Ireland,  Travelog

Weekends on the move: girls weekend in Galway

On the third weekend in April, my friends and I had a planned trip to the northwestern capital of Ireland, Galway. We stayed overnight and I had one of my cameras with me and I would love to share my experiences with you.

pic took by my friend D.

I’ve been to Galway before, some ten years ago, but we just stopped there for a while and during bad weather and drove on again. This weekend was the first time I got around the city and saw Salthill, which is a very popular part of Galway overlooking the ocean and the Burren National Park in County Clare.

The main reason for visiting Galway was a concert, but this time it wasn’t my idea. A friend wanted to go to a concert by the band Postmodern Jukebox and Dublin didn’t suit us because it was during the week, so we decided it was time to have a ladies weekend.

Btw, I’ll write an extra article about Postmodern Jukebox, but I definitely recommend checking them out – they remake well-known songs in sound from the 20s, for example, and it’s really cool.

Us in the car and my friends on the train before Galway hihi

While two friends took the train from Dublin to Galway (and we bumped into them before Galway itself because the train stopped for a while and the tracks ran right next to the entrance to the city haha), me and another friend went by car. Listen, Ireland is great, but as I have already mentioned several times – public transport is not so great. It takes 6+ hours and several transfers to get from Waterford to Galway which is just insane. Fortunately, a friend has a car and decided to risk it (she doesn’t normally drive that far). The trip took us about four hours, even with breaks, and since the weather smiled on Ireland that weekend, we also enjoyed beautiful nature and views (in random villages and random cows and sheep and horses).

As for Galway – it’s the fourth largest city in the Republic of Ireland (Waterford is fifth ha ha ha) and one of the most visited places in Ireland (in terms of tourists). It is located on the west coast of Ireland just across from Dublin. The difference between these cities is, among other things, that while both are right next to the sea/ocean, those in Dublin don’t enjoy it much because of the city itself (they have to travel to Howth or Bray to get to the sea because there is a private harbor in the center of Dublin). In Galway, they did it smarter and basically the whole of Salthill is right on the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean and not only can you walk along the coast, but of course the locals come here to swim.

We all arrived in Galway on Saturday after two in the afternoon and met in the car park (coincidentally, the car park my friend chose was around the corner from the train station). We went to see the city and mainly had a restaurant booked for lunch. We chose the Italian Woozza and liked it so much that we went back the next day hihi I can definitely recommend it – my pineapple pizza was divine! The service there is also very nice, all the waitresses were very nice and so was the restaurant manager (he gave us a free dessert on Sunday).

After lunch we decided it was time for ice cream and the rest of the city. Galway city center is the so-called Latin Quarter and it’s the reason why people love Galway city centre. The name is derived from the maritime history that part of the city shares with the Latin world. But as you can see for yourself in the photos – visually everything is very Irish.

We traditionally had ice cream at Gino’s, which is an Irish chain of ice cream parlors. But the one in Galway is funnily small. And they didn’t have my favorite pomegranate flavored sorbet 🙁 If you’re ever in Galway and want ice cream, head a little further towards the Latin Quarter and try Murphy’s. They have some great Irish flavors!

After the ice cream, it was time to buy post-concert snacks and go to our B&B. It was located in Salthill, about 15 minutes by car. Funnily enough, the GPS guided us through the city instead of around the coast, and we found out that Salthill is a very wealthy part of Galway. I have never seen such big houses in my life, and certainly not so magnificent. That simply doesn’t exist in Ireland (well, apart from Salthill in Galway apparently)?

Our Bed and Breakfast was called Claremount House (not to be confused with the Claremont B&B which is just down the road; ours was just opposite the caravan park) and it had a stunning view of the bay. Of course, I went to take pictures of the view while my friends settled in. In the evening we had the aforementioned concert at a place called Leisureland. That’s the building where they have a pool and a water slide and a room for concerts. Next to that building are fairground attractions and all of this is about 20 minutes from our B&B and right across from the oceanfront promenade. Salthill itself is really probably the best part of Galway to stay in – you have great views, you can walk around the ocean, there’s an amusement park and a regular park, lots of shops, cafes and an aquarium (which I’ve been to approx. 10 years ago and they had Czech carp there!).

