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

The beautiful Emerald Isle that is Ireland

 
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Galway is a wonderful quaint little harbour city on the west coast of the emerald isle, located on the River Corrib. It positions itself as the cultural centre owing to the number of events and festivals that occurs during the year.


Collegiate Church of St Nicholas
Collegiate Church of St Nicholas
Galway is the fourth largest city in Ireland – after Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and has nearly 80,000 inhabitants.

On a short business trip I picked up my car from the airport and drove around 88 km from Shannon to Galway. It was a wonderful drive along the motorway (N18/N19) with green fields on either side and surprisingly had very little traffic.

The weather here is described as wet and then sometimes it rains and for that reason it is known as one of the wettest places in Ireland. I have to admit the city has a really lovely feel and I would relish the chance to go back. Hopefully when the weather is a little better, although there is no guarantee when that would be.

Ireland carries the same time as the UK as well as driving on the same side (left side and overtaking on the right). As an independent country they adopted the Euro in 2002 so before leaving the airport I had to exchange some currency.

My meeting was schedule to be 2 hours so I decided during my lunch break I would be able to enjoy a bit of the city and just take in the atmosphere before the drive back to the airport.

Main Street is as pedestrianized area of the city where you can find many pubs, bars and restaurants. You also can find street performers with tons of tourists so there is a real buzz there.

Favourite spots:
Just driving along
Just driving along
I simply did not have enough time to explore with any detail, however I did liked the feel of the area and the locals were very friendly and down to earth.

The two places which stood out was Eyre Square, a lovely green expanse and Shop Street, and as the name would suggest there were plenty of shops, bars, restaurants as well as street performers.

Whist walking down Shop Street I came across the Allied Irish Bank which was in a stunning building that was made of limestone in a Gothic style with the inscription Lynch's Castle.

Basically it was the home of a very powerful family who provided the city with many majors. It isn't known when the foundation was laid, but the building dates back to at least 1400s. It is the only secular medieval building still standing in Galway and it links the old to the new with AIB occupying it since the 1930s.

I found the shopping quite nice and picked up a few bargains before heading to the car for the drive back to Shannon Airport.

What's really great:
Irish gothic Lynch castle
Irish gothic Lynch castle
The best thing about Galway is finding a wonderful authentic Irish pub to sit and have a brew. Within the pedestrianised areas there are many pubs with everyone doing the same thing.

And to be fair it is probably the best thing to do in Galway as the weather moist all year around. It is very temperate weather with no real extremes owing to the prevailing winds of the North Atlantic Current. Some believe that Galway gets more rain than other parts of Ireland, but I don't believe this is proven. The weather can change quickly, just like the rest of Ireland.

Sights:
Eyre Square
Eyre Square
I’m not really sure what’s available but there were a couple of things which I enjoyed.

Galway's central public square is Eyre Square. It was busy when I walked through and many sculptures and pathways. The green was called Kennedy Park as it commemorated former US President John F Kennedy's visit to the city back in 1963, but locals always refer to it as Eyre Square.

Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra is the largest medieval parish church still in use in Ireland. The building dates back to the 1320 and was rebuilt over the years but much of the original form has been retained.

The Galway Cathedral sits on the banks of the River Corrib. It is one of Europe’s youngest stone churches which was dedicated in 1965 and has high curved arches and central dome. The dome is simple but very elegant and is definitely worth a visit is traveling through Galway.

Other recommendations:
Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle
Hiring a car to get around Ireland would be the best way to travel, especially as there isn’t an airport in Galway. The closest airports are in Knock and Shannon, so if not hiring a car then getting a bus would be the cheapest way to get to the city.

Having been to Ireland a couple of times, one of my favourite cities is Cork. However it is nearly a 3-hour drive (198km) to Galway; Cork is the 2nd largest city in Ireland and worth a visit. Especially climbing to the top of Shandon Church (officially St. Anne’s Church) where you get great views of the surrounding area and also a chance to ring the church’s bells.

8km from the centre is Blarney Castle. Once climbing to the top you get the chance to kiss the Blarney stone. This is an old Irish folklore that by kissing the stone, it gives you the gift of the gab. Now I know why I get tongue tied as I chose not to do this feat.

Also Dublin, the capital is only 2h 17mins (207.8 km) from Galway via the M6.

Published on Friday June 2th, 2017


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