There’s something so magical about the west of Ireland, and Galway City is definiately a jewel in the crown. It’s a melting pot of culture, history, craic, scenic spots and excellent eateries, which makes it such a destination spot for staycations, mini moons, hen and stag parties alike. So if you plan on spending a few days in this buzzing corner of the country you will definitely want to bookmark this post. We’ve done a lot of legwork (and eating and drinking) to bring you the best places to explore, eat, drink and stay when visiting the City of the Tribes, from coffee havens and rooftop bars, to a chocolate mecca and decadent pizza. Here are 10 cool things to do in Galway.
Cool Things to do in Galway
1. Stay at The Dean Hotel
A brand new boutique hotel in the heart of the city, The Dean Galway, is a sister hotel to the well-loved spots in Dublin and Cork of the same name. Located a stone’s throw from Eyre Square, each of the 100 rooms (great for a group!) feature cool bespoke decor and the hotel itself is a fabulous blend of the old and new – a portion of the Galway to Clifden railway tunnel built in the 1890s and a two-storey brick building from the 1830s have been integrated into the the building. As for the modern elements, there’s Sophie’s rooftop bar for dining or cocktails with panoramic views over the city, or Elephant and Castle on the ground floor where we can attest serves the best chicken wings you will ever taste!
2. Small Plates with Big Flavours
The atmosphere in The Univsersal Bar is buzzy, dark and intimate so it would make for a great date spot, or if you have a small group who just wants sharing plates or cheese board with a nice drink. It’s a short but interesting menu in tapas sizes which are great for sharing, with great wine and cocktails on offer.
3. Design Delights
If you’re looking for a place where Irish and international art, design and speciality coffee overlap, Coffeewerk +Press is where you want to spend some time hanging out. Housed in a 400-year-old building, you won’t just find ethical, exquisite coffee, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by work from a range of handcrafted items from artisan design houses. Just try to leave without falling in love with (and buying) something for home – impossible!
4. A Dog-Friendly Gem
Located out in Salthill, a little outside the city, Kali Coffee is the perfect stop if strolling the promenade, and as it’s dog-friendly, your pooch will be more than welcome too. The joy of Kali is that there’s a huge empahsis on sustainability – compostible lids and cups, no extra charge for alternative milks, discounts for resusable cups – and although speciality coffee is offer, there is zero pretentiousness – this is a super chilled place to stop and chat with owners Enda and Laura. We have to give a special mention to the coffee which hails from Calendar Coffee Roasters up the road who also focus on sustainable production – taste it and you will be ordering it by the bag full!
5. A Wine Bar with Heart
Located on Druid Lane next to the city’s prestigious Druid Theatre Company, Éan (meaning ‘bird’ in Irish) serves delicious, hearty lunch and inventive pastries by day, before transforming into a chic wine bar and restaurant by night. We highly recommend it for a low-key hen party spot or a drink for two, as you can select from natural, biodynamic and organic wines and selection of seasonal small and large sharing plates.
6. The Best Pizza in Town
A pizza from Dough Bros is the closest you’ll come to a religious experience from carbs. This is seriously epic pizza! The Neopolitan-style dough means that you can expect a thin crispy base with a puffed up, blackened crust from the wood-fired ovens. But the gourmet toppings are the star of the show. While you might prefer classic toppings, we strongly urge you to try the Bee’s Knees (smoked scamorza, spicy nduja and a drizzle of hot honey… drool!) or the Banh-Mi with sticky pork belly. If you’re opting for self-catering while in Galway, then why not pick up one of the yummy at-home pizza kits?
7. Fashion Fix
If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of in Galway these days (apart from great places to have a cosy pint!), it’s great coffee spots. But they do all have something that makes them special. Take Kindf_olk, which not only serves a killer cup of java, but is also home to a low-key boutique where you’ll find quality, ethical and very cool men’s clothing and accessory brands like Rains and Edmmond Studios and quirky lifestyle products, including terrariums from Green Factory and apothecary from Frama CPH.