Just recently, Galway was voted Friendliest City in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Only delighted with the news of finally being validated as the bunch of lovable rogues that we are, Galwegians celebrated accordingly by telling anyone that would listen, tagging the comments section of the article with friends in far off lands (just to show them what they are missing), and sharing the proverbial sh*te out of the independent.ie article on social media.
According to the magazine, “Galway won readers’ hearts with its festive nature, lively population, and musicality.” Aaw shucks. So, here’s Nitelife’s top 10 reasons why we love Galway.
10. Shop Street
If you don’t know where it is, it’s the very creatively named street with all the shops on it. The main drag, the place where you can’t set foot without bumping into friends, getting dragged into a pub for a pint while you’re trying to do the weekly shop or trying to maneuver your way through throngs of people watching buskers belting out tunes.
9. Spanish Arch
Located on the banks of the River Corrib, the Spanish Arch (or Sparch as the locals call it) is where you will find Galwegians hanging out, having drinks and food, chatting and playing music on pretty much any sunny day. There is nothing better than lying on the grass beside the rushing River Corrib of a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon. Bliss.
8. The West End
Known by most as the hub of music, Galway’s West End hosts a seriously good night-life scene. It houses Blue Note and Massimo, Monroe’s Live, Roisin Dubh, Galway’s only Michelin Star restaurant, Anair, and the best brunch in town in Kai, the West End is certainly the up-and-coming place to go for the best music, food and coffee in the city.
We’re sure if you asked your parents about Salthill, they’ll look into the distance and sigh. “Ah, Salthill” – reminiscing about summer holidays and evenings spent dancing in the the local haunts. Salthill has beautiful views across Galway Bay and has one of the longest promenades in Europe. Take a walk on the prom, have an ice-cream from Jungle Café and, of course, if you’re brave enough, you can jump off the tower in Blackrock!
A friend recently said to me that we should rename Galway, ‘Festavia’! It will be the city of festivals, we will take all of the festivals in Ireland and build a huge wall around the city so no one else can get in. Cue evil laugh…muahaha. No, seriously though. How many festivals does Galway host? I’ve lost count.
5. Street performance
No matter what the season, rain or shine, Galway City is full of buskers and street performance, giving the city life and festive atmosphere year round. From traditional Irish music, rock and folk, to people Irish dancing or breathing fire in the street. There is always something to entertain passers by. Sure, didn’t a young Ed Sheeran himself take to the streets of Galway to show off his talents! Stay tuned for our Buskers series coming soon to Nitelife.
4. Galway Market
Every single Saturday, beside St Nicholas’ church, The Galway Market comes to life with artisan foods, veggie stalls and handmade crafts. It’s a great place to meet people and pick up a matar paneer or a falafel to take away and eat at on the grass at the Spanish Arch. Nom!
You can walk down any street in Galway city and be assured that music will fill the air. Whether it’s trad from The Crane or Tig Coili, rock from Monroe’s Live or funky beats from Electric Garden & Theatre, there is always a rhythm to tap your feet to. It certainly brings a great energy and creates a cheerful atmosphere in the city.
Ah, Connemara, what can I say? Sitting on the edge of Europe, the virtually unspoiled terrain houses lakes, mountains, bogs and beaches. A perfect place to spend some time in tranquility in the west.
1. The people
And the icing on the cake for Galway is its people. A diverse bunch of locals and blow-ins alike! And we’ve just been voted friendliest city in the world. Why? Because Galway people will always make visitors feel welcome. I know countless people (me among them) who came to Galway for a holiday and ended up staying. That says something. Never change people of Galway…we love you.