Regardless of where you’re from, it is safe to say that it’s been a long winter. Spring has brought some joy, but with the idea of summer just around the corner, everyone is ready to get out of the house, the town, the city, and go somewhere. The last year and a half has been one of the hardest times. This summer, you deserve a getaway.
In Ireland, the level 5 COVID-19 restrictions have been in effect since late December of 2020. With the administration of vaccines, and cases in decline, Ireland is opening for inner county travel on June 7th. Therefore, it is time to book some trips!
So, where are you going? Where do you start planning your trip? Well, that’s what we’re here for. No matter where you’re based in Galway County, there is a seaside town with an adventure and stunning views, welcoming you.
Galway city is one of the most cultural places in the world. Filled with art, music, great pubs, wonderful people and good craic all around. Known as the epicenter of Galway County, the city is a great place to experience a true Irish town.
Galway city is esteemed in history and rich in culture. The town is also known as “The City of Tribes” due to Richard II giving 14 families across Galway each a claim to the city. These 14 families can be remembered by the roundabout names in Galway or tribe city flags that fly in Eyre Square.
Speaking of Eyre Square, or more officially known as John F. Kennedy park, this spot is jam packed with history dating back to the medieval times. Through the years, Eyre Square has been a meeting point, a place to lay in the sunshine, or the start of the action that the Galway streets have to hold. To really understand Galway and its history, consider meeting up with a tour guide to get the full Galway history, or grab a sandwich from McCambridge’s and a blanket to have a picnic on the grass. Eyre Square is a great way to start your weekend in Galway.
Something that is not to miss in Galway is the Saturday market. Filled with trinkets, fresh baked goods and produce; it’s also packed with some of the best food trucks Galway county has to offer – it is a must-do. Meander down the side streets of Galway, and follow the aroma of vegetarian curry, the flavors of falafels, and the soft song-bird voice of the “donut man”. The market is a perfect morning activity. Grab a burger, bag of donuts, or freshly made bagels and head down to the Spanish Arch. Watch the Corrib river flow into the bay, hear the seagulls in the distance, and smell the fresh sea air. Quiet and peaceful, in the mornings and lively with patrons in the afternoon, Spanish Arch is one of Galway’s prized possessions.
Galway has so many attractions to offer, you can’t possibly get bored here. However, the best part of Galway may be hidden behind doors – pub doors that is. While we haven’t been given a specific date on when we’ll be allowed inside again, pubs are setting up for outdoor seating which is to come into effect on June 7th. As pubs and restaurants open for outdoor seating, there is nothing but selection in Galway. Galway County is home to around 475 pubs, and a majority of these pubs can be found in Galway city.
Some of the best pubs are Tig Coili’s on Shop Street where in pre-COVID times, you could find traditional Irish music being played. Today, they are serving take-away cocktails and pints, along with some massive hot dogs. Best of all, they have outdoor seating right on the busiest pedestrian street in Galway.
If you prefer a biergarten, the best in our personal opinion is An Púcán. The biergarten is colorful, covered in different plants and provides a warm welcoming atmosphere. It is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. You’re bound to find some good people, good food, and good drinks at An Púcán.
Galway is a bustling city, especially when it is warm. The perfect place to escape for a weekend. Where shopping meets the quiet bay, to the best place for a pint, Galway city has you covered.
Located on the south shores of Galway bay, Kinvara is a beautifully set seaside town with history, a castle, and some of the coolest boats you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Kinvara is great for a day trip, or stay the evening and experience some of the best sunsets, medieval themed feasts, or fresh seafood.
Kinvara is home to the Dunguaire Castle which has been passed through more owners than one could count, but has remained intact and a main attraction for tourists. The coolest part of this castle though, is the summertime dinners. Modeled after a tale of the High King of Connacht’s feast with his warriors, where the food flew from their plates. The castle now hosts nightly dinners with servers dressed in costume. Guests can be transported back in time to feast, and party like the royalty of the past. This is a unique adventure you have to have for the books.
However, there is still lots more to do in Kinvara besides feasts and castles. You can choose to walk along the trails of Kinvara bay, or peruse through the Farmer’s market on Saturday morning. In the evening, visit the ‘The Pier Head’ for fresh seafood including garlic buttered lobsters and loads of oysters. Sit outside with views of the bay and the summer sun beating down.
You can also stop for an outdoor pint at Keogh’s pub, or get it to go and enjoy it on the shores of the bay. Kinvara is a quaint Irish town, but with much to do and see it is a beautiful place to visit for the day in Galway County.
Nestled in Connemara National Park, which is near the north west of Galway County, Clifden is action packed, and a great escape for the summer. Clifden has it all: great hiking spots, beaches, gorgeous scenery, amazing food, and most importantly – fun for everyone.
Clifden has so many things to do, it’s difficult to actually narrow down all the possibilities. From renting bikes, to horseback riding, to the spa, or just relaxing on the beach – there is something for everyone. One of the more unique experiences is going fishing and angling on a guided tour. How about building your own raft at the Delphi Adventure Resort? There’s endless attractions. Plan out a full day of fun whether it’s adventure, sports, or just sunning yourself on the beach.
Whatever the attraction, make sure to also make time for some of Clifden’s beaches, and of course, Sky Road. Best traveled by car, Sky Road takes the driver through a trip of the Connemara mountains, and overlooks the Clifden bay. On a clear day, you can see straight into the deep Atlantic ocean.
Not only does Clifden have unbelievable views, and crazy adventures, but it is also home to great restaurants and pubs. At the end of your busy day viewing Clifden and the surrounding area, there’s plenty of outdoor places in this Galway County favorite to enjoy a few drinks and great food.
Like Kinvara in Galway County, Clifden also has great seafood spots. Try E.J. Kings as their seafood chowder is regarded as the best in Galway, or maybe even the whole of Ireland, depending on who you ask. Not only do they have delicious chowder, but they have an array of seafood specials all reasonably priced and paired perfectly with a local brew.
Seafood isn’t everyone’s favorite, and for that there is the Carriage restaurant. Focused on providing locally sourced food, this restaurant provides an intimate dining experience catered to all the Irish favorites.
Fill your belly and finish the night off with pints at one of Clifden’s many pubs. Most of which sport a biergarten or outdoor seating, grab a drink and chat with locals and tourists about the beauty of Clifden in Galway County.
Clifden is the ideal getaway for anyone. It provides a bit of everything while surrounding you with the idyllic Irish west coast.
Along the sea, on the way to Clifden is the small village of Roundstone. Quiet and calm, it is often missed by tourists. This is a shame because while this town may not be as exciting or adventure-driven as Clifden, this Galway County village is a wonderful spot to spend the day.
What better way to start a day away than with a round of golf? Roundstone is just a short distance from the Connemara Championship Golf Links. Located just before Roundstone in Ballyconneely, this stunning golf course follows the coastline. Equipped with a bar and restaurant, this is the perfect place to experience the beauty of Connemara before heading into Roundstone for lunch.
One of the best spots, and most rewarded restaurants in Roundstone is O’Dowd’s. Known for the views from the restaurant and it’s delicious seafood, O’Dowd’s is a great little place for lunch.
Before you head home, make sure to walk around Roundstone and visit the local businesses. Roundstone village is a hideaway in Galway County that you won’t want to miss out on.
This summer, with the restrictions lifting, think of taking a trip to one of these magnificent Galway towns. Whether it’s for adventure, relaxation, or just an escape from the lockdown, these Galway County towns will give you all you need and more.