Galway is known for it’s year round festivals, lively arts scene, general amazing banter and was even voted world’s friendliest city by US magazine Travel & Leisure! For any of my readers who may not be familiar with Galway, it is a medieval city located on the Atlantic ocean and is the biggest city in the West of Ireland. Despite living in Dublin for the past 10 years, I love nothing more than returning to my home town to soak up the amazing atmosphere whenever I can.
If you like your beer craft, your coffee independent and your food locally sourced with a cosmopolitan vibe then Galway will not disappoint! Read on for my insiders guide to Galway where I’m sharing the inside track on all my favourite places to go in the city.
In recent years, the Galway food scene has really taken off with many critically acclaimed restaurants now operating in the city. Galway has become a real haven for foodies and there are now options to suit all tastes and budgets! Pizza would be my death row meal and they don’t come any better than The Dough Bros. Hands down the best pizza in town and an absolute must visit when in the city. I always get the Proper Ham & Mushroom (some day I will branch out) and if you don’t get a side of their wild garlic dip, then don’t even bother going! Another favourite for a quick informal bite is TGO Falafel Bar, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that started life as a food truck at the Galway market. Their sandwich “The Worx” with their homemade hot sauce is a personal favourite!
For the best fish and chips in town it has to be Hooked, a seafood restaurant based close to the city centre. The monkfish goujons are delicious! “One taste and you’re hooked” as they say themselves and they are not lying! If you are looking for somewhere for casual dining with funky interiors, good tunes and great cocktails then look no further than Biteclub. They do a killer chicken burger and fries and make their own delicious ketchup in-house. Their wings are also pretty special!
If, like me, you love brunch (and lets face it, who doesn’t?) then Dela is a great choice. Located on Dominick Street close to Galway’s west end, Dela serves up brunch staples including a mean eggs Benny and delish pancakes.
Finally, no list of great places to eat in Galway would be complete without mentioning Kai Cafe & Restaurant. Located in Galway’s buzzing west end, Kai uses delicious organic, locally sourced ingredients to create unbelievable food. This restaurant has been steadily picking up awards since it opened and after one visit there you will understand why!
One thing you will not be in Galway is thirsty! Whether you want cocktails or a trad session or anything in between, Galway has you covered. Like in other cities, the craft beer scene has exploded in Galway. Bars like Bierhaus (where you can also have a dee-licious hotdog), The Salthouse and new addition Caribou are personal favourites for a wide selection of craft beers and laid back vibes.
For those rare sunny days in Galway, O’Connell’s and An Pucan have two of the best beer gardens in the city and are the perfect spots to sit with a cold one. Tribeton is a must for the best selection of cocktails in town served in New York loft style surroundings. Located in the west end of the city, The Universal is a great new addition to the area with great cocktails and seriously tasty food.
There is nowhere better in Galway for sitting with a pint and watching the world go by than Tigh Neachtain in the Latin Quarter. If you see a free table outside here then grab it because they are rare. For a trad session, Tigh Coili is the best spot in town.
Festivals & Gigs
Galway could genuinely be renamed the city of festivals! A city that is renowned for it’s musics and arts scene, there are numerous festivals on throughout the year such as the Galway International Arts Festival, the Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Food Festival and the Cuirt International Festival of Literature amongst others. No list of Galway festivals would be complete without including the Galway Races; a week long racing festival where the city basically just becomes one big party. My personal favourite festival of the year and one you should experience at least once.
If gigs are your thing, venues like the Roisin Dubh and Monroes Live host national and international artists in intimate and atmospheric settings. For theatre enthusiasts, Galway is home to theatre companies such as Druid Theatre Company and the national Irish language theatre An Taibhdhearc.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a caffeine addict and self confessed coffee snob with a habit for seeking out the tastiest, most instagram worthy coffee spots. No Saturday afternoon strolling through Galway city is complete without a trip to Coffeewerk + Press on Quay Street. Sip on a perfect flat white while browsing through the selection of local crafts on sale. Another firm favourite is Salthill Social based in Salthill village. They serve Silverskin coffee and also have a full menu covering breakfast, lunch/ brunch and dinner. It is the perfect place to grab a coffee after a walk on the prom!
Make like a local and head to Salthill to walk the famous prom; a scenic beach lined 3km walk along the shores of Galway Bay. Don’t forget to kick the wall! For me, this is a must-do every time I am at home. Nothing like the fresh salty sea air to clear your head! On Saturday’s and Sunday’s be sure to head to the Galway market which is held…wait for it…in Market Street! Spend a while strolling through the market browsing the stalls which sell a mix of food, clothes and crafts all produced locally. Finally, if you are lucky enough to get a hot day in Galway then join the crowds soaking up the atmosphere (and cheeky al fresco drinks) at Spanish Arch 😉
So while there are so many places to go and things to see in Galway, this is just a list of some of my favourite places to spend a weekend in the city. What are your Galway favourites?