When traveling on a budget, or a short time-frame, it can be difficult to narrow down what you can fit into your limitations. In an attempt to see as much of Ireland as we could, we split our time between several cities, giving us only 4 days in Galway.
Places to eat:
The Pie Maker – Located at 10 Cross Street Upper, Galway, H91 C932, Ireland this cozy pie shop has the best meat pies I have ever had. Seriously, you will not be disappointed!
The Skeff – Located in Eyre Square, Galway. Their sandwiches pair nicely with a pint of anything they have on tap. Open late, the staff were friendly & helpful with places to check out in the area.
The King’s Head – Located at 15 High St, Galway, Ireland. The building dates back over 800 years, with links to the Mayor of Galway, Thomas Lynch Fitz-Ambrose in 1654. The historical ambiance is welcoming and the food was great.
McDonagh’s – Located at 22 Quay Street, Galway, Ireland. This fish shop has been around since 1902 and has been a local staple since opening. They have a Fish n Chips Bar as well as a full seafood restaurant. The prices are affordable, the atmosphere is welcoming and lively and the fish n chips were some of the best I’ve ever had.
Finnegan’s – Located at 2 Market St, Galway, Ireland. It is located in the oldest medieval building in Galway! The service is quick and friendly and the food was delicious! The Bangers and Mash here were perfect on a cool night in November!
Things to do:
Lally Tours offers several guided tours to various destinations in Ireland. With limited time, we chose their Land & Water Tour. Day one takes you to Dunguaire Castle (Kinvara), Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Exhibition, Cliffs of Moher, the village of Doolin and through the Burren. Day two you hop on a ferry to Inis Mór, the largest island in the Aran Islands.
Some things to do on Inis Mór:
- Aran Islands Bike Hire – Hire a bike and take the ride around the island to see as much as you can, taking in the more solitary adventure. (This is not an “easy” ride as there are hills and winding roads… but with many stops to take photos, eat a snack etc, you will be rewarded with some amazing views.)
- Dún Aonghasa – the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. The fort consists of three massive dry-stone walls and a chevaux-de-frise, a dense band of jagged, upright stones, surrounding the fort from cliff to cliff, designed to impede attackers. Originally constructed c.1100BC, it was re-fortified around 700-800 AD. Excavations revealed significant evidence of prehistoric metalworking, as well as several houses and burials. (Heritage Ireland) **Film buffs might recognize the cliffs as the “Cliffs of Despair” from “The Princess Bride”**
Things to do in Galway:
- Lynch’s Castle – Originally dating to the 14th century, now a bank, it sits on Shop Street. Tragically, in 1493, James Lynch hanged his own son for murder.
- St. Nicholas Collegiate Church – The true age of this beautiful church is not certain, however it is known to date to at least 1320. Named for the patron Saint of children (Santa Claus) and mariners (Galway is a port city.), the most famous visitor would likely be Christopher Columbus, who prayed there in 1477 (St. Nicholas Church Site).
- Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop – New and second-hand books for sale in a cozy shop that has been here for over 25 years!
- Shop Street – Go shopping, take a stroll, listen to street musicians and watch dancers!
- Quay Street – Full of pubs and music!
It is easy to fit all of this into 4 days without feeling over scheduled. We arrived and did some walking around, followed by dinner at The Pie Maker. The next day, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher on the first day of our Lally Tour and returned that evening around 6pm for Dinner at The Skeff. The next day was all day at Inis Mor, returning that evening and grabbing dinner at Finnegan’s. Our final day was shopping on Shop Street and Quay Street with an early lunch at McDonaugh’s and an early dinner & pints at The King’s Head. (We caught a crack of dawn train back to Dublin the next day.)
Galway is a beautiful and friendly city where you will be overwhelmed by the quaintness and enriched by the history! There are so many things to see in Galway and in the surrounding area, we could have spent two weeks there!
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee