Galway has a well-deserved reputation as a place for fun, frolics craic and culture. Rich in history and folklore, the landscape resounds with memories of Old Ireland amid thatched cottages and stone walls. From the buzz of Galway city to the tranquil countryside of Connemara and those famous Aran islands – here you are sure to experience a heady mix of Ireland past and present where roots run deep, and the Irish spirit is burning bright.
The city of the Tribes has a long association with the continent, and traces of this partnership can be found in Galway’s Latin quarter, where a rich variety of restaurants and eateries can be enjoyed close by the famous Spanish Arches. That passionate love of life and outgoing character of sun kissed nations can be found here – more keenly than the broody introversion which may be associated with those of us more prone to the effects of the rain. Galway’s nightlife is legendary and the cultural and social calendar allow ample opportunity to mingle with locals and visitors alike, in celebration.
Connemara’s breath-taking landscape is a mixture of unspoilt rivers, lakes, woodlands, rich meadowlands, rugged hills, dramatic mountains and stunning coastline of sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. Connemara is a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area, rich in Irish culture, heritage and traditions. The main town in the Connemara region is Clifden.Here you will encounter many quirky shops, restaurants and traditional Irish pubs. Throughout the region there are many special attractions including Kylemore Abbey, Connemara History & Heritage Centre in Clifden and Glengowla Mines in Oughterard. The 40,000 acre Connemara National Park and the set of the film ‘The Field’ in Leenane, which was directed by Jim Sheridan in the 1990’s. Connemara is the ideal place to visit if you want to experience all things Irish, and breath the salty Atlantic air on rocky shores.
The stately grounds of Coole Park just outside Gort, was once the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, a folklorist, gaelgóir, dramatist and co-founder with Edward Martyn and W.B. Years of the Abbey Theatre. The garden of the house, with its yew walk and famous autograph tree is preserved. Carved on the autograph tree, among others are the signatures of John Masefield, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey. The area is also a National Nature Reserve due to its great wildlife importance and natural native woodlands – perfect for a day spent in tranquil natural surroundings.
Galway has a buzzing food and drinks scene and is well known for the quality of local produce as well as the creativity and ingenuity of local chefs. Galway is also making waves in the food world worldwide. Here is the home of an exciting yearly gathering of chefs and food enthusiasts, Food on the Edge, looking squarely at the future of food. The Galway Oyster Festival is another highlight of the foodie calendar and here we also learn more about the humble oyster.