Galway has a music and entertainment scene to rival Dublin and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of great pubs offering traditional Irish music and hospitality.
I started my exploration of the city with lunch at 1520 in Quay Street, then moved to Monroe’s before ending the evening in The Crane Bar, recommended to me by a wizened but wise music-loving local.
Don’t be put off by the somewhat daggy looking exterior. This is described as Galway’s best known pub for traditional Irish music and inside it is snug and cosy, with lots of old pictures on the walls and plenty of friendly locals spinning yarns along with the tunes.
For those who prefer more salubrious surroundings, Galway also has a wide selection of top restaurants, including West Restaurant and Kirby’s. I sashayed along to popular local eatery McSwiggans and dined on chicken cooked in the house blend of spices and served with peanuts and savoury rice. Yum!
As for tourist attractions, Galway has a smattering of historical bits and bobs, including Lynch’s Castle, which once belonged to the city’s most powerful family but which now houses a bank. St. Nicholas’s Collegiate Church is one of the oldest parish churches in Ireland and there’s a Spanish Arch which is all that remains of a 16th century bastion.
But to be honest, Galway is more about the craic than the culture and I strongly suggest you reserve at least a couple of days to explore all this fascinating and absorbing city has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY ... It seems to be the bane of my travelling life that I occasionally get to stay at majestic country hotels with equally impressive golf courses attached...and never have the time to play them!
The five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel is one such establishment, but offering much more than just the adjacent nine-hole course. Some three kilometres out of the city centre (a taxi will cost about €12 (approx $19), the hotel has been welcoming guests since 1740...and what a welcome it is.
My room had a great view over the golf course, Lough Corrib and the Pullman Restaurant, which comprises railway carriages used in the original Murder on the Orient Express movie. The bed was super comfy, the pillows splendid and complimentary Wi-Fi access very welcome.
I also liked all the bars and nooks dotted around the place and who doesn’t love a hotel with its own cinema! Being set on 55 hectares, Glenlo also offers plenty of country pursuits, including cycling, fishing and even falconry.
If you want to visit Galway and enjoy a touch of luxury, check out the Glenlo...just remember to bring your clubs.