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Galway is definitely one of Ireland’s often overlooked gems. Visitors to the country normally head over to Dublin, but I wanted to find out just why songs like ‘Galway Bay’ and ‘Galway Girl’ talk so fondly about a small harbour city on the west coast of Ireland.

 I stayed over at the Travelodge Galway Hotel, about a mile from central Eyre Square, getting in on Friday evening, ready to begin exploring the city.

From the start, I knew that Galway was heavily connected to Ireland’s traditional culture (the city has more speakers of the Irish language than practically anywhere else!), and I wanted to get a glimpse of the past, so I started off Saturday with a look around Galway’s museums, and the famous Spanish Arch (definitely not the most exciting attraction imaginable, but interesting enough as part of a tour). 

I took a bus out to Salthill to spend a bit of time relaxing by the beach (Galway’s right by the sea but the closest beach is about a mile from the city itself). Definitely not one for surfing enthusiasts, Salthill has a couple of different beaches, all with pretty shallow and calm water. 

Heading back to the city, I ended up eating at the Quay Street Kitchen, trying out a bit of the local seafood brought in through Galway Bay. I’d definitely recommend the mussels if you’re visiting, but there’s definitely enough choice to suit anyone. Like the name says, the Kitchen’s right in the middle of Galway’s Quay Street, a real must visit when you’re in the city. 

If you haven’t heard of it, Quay Street is all about traditional atmosphere. Pubs and restaurants down the road play live folk music in the evening, making for a really warm and welcoming experience as guitars, harps, pipes and fiddles all come together for some great tunes. No matter where you head on the street, you’ll hear music, so just find a pub that takes your fancy and spend a couple of great hours finding out more about Irish culture. Quay Street was a bit of a distance from my room over at the Travelodge Hotel, but there’s enough buses around Galway to get around without much of a problem. 

On Sunday, I decided to take some time to explore a little further out from Galway itself. I booked an 11:30 Cliffs of Moher day tour with the Galway Tour Company, wanting to see one of Ireland’s most iconic attractions for myself. The tour started off with a trip to Doolin, a nice little village on the coast. Arriving at the Cliffs of Moher around 2, I was amazed by the incredible sights of the cliffs, spending a couple of hours just looking around. 

The tour gave me more than enough time to explore the cliffs and relax a little before heading back to Galway. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re visiting Galway at any point. Galway’s a pretty beautiful city, and there’s plenty to see around the place. I didn’t get a chance to check out Galway Bay (maybe next time?) but I’d definitely recommend Galway to anyone planning a day out in Ireland.


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Exploring Irish culture in Galway city
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