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ragnvaeig Galway - A travel report by Amanda
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Galway,  Ireland - flag Ireland -  Galway
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ragnvaeig's travel reports

Galway for the unpretentious goth

  13 votes
Situated on the edge of the Irish-speaking region of Ireland, the Gaeltacht, this bohemian city is perfect for a weekend getaway. Definitely the gateway to Ireland West!

Galway has a vibrant, young feel to its downtown, and there are plenty of suitable bits and bobs to be had in Shop Street. Galway city centre is rather small, but the suburbs have been expanding due to the growth of the city over the past couple decades, especially into the Gaeltacht. The west coast iof Ireland is definitely much wetter than the east, so bring your umbrella and a good pair of wellies!

Favourite spots:
The various waterways associated with the Corrib River are quite nice for a walk. Both the Corrib and the Eglinton Canal run near the Cathedral, and the Salmon Trap and Salmon Weir Bridge are interesting to see. If you're a fisherman, expect good catches but very, very strong currents, especially after heavy rain. If you're around on a Saturday, definitely catch the Market between Shop Street and Market Street. You'll find everything from artisan jewelry and ironworking to great chocolates, sushi and organic produce. The Claddagh area of town has given its name to the famous Claddagh Ring. The shops are everywhere. The beaches between Knocknacarra and Barna, especially the Silver Strand, are great places to find seashells and shellfish at low tide. Just be warned that the water is entirely too cold for swimming without a wetsuit!

What's really great:
If you haven't any Irish, and you plan to drive north from Galway into Connemara and the Gaeltacht, bring your guidebook. The country is beautifully rocky and bleak, but the road signs are posted only in Irish and most places remain fiercely Irish-speaking, so navigation can be a problem--but it's worth it. The town of Spiddle (An Spidéal on the signs) and the Coral Beach are nice destinations for the afternoon. Also, keep your eyes open for thatched cottages, which are becoming more rare due to homeowner's insurance practices.

St. Nicholas Church on the laneway between Shop and Market Streets is a small church founded in 1320 and subsequently visited by Cromwell. The crypts are nice, as is the peace chapel.

The Sleepzone Tourist Hostel on Bothar na mBan is very close to the bus and train stations, and is very modern. They have a cybercafe and wifi hotspots for the perpetually-connected. They are also quite German-friendly, and are recommended by the Irish Tourist Board. You can book online at

Fibber Magee's has the goth music, but check out Roisin Dubh, the best music venue in Galway. Check for their gigs at

The Skeffington Arms (the Skeff) on Eyre Square has an amazing cocktail menu, friendly staff and 6 separate bars. The atmosphere is well-decorated but relaxed, with plenty of space.

McSwiggan's on Eyre Street, Woodquay, is another large bar/restaurant with plenty of nooks and snugs for conversation, but the staff aren't so nice. Food is good, though.

The Crane on Sea Road is definitely the best place to head good traditional music in town on a Sunday evening. Show up early (20:00 or 20:30) for the best seats.

Ard Bia on Quay Street is a nice cafe with a great selection of teas, things to drink and healthful dishes, at reasonable prices. Try their salads.

Donnelly's in Barna is a must-visit if you like seafood and can afford €20 for a meal. The poached fish is the best I've had in ages, and the duckling is also quite good.

Other recommendations:
Kenny's Bookshop on High Street is a great second-hand bookshop. Bring a few quid in your hot little fist, and you'll be very glad of their selection.

Twice as Nice on Quay Street has vintage clothing and lace--plenty of pretty goth things!

Bell, Book & Candle around the corner from the Crane is a gaming/hobby store with definite character and nifty murals.

The Cornstore has a bunch of alternative-y shops, including a fair trade shop.

Published on Monday November 29th, 2004

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Mon, Mar 20 2006 - 11:54 AM rating by terje

I would have given 5* is there was photos attached to this report. Wonderful to see reports specially written for goths.

Mon, Nov 29 2004 - 07:22 PM rating by horourke

Thank you for doing Galway proud on the web.
Denise and I have spent at least twelve annual holidays there and all our children love it now.
St. Nicholas Church is reputed to have even had a visit from Columbus. It was thoughtful of you to include it . We used to meet the sexton a very helpful lady there
Thank again.

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