It all sounds very theatrical but I did return to Galway, and oh my, how it had changed in seven years. On my most recent visit to Ireland, I had been twice before, so the third time was an absolute charm- especially in Galway. I was exploring the west coast of Ireland, traveling up from Killarney to Galway, with several cities in between.
I had scheduled my trip to visit Galway during their Oyster Festival, which I literally missed the first time I came to this city. When I say missed it, I missed it. I was in Galway during the festival, but I did not realize it was happening until my last day in the city. Besides, I do not think the friend that I was traveling with would of enjoyed it, so I vowed to return one day.
That one day was seven years later and I was traveling on my own. I had such an excellent time in Galway. I attended the opening day of the Oyster and Seafood Festival, and I even took a selfie with the mayor!
If the Oyster and Seafood Festival that is held at the end of every September does not interest you, the city of Galway is an exciting city in its own right. This coastal city has a long and fascinating history spanning centuries. There are many things to experience here from exploring its historical past, enjoying its artsy and bohemian vibe, eating and drinking at delicious restaurants, and shopping along the cobbled stone streets.
Spanish Arch & City Walls
Galway had quickly become my favorite city in Ireland along the west coast. I loved the lively atmosphere, the sea air, and the energy of the city. With my fondness for Galway, I have noted several interesting sites to see and things to do, while in the ciy- Enjoy!
The Long Walk
The colorful buildings along The Long Walk were constructed during the 18th century by the descendants of John Eye, a captain of Oliver Cromwell’s Army. It was handed down over generations and the quay is an Architectural Conservation Area. The homes stretch along the river and towards Galway Bay, and are connected to the Spanish Arch old city walls.
Shopping in Galway
Along Shop Street you will find a colorful and vibrant neighborhood with pubs, restaurants and fun shopping. I have purchased great items here, including souvenirs, accessories and a lovely Irish wool blanket that I brought home for my daughter. This is the main area for a fun night on the town, being where the action is and a bit of retail therapy.
The Spanish Arch was built in 1584, and is the last remaining portion of the city’s historical medieval walls. These walls were built to keep invading armies out of the city. Galway had a close trading relationship with Spain and Portugal, and it was once said that “Galway is more Spanish than Irish”, due to the many Spaniards who lived there.
This made a lot of sense to me and an “A-ha” moment when I found out that my DNA was a mixture of French, Spanish, Basque, Irish and a lot of Filipino. I always wondered where the Irish came from!
St. Nicholas Church
In the heart of Galway is St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, which is the largest medieval church in Ireland. It was built in 1320 and dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra, who is the patron saint of seafarers. St. Nicholas was highly regarded since Galway was a port for merchants and trade.
This church has seen centuries of Irish history, as well as having the local legend stating that Christopher Columbus worshiped inside St. Nicholas when he visited the city in 1477.
Oyster and Seafood Festival
The city of Galway is brimming with festivals from art, comedy and food, which includes the Oyster and Seafood Festival. My second visit to Galway was so to arrive on opening day of the Oyster Festival- just because I love oysters, seafood, and a good party.
The festival is annual and on the last weekend of September. There are fresh local seafood vendors, and an oyster shucking contest with contestants from around the world. The festival is truly a great time!
Galway Walking or Running
I love to take long walks, and do it all the time when I travel. Galway has great places to pick up the pace and get the heart moving My favorite walk while I was in Galway was from Nimmo Pier, and down to Grattan Beach. I had taken that route several times, since Periwinkle Bed & Breakfast was a couple blocks from Grattan Beach.
The walk through South Park and on to the pier that leads you to Mutton Island is marvelous, as it runs right along the shoreline. One way distance from the Spanish Arch, through South Park, Mutton Island pier, and to Grattan Beach is only 4km (2.5 miles).
The Food Scene
The culinary scene in Galway is excellent; the seafood, the wine, the gin and whiskey, the pubs, and restaurants. The city offers a great variety of cuisines from Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, Asian, and of course Irish.
I love exploring restaurants in Ireland, especially anything with fresh seafood, and local produce. Considering Galway is along the coast, many of the restaurants offer fresh catch fish and seafood.
Ireland Food Blogs
The Food Markets
Since I consider myself a food enthusiast or gastronome, I have always enjoyed food markets. Local shops or farmers markets where I can find fresh produce, artisanal cheese, charcuterie, and gourmet products are always a big hit.
Since Galway is a thriving seaport town with plenty of high-quality food, you will find weekend farmers markets and specialty stores in town selling just that. Sheridan’s Cheese Mongers is Galway’s’ shop for cheeses and top quality artisanal products. It is a fine place to try local and imported cheeses, as well as purchasing wine to go with your cheese.
Galway will always have a piece of my heart. I hope your visit to this vibrant city will bring you the same happiness it has brought me during my visits. ❤ I love Galway and will always, always return.
Wherever you go, Go with all your heart…– Confucius
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