So we walked to Leisureland and enjoyed the beautiful views on the promenade, as did many other people. What was great about Leisureland was the fact that they didn’t search us, so I didn’t have to explain my camera and most importantly, my friend had standing tickets for us, but the whole venue is for sitting. We were all immediately relieved haha The concert was very nice and lasted about two hours, which was very nice. In addition to the experiences from the concert, I also brought home clogged ears because the music was louder than I thought. The funny thing is, I had earplugs with me, but I forgot about them. So take me as an example and wear earplugs to concerts. I then had to be completely silent for several days before my ears settled down, and believe me, you don’t want that when Taylor is dropping a two-hour new album.

So we ended Saturday successfully with the Postmodern Jukebox concert and a walk back to the accommodation under the starry sky.

On Sunday morning we had a very pleasant surprise – the first thing was breakfast. The day before we ordered pancakes (in Ireland they are usually just those small ass pancakes and not the super Czech pancakes) and my friend ordered a nice egg, spinach and salmon. But the pancakes were not those Irish small ones after all, but smaller versions of Czech pancakes. We also had maple syrup, lots of fruit, homemade bread and sweet pastries. It was simply wonderful.

The second surprise was again the view. It was about 9:30 in the morning and a mist had settled in around the Burren coast. The sun was already high enough and the whole thing looked like paradise:

With a view like that, the breakfast couldn’t be better! Of course, we decided that we had to go for a walk. Fortunately, right next to the caravan park was a path that led around the ocean to a promenade. Well, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Then all that was left was to pack, go to the city for one last tour and buy magnets (otherwise my mom wouldn’t let me in), lunch and a donut from Dungeons and Donuts (yes, they sell board games and donuts and it’s totally brilliant).

As you already know, we had lunch again at Woozza. We walked around the city looking for another place, we even “parked” in an Asian bistro, but there only an employee walked past us and nobody noticed us for about 10 minutes. So we decided that a farewell pizza would be the best way to end a successful trip. I definitely recommend Woozza. Their pizza is excellent, the girls also liked the calzone. The boss gave us a strawberry cheesecake for dessert and it was also very nice.

I also recommend our Bed and Breakfast. The lady of the house, Anna, was very nice and when we were leaving, she insisted that we let her know so she can say goodbye. As for the rooms – ours had a view of the mini garden and the local gas station right next door (but it is closed at night and you can literally hear the birds singing). The bed was quite nice, but now I have problems with my back and spine, so nothing really suits me. But my friend slept quite well. Our room was smaller, there was nowhere else to sit apart from the bed, but since you wouldn’t be there during the day anyway, you wouldn’t care. The bathroom was quite spacious and clean/bright. I struggled with the shower because I’ve never seen such a switch, but a friend figured it out eventually (thanks, J.!). Upon arrival, we each had a Kinder chocolate bar on the bed as a welcome, and on Saturday evening after the concert, the lady of the house left us a bottle of water each in front of the door. The friends had a room with a view of the bay. From what we saw, the room looked a little bigger, but also very nice.

But not to “sell you a rabbit in a bag” – three things that surprised me in Galway – the size of Gino’s, the look of the train station and the sheer number of people. As I already mentioned, Gino’s is an Irish chain of ice cream parlors. I know the one in Waterford and the one in Dublin, and both are quite large and, above all, you have somewhere to sit. That doesn’t happen in Galway and it’s strange because it’s a really popular city.

The train station is being remodeled and again, you have nowhere to sit because there are not many seats and the station is open from several parts. We were lucky that it was nice, otherwise one would have frozen to death. Look, the station in Waterford is tiny (we only have one line to Dublin), but there are plenty of places to sit and when it’s nasty outside, you have somewhere to hide without freezing to death.

Sunday was fine, but Saturday was crazy. And I’m quite sure that a lot of those people were locals and not so many tourists, but the amount. It was probably worse than at Grafton street in Dublin and lowkey I’m surprised no one robbed us.

Even so, I RECOMMEND Galway! I’m really looking forward to going there again sometime because I haven’t seen everything and I definitely want to ride the Ferris wheel in Salthill. So be sure to add Galway to your Irish itinerary for me.

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