Galway was my first stop during my visit to Ireland. While it is smaller than Dublin (which I did not visit), I really enjoyed it and loved spending St. Patrick’s Day there with some great friends.
As I planned my trip, I received some guidance from my friend Liam (a pretty darn good photographer there if you ever need one!) and it was really helpful. He suggested or confirmed some places to see and even helped me narrow my focus down so I wouldn’t be traveling so much. I’m very grateful for his help, his generosity in driving me around one day, and his invitation to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with him, his lovely fiance, and his friends.
So, let’s get going with this. I flew in to Shannon after my long layover in London, rented a car (I used VIP Cars as I found the best rates there), and proceeded to drive on the wrong side of the road (I don’t care what they say, it IS the wrong side!) I used my trusty TomTom GPS (so “very 1990s” according to a friend) and it got me right to my hotel in Galway – the Western Hotel. The hotel is centrally located and has a really good restaurant and I actually ate most of my dinners there.
I spent most of my time in Galway walking around and exploring the town – as I usually do. I found it to be quite lovely (do I sound local) with a lively street scene. There are many pubs and restaurants in the old town area and Merchants Rd.
As you continue down this street, you reach The Long Walk – which is beautiful when viewed from across the river.
The St. Patrick’s Day festivities were everything I expected and more and less. The day started off with a parade through town with many floats, social organizations, and sports teams – overall a very family friendly event.
After that, the streets started to fill with adults celebrating. I was expecting it to be wild and crazy as it can be in the U.S., but it wasn’t THAT crazy. It was more like a tame Bourbon Street – which was just fine with me. I wound up spending the late afternoon and evening with my friends going to several pubs and had a great time. I am sure Dublin celebrations are much larger and possibly crazier, but for me, Galway was just right.
I will be back at some point to enjoy more of Ireland – five days is just not enough. I’ll write more in upcoming articles about other places I visited, but Galway was a great launch pad for my short stay in Ireland.