I was lucky to be treated to a weekend in Galway city with a group of close friends. Ashamedly it was my first time in the city centre let alone the county itself but it was a great trip full of amazing company, food and plenty of drink. We arrived on saturday afternoon and spent the rest of a grey day taking a walk along the river which by chance led us to the great green dome of Galway cathedral. Unfortunately, when we arrived the church was closing but we managed to convince the few care-takers to let us in to take a peek. It doesn’t look that much from the outside but inside, huge stone arches tower over you and the ceiling opens out and upwards into a huge dome where darkness is broken by spectacular stain glass windows. It reminded me of Notre Dame but unlike the Parisian landmark the Cathedral isn’t full of flashing cameras and noisy tourists. We were lucky enough to steal a glimpse inside when the enormous space was emptied and the main lights which hang from mock candle chandeliers were off – leaving Galway cathedral lit only with candles. It was a pity photography wasn’t allowed as I would have shared the snaps here if I were able but it is definitely worth a visit. A modest exterior hides real beauty inside.
As I mentioned before, the afternoon was spent lazily strolling along the river and the quays that encircle the city. We grew peckish after building up an appetite and decided on a small diner near the Latin quarter, the oldest part of the city. Fat freddies is a quirky diner along quay street and is surprisingly un-touristic despite its busy location. As two of my friends are vegan, restaurants tend to be a bit of a struggle but Fat Freddies served great vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as awesome burgers for us carnivores! My friends opted for large pizzas and gorgeous quesadillas which came served with lovely side salads. I ordered the Cajan chicken burger accompanied with sweet potato fries – it was mouth-wateringly good and is a spot I’d definitely return too on my next visit.
The menu ensures everyone is happy and the diner itself has a nice casual vibe away from the hustle and bustle of the main street outside. The place has vintage memorabilia dotted across the walls and the bottled light shades are pretty cool.
Real comfort food & great value too.
Address: The Halls, Quay St, Galway.
We spent the rest of the night on an eventful pub crawl. Galway has so many pubs packed within the maze of lanes and alleys, one night is far from enough to truly experience the night life and trad gigs the city has to offer. Our first stop was a pub called Sally Longs – its artwork is what attracted us inside in the first place as the entire building stands in homage to the world’s music legends. Inside the place is spacious with plenty of tables and chairs. The style and atmosphere is old school rock and the place has a good mix of locals and visitors – Guinness was good. I approved & there were plenty of local and craft beers on offer too.
Galway’s Rock Bar
Address: 33 Abbeygate Street Upper, Galway
The next stop was the Skeff pub which is a huge hotel bar just across from Galway square at the docks. Inside the place is amazing, similar to O’Neils of Dublin – the pub is a vast space of ornate mahogany with different levels and stairs leading to a number of bars and nooks to take a seat in. The place is impressive and has to be my favourite spot for aesthetics which we discovered in Galway. On its main level, with disco lights and a make-shift dance floor. The place is a good spot to get down to old school tunes over the weekend.
Address: 27 Eyre Square, Galway
After a few pints at the Skeff we went along Quay street once more and located the King’s Head – a pub I was told was a must-see in Galway. I heard too that the place did great food but we were here for one thing and one thing only … From Guinness I swiftly moved on to whiskey and although the place was extremely crowded (This is a saturday night) we managed to grab some stools in some far corner just off from the main stage where a band was playing a mix-match of modern and 80s tunes. We stayed for a drink or two but pulled ourselves away to seek another bar. We then entered the famous Quays bar & I couldn’t get over how big it was. The outside is deceiving and I braced myself for even worse crowds which I thought would be crammed inside a small traditional pub. The Quays is huge and as you make your way upstairs and through seated corridors, the hub of the bar opens out into a pub nightclub surrounded by ornate saintly figures and dark wood – the place was great but is popular mostly with tourists and eager stags and hens. It’s a pity I didn’t take many pictures but in all honesty the thought of taking pictures in such a crowded place, juggling my phone and drink seemed a bit daft – it’s worth visiting and you can’t miss it. It’s hard to imagine the place ever empty.
The next spot was Taaffes bar which was exactly the type of bar I expected the Famous Quays bar to be. Taaffes is a traditional Irish pub. No frills, little room but plenty of atmosphere, live music & drink. We drank standing -shuffling between people coming and going through the bar and chatted away whilst a band played the faves from the Dubliners to trad-folk songs.
Address: 19 Shop St, Galway
I’m surprised my blurry mess of a memory can remember as much, I have to confess I have forgotten a few bars along the way but these spots stuck with me and were a great visit – If you haven’t been to Glaway – do. You won’t regret it!