Galway. Oh Galway. Multiple songs have been written referencing this quaint Irish town, and when you visit the cobblestone streets you understand why. The city is on the coast, with long stretches of beach. I’m not a beach fan usually, but even the beaches in Ireland are unique.
The real attraction in this town is known as The Latin Quarter, where Galway comes alive. With shops and restaurants around every corner you’ll want to spend an entire day here. And that’s just what we did.
Where to stay: Abbeylee B&B. The hosts of this B&B were wonderful. The bedrooms were clean and felt like home. And the breakfast. Yup. The location was perfect, just a 35 minute walk to The Latin Quarter.
We stayed here two nights, and I met the most adorable American couple that was on their honeymoon. We became instant friends. Have I mentioned how much I love traveling? Those that travel have unique spirits, and it’s easy to make new friends this way.
With a belly full of a traditional Irish breakfast, we took the beach path to the heart of the city. Walking into the entrance of The Latin Quarter is something I cannot put into words. Any thoughts, worries, or unpleasant emotions are quickly erased and replaced by feelings of joy, excitement, and enthrallment.
Not that I was worried or upset at all on this trip, but you get the idea.
I can still hear the sounds reverberating off the stone walls. Musicians played everywhere you turned. Galway made you feel like nothing was impossible, that as long as you believed it, you could be whoever you wanted.
Spoiler alert: this is actually how life works, we just get so caught up in thinking we “can’t” and where our minds go, we follow.
It was here in Galway we had planned to spend an evening at a local pub to be serenaded by the sounds of the locals. It was here I decided I wasn’t living my life the way I wanted. It was here I fell so deeply in love with a culture that was not my own, but that I longed to be a part of.
It was here that I gave myself a permanent reminder of my first trip abroad, a trip that broke my soul and rebuilt it into something new.
Our tattoo artists name was Charlie, and he was equal parts rigid as he was sweet. His lady friend worked alongside him and she had a strong resemblance to Anne Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights.
They were adorable, and not in the sickly kind of way.
The original plan was to get a four leaf clover. Because we’re basic. Alas, Anne Heche schooled us on Irish culture and advised the clover was not native to Ireland, but the shamrock was. So shamrock it was. I didn’t even need a Guinness before being inked.
Thanks Charlie, I hope you and Anne Heche live happily ever after.
Where to eat: The Kings Head is the oldest pub in the area, racking up over 800 years of existence. We ate lunch here and also spent the final stretch of our day here listening to local Irish men sing American songs. Go figure. I’ll never hear Ring of Fire the same again.
Nothing like grown men referencing explosive diarrhea through a Johnny Cash song.
Fat Freddy’s Restaurant -I didn’t come to Ireland planning to find good pizza, but I assure you I found it. As always, potatoes as a topping is a must.
Murphy’s Ice Cream – I can’t remember the last time I had “real” ice cream, but #wheninGalway. In all honesty this was a bit much for me, and I realized I might have been going a wee far with eating all the things I typically avoid, but for the sake of transparency I’ll share it.
What sold me was the fact that they hand make the ice cream nearby, and one of the flavors showcases sea salt from the Dingle peninsula. When you can see the cows roaming free and grazing on grass it makes the decision of taking a lick much easier. Alas I’m becoming an expert at the whole, “listen to your body” concept.
Body said no mas ice cream.
Sitting in this city, surrounded by people from all over the world I felt at peace. These are the moments and memories that stick with you forever. Besides, even if I tried to forget I’m reminded every time I put on socks and see my tattoo.
I smile every time.
Travel Tip: When wandering a larger city (think Dublin, Galway, Cork) go into a pub if you need to use the toilet. Otherwise you will likely be charged around 20 cent.