When it comes to planning a weekend away with your other half in Ireland, look no further than Galway. As Ireland’s second biggest county, it is easily accessible by car, train or bus and also boasts a host of activities to suit every type of couple. Whether you are after romance, good food, music, art, relaxation or a spot of shopping, Galway has you covered.
Where to eat in Galway:
No two trips to Kai are alike, thanks to its ever-changing menu that always has something to please everyone. It’s a very popular spot among locals and visitors alike so don’t get turned off if you see a queue. They move quickly and rest assured, it will be worth every minute when you’re tucking into one of the best brunches in town.
If you want to taste fresh west of Ireland food at its finest, Dela is for you. The restaurant has its own farm just outside the city in Moycullen where lots of the produce used in the restaurant comes from. If craft beer is your drink of choice, Dela also offers a wide variety of Irish craft beers.
Galway’s Spanish Arch is famous for many reasons and one of those is Ard Bia at Nimmos. The restaurant is regarded as one of the best in the country, not just Galway. From the breakfast meats to the seafood chowder or goats cheese salad, all of the produce used in the restaurant is sourced as locally as possible and the owners have even included the supplier’s details and a little blurb about each one on the backs of their menus. To top it all off, you can take a refreshing stroll around the waters of Lough Corrib and the Claddagh Basin.
Awarded a Michelin Star from 2013-2019, Aniar is the perfect place to go for a special dinner while you are in Galway. In keeping with a lot of the local restaurants, the ethos at Aniar is to celebrate homegrown fresh and local produce. The menu is adjusted to suit each season and with a full tasting menu on offer all-year-round, there is something to suit everyone’s taste buds.
Aniar Restaurant is currently closed due to Covid-19 but their Boutique Cookery School is still open.
Where to drink in Galway:
If gin is your drink of choice, you will have to visit Ireland’s largest gin bar to sample some of the 500 different gins they have on offer. Located in the city centre, this is the perfect place to kick off an evening in style.
Galway is a fantastic city for people watching and there is no better place to sit back and take it all in than Tigh Neachtain. Located at the corner of two of Galway’s busiest streets, it can feel like the world is going by while you enjoy a drink outside. Alternatively, if the weather isn’t good, there is an abundance of cosy seating and snugs inside that will make you feel like you’ve landed in Connemara instead of Cross Street.
Serving food and drink for over 400 years, The Quays is one of the city’s most historic establishments. Inside, visitors can see stain glass windows, a full-size church organ and even a fully restored railway footbridge. You will find traditional music in The Quays most nights, alongside some of the best Guinness in the city.
If music is what you are after, the Roisin Dubh is where you need to be. This bar and venue has played host to some of Ireland and the world’s biggest acts over the years and still maintains a jam packed schedule of events throughout the year.
What to do in Galway:
Walk the prom
Taking an evening stroll along the promenade in Salthill is the perfect way to end any evening in Galway at any time of the year. Watch the sun go down over the northern shore of Galway Bay, stopping at the iconic Blackrock diving tower to breathe in some of the fresh Atlantic air and copy the locals by kicking the wall to signal reaching the end of the prom.
Coole Park is a nature reserve of approximately 1,000 acres just a few miles outside Galway city with walks, picnic areas and a cafe onsite. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because this is the park that inspired W.B. Yeats to pen his poem, “The Wild Swans at Coole”. The estate itself was once home to Lady Augusta Gregory, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre and a key player in Ireland’s literary revival.
Over the years, meetings here were frequented by the likes of George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O’Casey and more. If you take a wander through the grounds today, you can still see the famous Autograph Tree where these great literary figures etched their initials.
Early risers will love this market on Church Lane, just off the main thoroughfare of Shop Street in the city centre. The weekend market has everything from delicious food and drink to handmade crafts and gifts. It has been taking place in the city for centuries and all the local traders have a story to tell.
If you fancy escaping the city for a few hours, grab a bus in Eyre Square or drive out to the the port at Rossaveel and catch the Aran Island Ferry (pre-booking advised) to Inis Mór, the largest of Galway Bay’s Aran Islands.
Here you can rent bicycles and spend your day exploring the island’s beautiful scenery and historical sites before heading back to the city for the night. The ferry operates on different schedules at different times of the year so make sure to check ahead and reserve your tickets in advance of traveling.
Looking for more things to do in Galway? Use our Clayton Hotel Galway Online Concierge for tips and recommendations on what to see in Galway. Trust us, we’re locals!