I headed to Galway from Dublin via train. The less than 2.5-hour ride is fun and exciting! I’ve been on a few different types of transportation in a few countries, but this was the best. First, the locals are the warmest and friendliest people, and Ireland is a great destination for first-time solo travelers.
Second, bar carts and buffet cars! I ordered a customary Guinness, which comes in a can. Just as I was trying to pour the contents into a plastic cup, no less than six individuals shouted, “Tilt the cup!” We all had a laugh and cheered.
I checked into a private bed and bath for $51.20 a night wonderfully located near the City Centre. While the stairs to and within the apartment were a bit of a trek, the en-suite almost felt like a separate apartment.
Just down the cobblestone street from my accommodations at a bar restaurant, Monroe’s Tavern, I had the best burger in my life! There was authentic Irish dancing one night, then salsa, and then hip hop. The only option it didn’t offer was the one to sit out, as everyone pulled wallflowers into the festivities.
While the city of Galway has many local attractions such as the Eyre Square, Galway Cathedral, and Spanish Arch, the most spectacular sights are just outside the city, including:
- The Cliffs of Moher, which might look familiar from The Princess Bride as The Cliff of Insanity, present a breathtaking view of the Irish coastline. The trek isn’t too arduous but not for those who have mobility issues or children with short attention spans. Bring hiking shoes and prepare for rain (always assume it will rain in Ireland).
- The Burren National Park. While I didn’t have the opportunity to hike any of the trails, I did get a chance to walk amongst the landscape and limestone while seeing the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb.
Finally, I had to pick up a couple of authentic Irish wool sweaters. An Aran jumper has characteristic knit patterns that are traditional to the western coast of Ireland. While these pullovers and cardigans can cost nearly 100 euros, they also make great, usable souvenirs.
“Where did you get your sweater? ”
“Oh, this. In Galway, sweetheart.”
Galway is a beautiful old city that is tourist-friendly. There are plenty of things to see whether walking around the city or taking a tour.
Note: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries with two different currencies. Northern Ireland is one of the four regions part of the United Kingdom and uses the pound sterling, whereas the Republic of Ireland is an independent country and, as part of the European Union, uses euros.