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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Galway City Photowalk Part 1

There's going to be a few of these because I do not think I could fit it all into one!

Its going to be a long one so get the kettle on and a biscuit. Lets begin.

Where: Galway city.
Why: Walk and a bit of a browse.
What: I took a walk from the Cathedral into town. I just wanted to do a bit of a photo walk and show you around the town! I'm going to show you some of my favourite spots. It might not be everyone's favourites or what you have seen with a tour guide but sometimes I think its good to show a few unusual things.
Whats there: Shops, architecture, culture, food.
How: I drove to Galway city and parked at the cathedral.
Experience and History:
1. The Cathedral 
Obsessed with it. Its my favourite sight in Galway I think when you come over the bridge at night and see it lit up its gorgeous. Its got amazing architecture too. Its actually a fairly recent building. I was surprised to find out as it was built between 1958-1965. It has lovely rose windows which I love. Be sure to go inside as well. I did not today. Its worthy of a post all of its own as the interiors are as impressive as the exterior.

2. The Salmon Weir 
If your lucky when crossing the river Corrib going into the city you will see anglers here. Its a popular spot. There was none today. The weir controls the water levels of the river above the city. Usually, the salmon and trout season span from February to September.

3. Galway City Art.
As you walk around the city there is lot's of art. On Shop street you can find buskers and entertainers but there is also street art so here is just an example of one.
4. My shop ...Granny Likes it on Upper AbbeyGate Street. 
This is an amazing treasure trove of a shop. Everything is Irish made and some by local artists. There is something from everyone and every time I go in I am blown away by the talent. This shop is also worthy of a blog of its own. See website here:
5. Great Escape Rooms 
This looks really interesting. Its a new find for me. The concept is you are locked into a room with your friends and co-workers etc. You need to work together to try and figure out how to escape. Its got some rave reviews on tripadvisor and sounds fun. Its different too. Website is here.
6. Javas.
I really like Javas its a creperie and french styled. Its a popular spot too. Its really cute inside and out.
Nice atmosphere here and really chilled out. They do savoury and sweet crepes as well as desserts. The creme brulee seems to be the star of the show but I'm always happy with a sweet crepe! Facebook page is here. 

7. Vanda Art Gallery. 
The most amazing and beautiful pieces and the good news is that alot of them are reasonable if you buy prints. Well worth a look. There is a Conor McGregor piece in the window that is really cool. I love the nature scenes too. Local prints as well of Galway city and county so if you are looking for a nice memento of your time in Galway it might be just the ticket. Website is here.

 8. Shop Street Entertainers. 
You can find anything from dancers to sand art here. Its unpredictable and cool. Here is a selection of what was on offer today. They are worthy of a mention because you can walk down shop street and stop for 10 minutes to watch an act. Some are excellent and get the whole crowd involved and behind them. They add massively to the atmosphere of the city.
9. Shop Street 
Its the main shopping street of the city as its name suggests. Its pedestrianised so no cars. The street is dotted with pubs as well so for nightlife as well you are spoilt for choice is not just the daytime hub. 
10. Lynches Castle, now AIB Bank on Shop Street 
Its an amazing and impressive building. The Lynches were once the most powerful family in Galway and this was their home. Its a limestone, Gothic building. The Lynch coat of arms can be seen on the building. It is believed that the castle dates to the fifteenth century. The building stands at 4 stories high. The bank acquired the building in 1930 and restored it. You can enter the ground floor of the bank as its open as a working bank to the public. More information see here. 

11. Espresso Forty Four, Shop Street
So friendly  and nice in here. They do matcha tea too which I have gained a bit of an addiction too of late. You can sit outside but I generally get take out. Top awards for customer service. Website is here. 

12. Ginos, Shop Street 
There are a few Ginos around Ireland but just in case you are not familiar with them. This place is a died and gone to heaven for gelato lovers. They do sorbets, crepes and coffee as well. If its warm be prepared for queues but oh is it worth it. They have every flavour under the sun. I love kinder bueno but I got hazelnut today and it was yummy too. Website is here. 

If your not Irish then Brown Thomas is basically a high end department store. Its worth mentioning because if your a handbag fanatic like me this is another heaven. They have all the top brands in terms of makeup from Mac to Chanel and there is a clothes department for men and women. If your coming to Ireland from the overseas depending on exchange rates or if there is a sale you might bag yourself a bargain. 

