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Europe,  Ireland,  Travel Guides

4 Days in Galway – Ireland

After Dublin my route in Ireland took me from the east to the west coast where I spent 4 days in Galway. This charming coastal town is worth a visit in itself, but also as the perfect starting point for different day tours. In this post I have compiled the perfect 4 day itinerary.

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The perfect itinerary for 4 days in Galway

Galway Day 1 – Cathedrals and Museums

My train from Dublin arrived in Galway at around 1:33 pm, way too early to check into my accommodation, but I went anyway and was able to leave my luggage with them.

I had been to Ireland once before, in 2014 on my last school trip. We had an overnight stay in Galway from Dublin, before visiting the Cliffs of Moher the next day. During our stay, we only got an hour of free time to explore the city and I didn’t get to see any sights. Since that day the Galway Cathedral was on top of my list since both buses we took stopped right in front of it. During this trip, I finally had the chance to see it from the inside!

Inside the cathedral, they set up a line of informative plaques which tell the history from the first stone of the foundation until the renovations made between 2014 and the present day. There are explanations all over the church under the stained glass windows, statues of saints and other peculiarities of this church. The ceiling of the central dome of the cathedral is painted blue and illuminated day and night.

After the cathedral, I went to the Galway City Museum, which offers free entry, but at the time restricted the number of visitors inside the building at one time to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Since it was November I didn’t have a problem getting in. The museum covers the archaeology, history and culture of the city of Galway like most city museums do, but here the text is in Gaelic and English, with the Gaelic text first, as it is still the official language of the nation.

The Galway City Museum is one of the best museums I have visited anywhere in the world, both with the standard expositions and the changing ones. They also offer a virtual tour and have a very detailed and user-friendly website which I absolutely recommend you visit, whether you are planning to go there or not.

For dinner (because, yes, I forgot to eat lunch since I was in the museum for hours) I went to Tuco’s Taqueria because as I said before, foreign food is good and less expensive in Ireland. I had the Tacos Carnita (twice) and a Lemon Soda, which I can both recommend.

Galway Day 2 – Connemara National Park, Cong & Kylemore Abby Day Tour

The next day I went on a day tour from Galway, which I probably wouldn’t have chosen if I hadn’t seen the Cliffs of Moher before, to the National Park of Connemara. We were a small group and picked up in a mini-bus where everyone had to wear a mask inside.

The first stop of the tour was Cong, where The Quiet Man Museum, the ruins of Cong Abbey and the Ashford Castle hotel are the main attractions. The next stop was in the middle of Connemara National park where once the car had been turned off and people shut up you couldn’t hear anything but wind and water. It filled me with a strange nostalgia as if I had been there before. Maybe in a different life.

Kylemore Abby was the last stop of the tour. This impressive building was originally an estate built in the 1860s by the Henry family, then it was turned into an Abby, a school and today serves as a museum of its rich history. The Benedictine Nuns of the Abby still live close by and take care of the building, walled victorian gardens and a Neo-Gothic Church.

In the Kylemore Kitchens, I was also finally able to get some food. The kitchens are manned by the nuns as well and they serve hearty and traditional meals. I had a quiche and a potato salad which were both very rich and filling.

For dinner, after the tour, I went to Java’s Cafe & Creperie which serves French cuisine. Because I couldn’t decide what to get I got two Crêpes, one with caramel and one with strawberries and chocolate spread. Afterwards, I went for a crème brûlée and finished my glass of apple cider. For this place I definitely recommend calling ahead!

Galway Day 3 – Day Trip to the Cliffs of Moher

From Galway you can take a bus directly to the Cliffs of Moher. Of course you can join a guided tour, but it is totally possible to do this by yourself. Which is what I did.

From the bus station in Galway you take the 8 AM bus 350 towards Ennis. The route of the bus takes you along coast, on the Wild Atlantic Way. One way of the trip takes about 2 hours. On the way there you can see the Aran Islands in the distance and on the way back you can get a great view of Galway Bay. The station you need to disembark at is named “Cliffs of Moher”.

Once you are there, take a walk along one of the cliff-paths and take in the breathtaking scenery and don’t miss out on the Visitor Centre either.

Beware that the last 350 bus leaves at the cliffs at 6:14 PM!

cliffs-of-moher-daytour-during-4-days-in-galway

Galway Day 4 – City Beaches, coffee and award winning food

On my last day in Galway I decided to take it slow, but also get a lot of walking in, since the previous day I had spent several hours in a bus. My first stop after breakfast at the hotel was Grattan beach, a small city beach between the city and Salthill.

From there I grabbed a Coffee at Kali Coffee Bar, before continuing on to Salthill Promenade. Kali is a cute little cafe with not much room inside, but benches right outside the door and a garden. They focus on speciality coffee and sustainability, feature different local artists in their cafe and are also dog and deaf ISL (international sign language) friendly.

I got an early lunch of Fish & Chips at Hooked, a seafood restaurant with several locations in Galway, which had been recommended to me by a person from the Kylemore Abbey tour.

Map

How to read the map: Blue are places to see directly in Galway, orange are cafes and restaurants and green are the day tours mentioned above.

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Ireland on a Budget

Do you want to travel to Ireland, but are on a budget? Check out my other post about travelling to Ireland for a week for under 100€ a day (including flights, accommodation, food and attractions): Ireland on a Budget – A student travels


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