4 Days in Galway
We arrived in Galway by train from Dublin. Fortunately our hotel was only a few blocks from the train station and right downtown Galway. The location couldn't have been better as we didn't have a car at this point in out trip. Had a large room overlooking Eyre square so it was also great for people watching. It was fairly late in the day so we went out for a walk but were overtaken by the rain. We ducked into the Meyrich Hotel where tea and scones are served in the lobby. Decided to indulge and sat next to the fire as we sampled the tea and scones. Hotel lobbies are great because people tend to chat as they wait and this was no exception.
Afterwards walked down to the Spanish Arch which is at the end of the pedestrian walkway. It dead ends at the Marina. Showers were on and off so we ducked into a pub that was promising Trad (Traditional Irish Music) at 5:30 p.m. We were lucky that a couple was just leaving so we grabbed their table. Ordered beers and chatted with another table of people as the musicians started to wander in.
We were sitting in between one of the guitarists and one of the vocalists. There were three fiddlers, two bodrahn players, a concertina, a couple of guitars, and two singers. It was great. They didn't play very much that I had heard before but the locals seemed to recognize many of the tunes. Everyone was so relaxed it was quite wonderful.
Finished up the day at Vincentes, an Italian Restaurant, and had a great dinner of pasta in wine and cream sauce with prawns and salmon. Ron had risotto with mussels and prawns.
Today we took a bus tour to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher Walk. The trip was scheduled through the Wild Atlantic Way and Peter was our guide and driver. Very engaging as he told stories about the towns we were passing through and history of The Burren. We were the only ones on the bus not going to the Aaran Islands and they dropped us in Doolin at the start of the Burren Way .
The walk from Doolin to The Cliffs of Moher is right along the coast. The scenery is spectacular and the path well marked so you can't get lost. It is, however, all uphill. Great work out but you can start at The Cliffs of Moher and walk downhill to Doolin. The weather was a mix of sun and clouds and the wind quite strong. In some sections you had to be pretty careful as you were literally right next to a sheer drop to the water below. Exhilarating and a little scary. The scenery is breathtaking with crashing waves, spumes of water going high into the air and drenching us in spray. What a terrific experience.
The walk takes about 3 hours or more if you take a lot of pictures and ends at the Visitor's center at The Cliffs of Moher. We even saw a Dolman out in a field as we walked along the cliffs. We were a bit chilled so it was nice to be able to have a hot cup of tea and a bowl of soup while we waited for the bus.
The other passengers had a mixed day as it was a very rough crossing to the Islands. A lot of people were sea sick.
On the way back had a quick stop in Lisdoonvarna and at Dunquaire Castle. Dinner at the hotel, hot shower and bed.
We had a down day as Ron was a little under the weather. Walked around, drank tea and napped. Went to McDonough's for dinner and it was great. www.mcdonaghs.net
It's an interesting restaurant near the Spanish Arch with a nice dining area and a take out area on the other side. We actually ate at both while in Galway. But this night we were on the dinner side. Had mussels in wine sauce (3 dozen) as a starter.
Then enjoyed a lightly grilled salmon with chips (French fries) and a glass of wine. All for 22 euro.
Had desert at Murphy's Ice cream, another iconic institution. It was really delicious. Then had hot toddy's with some Jersey City tourists at a local bar. Early night as Ron still a little under the weather.
Started the day at the Galway City Museum down by the Spanish Arch. Very nice small museum and free. On the third floor they have a Sea Experience and as we wandered to the start we saw a young woman sitting at a desk with a sign that said to ask for a tour -- so we did. Turns out she was a graduate school intern at the museum and we were her first tour since she had been there. She was great and really interesting.
She told us about a canal walk that started not far from the museum and led to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Toured the Cathedral -- interesting but very modern building. Then walked to Salthill and had tea on the waterfront. Took the bus back and headed to St. Nicholas's Church which dated to the 1300's. Much more interesting to us. It's a beautiful stone building with lovely arches and a 16th Century wooden ceiling. Lots of carvings in the church. After spending quite a lot of time there we came outside right in front of Sheridan Cheesemongers. This was one of the places I really wanted to visit.
Sheridan Cheesemonger's has a retail store on the ground floor that sells cheese, meat and wine. Then upstairs they have a wine bar where you can taste the wines they have open that day in order to select what you might like to drink. You can pair that with a cheese and meat platter or just cheese. The platters are huge.
We opted to have a selection of Irish cheeses with a very nice white Tuscan wine. What a great way to unwind at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
We grabbed take out at McDonaghs and enjoyed eating with a couple from the states. The wife was originally from Paris and had lots of stories to tell about their travels. Back to Dublin tomorrow