All the usual shops you would expect Pennys, Dunnes etc. So just going to pick out a few different ones. 
  • Teddy and Co. 
  • This is a new one and is so cute. You can build your own bear and there is the most adorable massive teddy bear outside the front door. You can take a selfie with it. If you have lots of young children it might be a pass as something tells me they will want you to buy everything in the shop!
  • Hillary Fortunes - Fortune Teller 
There is a turret in the shopping centre and here you will find Hillary Fortunes. I am one of those girls I have spent a small fortune on fortune tellers!!. I went to Hillary and she was spot on about some things.  I think its all a bit of fun for the most part. Its different and so worth a mention. If your going for a hen party etc its an activity in itself.
I am a candle girl and so this place has everything. But its also a lovely place to pick up some gifts.

Holistic products so they sell books, cards, crystals, angel and tarot cards,salt lamps, flower and colour essences. 

15. Eyre Square
Galway Hooker (boat) depiction
Its a public park in the middle of the city. There is a playground for children. On a sunny day everyone seems to sit here and chill out. At Christmas its the site of the Christmas market and so lovely. The park owes its origins to medieval times and part of it was once used as a market. The park is also known as J.F. Kennedy park as when he visited Ireland he spoke in the park.  

15.Brownes Doorway  Eyre Square 
Is a protected building. It looks a little out of place in Eyre Square as its not its rightful origins. Nonetheless it is a beautiful piece to admire. Browns doorway originally stood in Lower Abbeygate street and was the doorway and upper window of a 17th century house. Browne was a wealthy merchant living in Galway. The crest of the Browne family is visible. There are also engravings paying tribute to the Lynches of Lynch castle. At the time the Lynches and the Brownes were two of the prominent and influential families in Galway. There was 14 in total known as the Tribes of Galway. Sadly, none of the rest of the house remains.

The flags beside Brownes doorway depict the tribes of Galway. Each flag shows the family crest for one of the tribes. There was 14 tribes whose family names were as follows: Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Deane, Font, French, Joyce, Kirwin, Lynch, Martin, Morris and finally Skerrett.

If your surname is one of these your ancestry may well rest in Galway. Most of the families were of Anglo Norman descent with the exception of Kirwin which is of Gaelic origin. These families were prominent in Galway and merchant families during medieval to early modern era.

Is an imposing building standing over Eyre Square. Its gorgeous inside as well and each Sunday there is a piano player in the foyer. Its a nice place to start off an evening with dinner or a drink and is right in the heart of the city too.

I love Debenhams and so came here for a browse. Park Jewellers here are also good. There is an M & S, Peter Mark Hairdressers and Carrig Donn here also to name a few.

18.McCambridges Back to Shop Street
Is a Galway institution. They are known throughout Ireland for their famous soda bread. Their shop on Shop Street has a cafe, deli, foodhall and fine wines. If you are a foodie you need to come here. If you are looking for a present for a foodie then McCambridges can do hampers. Its well worth a browse or stop off for a coffee. They have outside seating directly overlooking Shop Street so its a great place to people watch or take in the atmosphere. Website is here. 

19. Galway Market 
I love the market as there is always a great buzz here. So much on offer too its great on Saturday mornings if you can get in an beat the traffic. Food stalls are brilliant too if the weather is good and you want to eat outside. You can get everything from candles to fairy doors here as well. 

Its a medieval church and was built in 1320. The church was dedicated to St Nichloas of Myra, patron saint of seafarers. It played a role in the evolution of the city as for a time it was where the families of the tribes of Galway went to elect the mayor. Only males were allowed to vote. Legend states that Christopher Columbus went to mass here when he visited Galway in 1477. There are tours of the Church on offer. In the 16th century the Lynches and the French families of the tribes extended the church further. The baptismal font is over 400 years old. The church sometimes holds events and has concerts. Keep an eye on the website for further details. 

Then I walked back to the Cathedral and went home. 

Pros: So much to see and do and so much on offer. This is by no means a top list its only part of the city. So I will be doing another one of these. As you can see there is culture, history and good shopping so too so there is something for everyone.
Cons: It rained !!! Oh Galway why !!! If your here in winter expect lots of it.
What else is local:

  • Oranmore Castle
  • Galway Crystal
  • Salthill
  • Claregalway
  • More information: 
    I have added links where relevant above. But for more information on Galway check out Discover Ireland Page. 

    This is pretty much the Walk

    Hope you enjoyed reading. If you go would love to know about your experience. 
    You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
    Facebook: @catmc
    Twitter: @forrealllemail

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