By Rebecca Spelman
With so much beautiful scenery and historical sites to explore in County Galway it can be difficult to know where to start, check out our itinerary if you only have 48 hours to spare.
Starting off in Galway city, get your most important meal of the day in Dela on Dominick Street. Get a traditional Irish fry-up or try their delicious pancakes; either way, it’ll keep you going all day. Next, cross the bridge to the city centre where you can see two of Galway’s most famous landmarks; the Spanish Arch and the Long Walk.
A stroll along the Long Walk only takes a few minutes and it gives you a great opportunity to breathe in the fresh sea air and get some fantastic photos. Right beside it you’ll find the Galway City Museum, where you can spend the afternoon (for free) learning about Galway’s rich history.
After a day of learning, head over to the West End for some herbal tea and a slice of cake in The Secret Garden, a charming little spot with mismatched tea cups and strings of fairy lights that feels like a bit of everyday magic. Once you’re refreshed, you should wander along Shop Street, Galway’s main street, which is pedestrianised so you can take your time window shopping in the little boutiques and enjoying outdoor concerts by the buskers.
As the sun begins to set, seek refuge from the dark in Pálás, a newly-opened arthouse cinema. Inside, you’ll find Merrow, a high-quality restaurant on the ground floor that offers a level of fine dining you might not expect in a cinema. After your meal, you can grab a drink in the bar upstairs before catching a film – Pálás shows smaller independent films alongside blockbusters, so they have something to suit every kind of mood.
A stroll along the Long Walk only takes a few minutes and it gives you a great opportunity to breathe in the fresh sea air and get some fantastic photo
It’s time to get out of the city and see what rural Galway has to offer. A great way to see the best of this is to follow the Wild Atlantic Way, a path that follows the entire west coast of Ireland. The first stretch for you is a 45-minute drive from Galway to Rossaveal, a little fishing village where you can get a boat to the Aran Islands, or listen out for locals speaking Irish in this Gaeltacht village.
From Rossaveal, it’s just under an hour’s drive to Roundstone, another fishing village that offers great views of the bay and the mountains at the same time. There are some great dining options here, such as O’Dowd’s, Eldon’s, and Vaughan’s. You can also have a quick trip to the beach at Gurteen or Dog’s Bay, two beautiful local beaches.
Half an hour from Roundstone is Clifden, the capital of Connemara. This is a great spot for history lovers, as you can visit Clifden Castle from the 1800s, the spot where Alcock and Brown landed their historic cross-Atlantic flight in 1919, and the Connemara Heritage and History Centre for an inside look into traditional Irish life. You can also ride Connemara ponies along the beach with some local companies.
If all this isn’t enough to fit into one day, you can access Sky Road from Clifden and spend an hour or so taking in the spectacular coastal views along this secluded, winding road. You can follow a loop that will return to Clifden so you can head back to the city after a jam-packed day of exploration.
Read more about County Galway