“Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day-I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
Of a fine soft day-I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what’s a fella to do
‘Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then I’d be takin’ a whirl
‘Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl”
This is another must-see destination along Wild N Happy’s travel pass destinations. You will surely need a couple of days here because Galway has lots to see and do, regardless of weather.
Perhaps one of Ireland’s most infamous songs, this may be the reason you have heard of Galway. Or perhaps because it is an apex of culture, vistas, and tasty food?
Galway Bay’s crystal clear waters provide the perfect place to experience scuba diving whether you are a beginner or a dive master. There are countless inlets along the rugged coastline with excellent reefs to explore due to the nutrient rich Gulf Stream that flows here. Connemara, the county just North of Galway, has some of the best dive locations including Carraroe, Trá An Doilín, and Killary Harbour, which has an extensive variety of marine life and some very large Conger eels! Scuba Dive West, which actually was the first diving company in Ireland, are extremely professional and well-trained so relax and check out the other side to Ireland’s vast blue waters.
The River Corrib flows through Galway City and has several canals that feed into it. If you are looking for an alternative way to view the city, you can kayak up this river into the source, Lough Corrib. Sea Kayaking on Galway Bay is also a great option for visitors as you can kayak past the stone walls and old fishing boats of Galway docks, explore Rabbit and Hare Island, Oranmore Bay, Mutton Island Lighthouse, all while taking in the fantastic views of the Burren, Galway City and Salthill.
For those of you who would like to kick your feet up, you must immerse yourself in tradition and history by sailing into the past on Ireland’s 120 year old Galway Hooker, ““Bláth na hÓige” meaning Flower of Youth. This boat operates daily out of Galway Harbor and takes you past Salthill, the Burren, and the Galway Coast. This experience was actually voted among the “Top 10 Activities along the Wild Atlantic Way” by National Geographic so check out what the buzz is about.
Galway has a rich history that is ever evident as you stroll around the city, but here are some of the highlights that can be done in a self-guided tour of the city. First stop, the Allied Irish Bank. Really? Yes, really! That is because the bank resides in Lynch’s Castle, which was formerly owned by one of the fourteen tribes which ruled the city centuries ago. The interior is still impressive with stone fireplaces, the coat of arms and an exhibition room which opens Monday to Wednesday and Fridays. Owned by the Lynch family of which many have served as mayor of Galway. You will want to visit this site to learn the history behind the term ‘Lynch Law,’ oh and look out for the monkey!
Your second stop will be at the Spanish Arch. Located on the left bank of the Corrib, the spanish arch was famously built in the 16th century to protect merchant ships from looting. At this time, it was known as Ceann an Bhalla or Head of the Wall. Its current name “Spanish Arch” refers to former merchant trade with Spain, whose galleons often docked here. In 1755, the arches were partially destroyed by the tidal wave generated by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In recent times part of the Arch has been converted into the Galway City Museum. This museum is a worthy third stop because of it’s free and rich in Galway’s archaeology, history, science, and arts.
To round out your walking tour, take a stroll up Shop St. and find your way to Kirwans Lane. A popular medieval laneway, located in what is now called the latin quarter of Galway, it contains many relics from the 16th and 17th century’s architecture. and it is now home to many bohemian styles cafes, restaurants, bars and craft-shops.
The highly recommended Galway Food Tours is the perfect way to gain some insight into the divine food scene in this city. Sheena Dignam, your local artisan food guru, will take you around on a 2-hour tour filled with sushi, oyster, fresh breads, and more! These delights will spark your tastebuds and leave you wanting more. Well, I have good news for you. Sheena offers several tours including food and cycling tours, sweet tooth tours, whiskey tours, and evening tours. You also have the option of getting a picnic basket filled with Galway’s finest that you can enjoy just about anywhere al fresco-style.
Speaking of sweet tooth tours, have you ever heard of healthy chocolate? Well Galway has it. You must check out Hazel Mountain Chocolate, chocolate shop and cacao brew bar, if you get a chance. They are “bean to bar” chocolate makers which essentially means that they source and buy beans from various countries all over the world. When they receive the beans in Ireland, they hand pick the good beans and grind them into what we know as chocolate. Originally crafted in the Burren, this Award Winning chocolate is a must try.
The Slieve Aughty Centre is a very special place about an hour outside of Galway. The centre is 17-acres of environmentally-minded equestrian and activity leisure center where guests have miles of trails for walking, cycling, horse riding, and exploring. The center has lots of delicious, organic food and a wine bar and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the calming atmosphere. ival skill workshops.
Now that your tastebuds are calling out for Galway, make sure you don’t miss this destination while you are on Wild N Happy’s travel pass!