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Gorgeous Galway: West coast jewel of Ireland

It’s artsy and refined the whole year round, but Galway spurts into a mirage of wild celebrations each July

By Akanksha Dean

This West coast jewel alias Galway is Ireland’s most sociable city, walkable and abounding with independent shops and restaurants that walk the thin line between casual and chic.

I impulse you to commence your day on a full Irish breakfast stomach, before going out for the day. The city is greatest discovered on foot, and a sauntering tour is an incredible way to discover the antiquity of Galway.

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As I stroll the cobbled paths of the tiny city, I truly feel I am in Ireland. I come athwart the Spanish Arch which was built in the 16th century, previously an add-on of the celebrated city walls, envisioned to watch the docks.

Situated at the very finale of Quay Street it’s the picture-perfect dwelling to sit and unwind by the water. Adjoining to the Spanish Arch is the City Museum.

The glass-fronted, modernist portico is modest, once inside you would come across several fascinating relics, including a Galway Hooker boat up in the midcourse from one of its ceilings.

Simply divine
Kai in Kai Cafe and Restaurant precisely interprets, into ‘food’ in Maori. A native New Zealander, the chef, Jess Murphy, has received ovation for this original eating spot set in a stone-walled preceding flower shop.

The menu varies each day, presenting Celtic Kiwi dishes. Yes, Kai is revisiting Irish affixes, but with a positively modern take. As for me, I got to try the smoked mackerel, deviled eggs and remoulade…. simply marvelous!

Quay Street
You just can’t slip the iconic Quay Street! Located in the mid of the town and definitely abounding on both sides alongside uncountable pubs, bars, and shops, one could smoothly bestow a total afternoon on the sprightly street.

Hours can be spent amongst the rambling shelves of Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. The Quay’s is an unbelievable spot to clasp live music, immodest old-style music session hits you full party in the evenings!

I begin at Taaffe’s, tailed promptly by Tig Cóilí across the street. Though if you are in the mood for a local Irish dress and tweed; keep rambling up Quay Street crosswise to High Street!

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The Claddagh Ring
The two riveted hands holding a heart signify faithfulness, love and alliance; the past of where these beautiful rings come from is one of Ireland’s lesser-known stories.

Johnathan Margetts is the house owner of the first Claddagh Ring Company T. Dillon and Sons in Ireland, who have been creating these rings since 1750, is now the oldest Irish jewelers in existence.

At the end of his shop in Quay Street, Jonathan has a small gallery open for free during the shops opening hours. Here I learn about Claddagh, an angling village on the suburbs of Galway, which was a successful and spirited community in the 19th century – but one that was very much different from the rest of Galway and Ireland. Needless to add, I buy one for myself.

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Of sea weed foraging and abalone
Mungo tempts you to board on a littoral foraging tour in Rossaveal, Connemara to know the local history and to inhale the wild Atlantic Sea air while absorbing about delicious sea plants along the way.

After studying about seaweed, I visit the boutique abalone farm on the edge of Galway Bay and appreciate a tour of this contemporary aquaculture farm that ends with a tasting of fresh seafood dishes made from the seafood grown on the farm and the sea plants foraged along the shore…what an experience to carry back home!

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Did You Know?
It’s artsy and refined the whole year round, but Galway spurts into a mirage of wild processions, celebrations and acts for a fortnight each July. Like St Patrick’s Festival, only better.

Fact File
Getting There: All major airlines fly daily to Dublin. The best connectivity is with Emirates. Galway is just under three hours away by Go Bus and has patronized consistent trips to/ from Dublin, and Irish Rail will get you accurately into Eyre Square.

Accommodation: There are plenty of budget Bed & Breakfasts as well as a vast choice of hotels ranging from 5 star to 3 star so accommodation is never a problem here. The Galmont Hotel & Spa, is a fantastic option if you want a cosy and more upscale place to stay.

(Akanksha Dean is an independent Indian chef, events specialist, & food & travel writer)

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