Wild wild west
Every one has a favourite place in Ireland. Every one will have a host of reasons why their county, city, town, village or boreen is the best. All the reasons will be valid but only if your favourite city is Galway will you actually be right.
Galway City is where the true wild west begins. The towns of Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Craughwell and Oranmore are milestones on the Dublin road as it sweeps through east Galway to the City of the Tribes. Each of the towns has its quirky character and claim to fame and, given the roar of the Celtic Tiger, plenty of fortune; but it is Galway City where the traveller should dwell a while, savour the craic and ceoil over a pint of Guinness in Neachtain’s, Taafe’s, The King’s Head or Roisin Dubh and decide which way to travel to the west and the Atlantic.
Galway has easy access to great beaches, mountains, lakes and the magnificent Lough Corrib, endless bogland and ruins. Fishing, golf, riding, walking and sailing are just some of the sports available. Salthill has a sweeping promenade that is used by the “awful fierce” power walkers to burn off the calories and enjoy the vista of Galway Bay.
The Arts Festival held each July features classical, cool and just plain quirky fine arts, traditional and contemporary music, film and theatre. It is followed in short order by the Galway Races when the sky resembles Apocalypse Now as private helicopters sweep in over Lough Corrib ferrying in the rich or extravagant from the hotels and castles “out in the country”. And to top it off there is the Oyster Festival in September; although Clarenbridge, just a few kilometres up the road, was really first to celebrate the oyster and Guinness.
There are several small churches and two cathedrals, a new museum, three theatres including the always challenging Druid and An Taibhearc, an Irish language theatre.
Galway City is also the home of NUIG, the fast growing university that draws students from all over the world. And if all else fails there are the pubs. Galway is a great city that feels like the friendliest town in the world.