Recommendations: In and Around Galway, Ireland

When heading to Ireland, I knew I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher on the western coast so after looking into it, Galway seemed to be the perfect home base and we couldn't have asked for anything better.  Below are some recommendations for Galway and the surrounding areas.

River running through Galway 

Where to Stay (disclaimer, high end options aren't really there)
  • Residence Hotel: Located right on Quay street, this hotel is in the heart of all the action.  It's a perfect location to explore in an around Galway but if you want to sleep before bar time on a Friday or Saturday, it won't be the best option. 
  • Jury's Inn: Located off Quay street, this seemed more like a Holiday Inn type hotel that wasn't directly above a bar playing live music till 1AM so it could be a good option as a home base for the western coast of Ireland. 
  • B&B's: If I go back to Ireland, I would be looking for the best B&B's in the countryside.  As we were driving, there seemed to be plenty of great options to choose form. 
Putting Green at Galway Harbor

Where to Eat & Drink (it's Ireland, there's just a lot of places to drink): 
  • Quay Street Kitchen: In the heart of Galway is the tiny establishment of Quay Street Kitchen.  There is a very good chance you will need a reservation here so you should call in advance as it's well worth it.  The Irish Lamb Shank was out of this world. 
  • Kirwans: Right off Quay Street is Kirwans, a cozy restaurant serving plenty of seafood.  The oysters, seafood chowder and fresh caught fish were delicious. 
  • Tig Colli: Towards the top of Quay Street is the small, local pub of Tig Colli.  It's a perfect spot to grab a Guinness and listen to some local Irish music. 
  • Taafes Bar: Taafes is going to be a little more rowdy than Tig Colli, if you are on a Stag party, this is probably will you end up.  Also had some great live music. 
  • O'Connell's Bar: Right off Eyre Square is O'Connell's Bar, a huge pub with a beer garden in the back and a perfect spot to grab a piece of pizza. 
  • O'Dowds Cafe: This wasn't in Galway but is a major call out if you find yourself in Roundstone or driving the Wild Atlantic Way.  It's one of the only spots in Roundstone but you should plan your breakfast around it...get the Scones. 
Town of Roundstone 
  • Ard Bia: We didn't have a chance to eat here but heard the seafood was fantastic.  The vibe seemed great and it was right on the water. 
  • O'Connor's: If you are in Galway, you have to go here.  It's no wonder Ed Sheeran picked this place for his music video of Galway girl as it's everything you imagine out of an Irish pub.  Try to snag a seat by the fireplace, listen to the locals sing Irish music and have some Irish whiskey. 
  • Gus O'Conners: Located in Doolin by the Cliffs of Moher, there is a perfect place to grab some fish and chips after visiting the famed cliffs. 
O'Connor's bar 

What to Do: 
  • Wild Atlantic Way:  The Wild Atlantic Way is basically one long drive along the West Coast of Ireland that could take over a week but some of the best parts are in and around Galway.  We spent a day driving the coast and you would remiss if you didn't do the same.  Check out my post on what to do for a day trip. 
  • Golf: If you are a golfer, you can't go to Ireland and not play.  We ended up playing at Galway Harbor which was nothing short of fantastic.  There aren't many courses you can play where there are bright yellow flowers, with ocean views and greens overlooking pastures of cows. 
  • Cliffs of Moher: The Cliffs of Moher are a no brainer and they are what drew me to the western coast of Ireland.  They are absolutely stunning and worth spending a few hours there.  Some tips include; beat the tourists, go early in the day or later in the day before the buses arrive; if you can, the late afternoon would be better as the sun will be shining on the cliffs; don't get too close to the edge, you truly can fall over. 
  • Kylemore Abbey:  You could spend a day at Kylemore Abbey.  It's a massive estate right outside Connemara National Park with hiking trails, gardens and a massive Abbey. It's up to you how long you want to stay here, we spent about two hours exploring the grounds, the Abbey (it was under renovation) and the gardens.  However, if you have the time, you may want to spend at least a half day here and go for a hike. 
My parents at Kylemore Abbey
  • Quay Street: The heart of Galway is Quay Street.  It's packed with bars, live music and a lot of drunk people.  You should plan on bar hopping up and down the street finding different types of live music. 
Quay Street
  • Doolin: About 10 - 15 minutes outside of the Cliffs of Moher is the tiny town of Doolin.  There's one little strip with bars, restaurants and shops that is worth visiting either before or after the Cliffs.  My recommendation would be to stay in Doolin for a night so you can visit the Cliffs at sunset and then hit up a pub for some of their famous live music. 
  • Aran Islands: We did not go here but at some point in my life I will. The Aran Islands are three islands off the coast by the Cliffs of Moher and I can picture them as the Irish Nantucket.  They seem perfect. 
The Cliffs of Moher

Bonus Dublin Recs: I was only in Dublin for a half a day but we went to a great restaurant and bar. 
  • Fade Street Social: What seemed to be one of the more trendier places in town, the food was delicious and the vibe on point. 
  • Vintage Cocktail Club: If you passed this place on the street, you wouldn't know it's there.  This speakeasy is a great after-dinner spot for a night cap if you aren't feeling a pub.  You'll need a reservation but their cocktails are worth it. 
At the Vintage Cocktail Club


  1. I have been to Ireland three times and I can say, that it is one of the most interesting and beautiful countries, I have ever visited. I hope, that I will make a trip there this year.

  2. You can spend your time and do something special visiting another destination. You will be definitely impressed by your future adventure!


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