A Couple of Days in Galway

DSC04360

I’ve been wanting to go to Galway on the West coast of Ireland for some time. I finally had the opportunity to visit last week when, following a conference in Dublin,  I’d been invited to speak at the University of Galway, and I decided to extend my stay for a couple of days. Not long enough to get out into the countryside of Connemara or the Burren, but plenty of time to have a good look around this relatively small medieval “city”.

DSC04355

 

I stayed in the Park House Hotel, close to the train station and the town centre

DSC04196

DSC04129

The settlement was established following the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland in the 13th Century and grew to become a “walled city” populated by Anglo-Irish. It was very much in “bandit country” surrounded by hostile native Irish. The West coast, far beyond the “Pale” of Dublin, never really developed any industry until relatively recently and so remained something of a backwater for many centuries. From a tourist perspective this has meant that many of the old buildings and features have been preserved.

DSC04198

DSC04213

or older features retained in some “newer” buildings

DSC04200

DSC04201

The “Spanish Arch” is the last remnant of the old city walls and one of the main tourist attractions

DSC04296

Today the local economy relies heavily on the tourist trade so there are plenty of shops (including many independents – not just the major national and international chains)

DSC04240

DSC04268

DSC04142

DSC04215 

DSC04235

DSC04190

a weekend craft and farmer’s market

DSC04241

plenty of places to eat

DSC04365

DSC04258

DSC04311

DSC04259

DSC04304

DSC04269

DSC04279

and LOTS of pubs – it’s a real party town and a magnet for stag and hen trips

DSC04367

DSC04193 

DSC04203

DSC04262

There are a number of old industrial warehouses and mills that have been restored and converted into flats, offices, shops and restaurants

DSC04228

DSC04353

DSC04336

DSC04354

and some Georgian period buildings

DSC04230

DSC04385

DSC04239

DSC04233

DSC04347

a relatively modern neo-Romanesque cathedral

DSC04351

and an interesting old fishing harbour

DSC04153

DSC04315

DSC04155

There’s a lively music scene and in the summer there’s an Arts Festival. And the nearby coastline and countryside is stunning. So it’s certainly a good base for a holiday – providing you are prepared to risk the weather – the West coast of Ireland is notoriously wet with the weather coming in straight off the Atlantic.  I’ll be back!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “A Couple of Days in Galway

  1. Other people have also told me Connemara is a must. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t up to it this time but I definitely intend to return – in my car next time so I can explore at my own pace.

  2. Pingback: Return to Galway | Down by the Dougie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s