Hands up, who was only really aware of Galway’s existence after Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Galway Girl’?
Yup me too. Of course, I knew it as a place in Ireland but never really gave visiting it any actual thought until we moved to Ireland. It was never added to our must-visit list despite the fact I would watch Ed’s video, and it was with that last part as they zoomed away from the houses which always caught my eye, not the catchy tune but that panning out from the city which grabbed my curiosity. I woke up one morning and decided that that was the day we were going to go and visit Galway and explore that curiosity I had for the place. We chucked the kids in the car and made it clear to them where we were going by sticking ‘Galway Girl’ on. Forever your typical cheesy tourist is what I’ll be no matter where I am and where I go.
We headed towards a local shopping centre to park up; I always find that kind of place easier to remember where we parked the car when visiting somewhere new. I was like a kid at Christmas as we got out the car, never have I urged my children to get their coats on so quickly before! I was itching to go and explore!
Leaving the shopping centre, we approached Eyre Square where there were a couple of open top tour buses stationed at the North of the Square; they were precisely the thing I was hoping to find. Dylan loves going on open-top buses, and looking at the route; it looked like the perfect way to explore some of Galway without putting too much energy into it. I say that, but you should have seen the way I slid from seat to seat to capture every side of Galway with my own eyes.
It cost us adults €10 each and the children went free and as I currently write this tours are at 11 am, 12.30pm, 2 pm and 3.30pm. The route as advertised took us on a captivating tour of Galway, ancient city of the Tibes, skirting the edge of the Medieval centre and passing many city landmarks on route to the sea at Salthill. Then returning by the coast through Claddagh and the Spanish Arch, bringing us back where we started at Eyre Square.
While googling ahead of our visit what we could do/see that day we saw that the Galway Market was on that day, so once we were off the bus we kind of fell into the market while walking towards the streets. You will find the market open all year round on Saturdays from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm and Sundays, Bank Holidays, Fridays in July and August and every day during the Galway Arts Festival from 12.00 to 8.00.
Coming out of the market we found ourselves wandering through the streets, taking in all we saw along the way, from the brightly coloured shops to the buskers bringing Irish music to our ears. We headed towards the Galway City Museum, where we explored exhibitions with themes of archaeology, history and sea science with a particular focus on Galway. Entry is free and opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00, Sundays: 12:00 – 17:00 (From Easter Sunday to the End of September) and it is closed on Mondays.
I never thought I would fall in love with a city like I did Venice but I did; I fell head over heels as I wandered through this city. Galway captured a piece of my heart, and I’m so happy that it’s just a one hour drive away from us so we can go back and explore anytime. I’m hoping one day soon we can visit minus the children and soak up the atmosphere after the sun sets over the bay.