint city has to offer, we decided to dig a little deeper and find places or things which you will probably not find on your regular tourist brochure.

Street musicians

There is always the chance you’ll hear a nice ballad being played by a street musician when you are walking down the Latin Quarter or Shop Street.

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The Usual Suspects

 

Lead singer James Gallagher
Lead singer James Gallagher

A musical town per se, Galway is famous for attracting musicians from all over the country because of its cool and creative atmosphere. I met this cool band called “The Usual Suspects” who was playing in the street and funnily enough all of its members came from different regions of Ireland, but none of them from Galway itself. They told me the city is sort of a magnet for the creative and artistic types.

The Pie Maker

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Yummy cappuccino at “The Pie Maker”.

When it comes to places to eat, there are more than enough options in Galway. When walking down Shop Street you will find pretty much any type of food you are looking for. Yet if you are looking for something a bit more special than fish and chips or pizza, I’d recommend you take a walk through the side streets and explore a bit. While doing exactly that I found this amazing place called “The Pie Maker” where they make some delicious (you guessed it) pies!

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Chorizo pie, anyone?

 

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Say hi to the manager! He was super friendly and even agreed to have his picture taken.

The place itself has a super interesting and creative design, and the food tastes home-made. I had a delicious chorizo pie with some mashed potatoes and peas on the side, and afterwards a yummy cappuccino. The staff is super friendly and attentive, so extra points for that as well!

Galway City Museum

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One of the many exhibits at Galway Museum.

It might look small from the outside, but this museum is made up of dozens of interesting and varied exhibitions, all of which are really well designed and cover all subjects related to Galway’s history in an interactive and entertaining way. Definitely worth a visit (perfect for a rainy day, am I right?). Oh and you will learn (and see) what a Galway hooker is! (It’s a boat people; get your mind out of the gutter).

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“Galway & the Great War” exhibition.

Free Walking Tour

I am a big fan of free walking tours, and no, it’s not because of the word “free” (they’re actually not free, you’re supposed to tip the guide for their good job. It’s the decent thing to do). I really like them because the tour guides are always so funny and get you involved in their narrative.

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Our awesome and funny tour guide.

Also, they always have super interesting stories to tell, with info that you wouldn’t find on any regular tourist brochure. In Galway’s tour I learned the origin of the word “lynch” which derives from an event that took place there involving one a powerful family called Lynch and a gruesome murder! As the tour guide was telling this story, a couple of Galway locals stopped by our side to listen and said: “look at that, we’re learning something about our own city!” How is that for authentic!

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Lynch’s Memorial Window, the place where the word “to lynch” originated!

Galway Crafts and Collectables

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A very interesting antiques shop indeed.

This little shop is really one of a kind. I went in there kind of expecting to find Chinese “vintage” merchandise, and left surprised with all the cool (and authentic) antiques they have from all over Ireland! You will find everyday objects that give you an insight into what it was life was like 50 – 100 years ago. I actually felt like I was in a museum, with the added appeal that you could actually buy the objects!

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This old school padlock looks very reliable.
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Books in Gaelic!

McDonagh’s Fish & Chips

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McDonagh’s entrance. Easy to spot.

This seems to be the place in Galway to get fish and chips. It’s very popular among locals, which is always a good sign! I’m actually not a big fish and chips fan, but still went ahead and gave the place a try (because everyone recommended it) and I have to say that it was actually really good! The fish was the right level of crispy and the chips had a nice flavor to them. So, thumbs up from me too.

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Fish and chips galore!

Galway Sleepzone Hostel

This is hands down one of the prettiest, cleanest and most comfortable hostels I have stayed in in my life. Galway Sleepzone has for me all the cool aspects of a hostel (the common areas where you can meet people, the fun atmosphere) but at the same time a level of comfiness that resembles that of a hotel.

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If that lounge area doesn’t scream cosy, I don’t know what does!

The bedrooms are beautiful, new and fit with everything you might need during your stay, and the common areas like the kitchen or the lounge room are the definition of cosy. Add to that a friendly staff and a very good location (5 minutes’ walk from the city center) and you can be sure this is the best hostel in Galway.

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Look at that pretty dorm!

There you go folks! Why not go ahead and explore the City of the Tribes a bit for yourself? If you do, or did, and found some other interesting places, please let us know about it in the comments.

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by Natalie Villalba

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