●Ballinderry Park – Kilconnell; 011-353-90-968-6796; ballinderrypark.com; elegant.
CONNEMARA & GALWAY
Bars & Nightclubs
●Backstage Bar at Monroe’s Live – Upper Dominick Street (West End); 011-353-91-583-397; monroes.ie; live music venue with bar literally backstage.
●Black Cat – 179 Upper Salthill; 011-353-91-501-007; blackcat.ie; jazz, tapas, and wine in homey, Georgian town house.
●Club Aras na nGael – 45 Dominick Street; 011-353-91-567-824; cnag.ie; eclectic, Irish-language social club; enter through arched blue doors into dark, narrow pub space; Gaelic classes (some nights), step-dancing, and international D.J. nights; Saturdays usually feature traditional music; English speakers are welcome, but bartender may insist on imparting few words in old language before you get your Guinness.
●Crane Bar – 2 Sea Road, 2nd floor (West End); 011-353-91-587-419; cranebar.com; hop to traditional Irish music.
●Krcma – 163 Upper Salthill; 011-353-91-582-233; krcma.biz; soccer on projector screen and Zlaty Bazant on tap; Slovak-owned pub and central European gathering place.
●Oslo – Upper Salthill; 011-353-91-448-390; winefoodbeer.com/oslo; locally brewed porter in former dance hall reborn as microbrewery.
●Roisin Dubh – Lower Dominic Street; 011-353-91-586-540; roisindubh.net; known especially for live music.
●Sheridans‘ Cheesemongers – 14-16 Churchyard Street, 2nd Floor; 011-353-91-564-829; sheridanscheesemongers.com; wine bar.
●Wilde‘s – Henry Street (West End); 011-353-85-852-1335; wildesbar.ie; drag queens sing jukebox tunes at this gay bar.
●Ballynahinch Castle – Recess (Connemara); 011-353-95-31006; ballynahinch-castle.com; fabulous, 450 acres, book recently renovated river view room.
●Cashel House Hotel – Connemara; 011-353-1-95-31001; cashel-house-hotel.com; antique furnished rooms; hiking on nearby coast and Twelve Pins Mountains.
●G Hotel – Wellpark; 011-353-91-865-200; theghotel.ie; opulent; interiors by Galway County-born, haute couture hat designer, Philip Treacy; 3 see-&-be-seen lounges connected by long, pink carpet.
●House – Merchants Road; 011-353-91-538-900; thehousehotel.ie; boutique.
●Hotel Meyrick – Eyre Square; 011-353-91-564-041; hotelmeyrick.ie; formerly, this 19th Century, limestone building hotel hosted Charles Lindbergh, Prince Louis Napoleon, and John Wayne; onetime railroad hotel still offers prime location, with breakfast.
●Ard Bia at Nimmos – Spanish Arch, Long Walk; 011-353-91-561-114; ardbia.com; contemporary restaurant in quaint, stone building opposite museum; low ceilings and wood tables in setting resembling country kitchen; refined seasonal menus that emphasize local ingredients like pan-fried Irish hake with chorizo, mussels, clams, coriander seed potatoes, and samphire (coastal plant).
●Aniar – 53 Lower Dominick Street; 011-353-91-535-947; aniarrestaurant.ie; aniar is Gaelic for “Western”; intimate restaurant offering locavore-focused food in artful presentations; Irish meats (free-range duck, wild venison), fresh seafood, and vegetables; all prepared with local ingredients like gooseberries, ramson buds, seaweed, and sheep’s yogurt.
●Kai Cafe & Restaurant – Sea Road; 011-353-91-526-003; kaicaferestaurant.com; kai is Maori for “food”; New Zealander chef Jess Murphy has won acclaim for inventive dining spot set in stone-walled former flower shop; daily-changing menu features Kiwi-meets-Eire dishes.
●Martine’s – 21 Quay Street; 011-353-91-565-662; winebar.ie; French fries and oysters.
●Monroe’s Live – Upper Dominick Street (West End); 011-353-91-583-397; monroes.ie; pizza joint buried within turns out good pies.
●Charlie Byrne‘s – Cornstone Mall, Middle Street; 011-353-91-561-766; charliebyrne.com; sprawling bookshop specializing in Irish history, novels, and Irish-language poetry journals; select modern literary magazines like Crannóg.
●Galway Market – Church Lane (in front of St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church); galwaymarket.com; weekend farmers’ market; showcases fresh flowers and produce, as well as everything from samosas to sushi.
●McCambridge‘s – 38-39 Shop Street; 011-353-91-562-259; mccambridges.com; family-owned deli since 1925; inventory fit for modern foodies.
●Sheridans‘ Cheesemongers – 14-16 Churchyard Street; 011-353-91-564-829; sheridanscheesemongers.com.
Sights & Sites
●Druid Lane Theater – Druid Lane; 011-353-91-568-660; druid.ie.
●Galway City Museum – Spanish Parade; 011-353-91-532-460; galwaycitymuseum.ie; in glassy, moern facility; exhibitions on notable locals; on rainy days, settle into 2nd level area armchair with waterfront view.
●Hall of Red Earl – Druid Lane; galwaycivictrust.ie; crumbling 13th Century power seat remains discovered during recent construction project.
●Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Gardens – Pollacappul (Connemara); 011-353-95-41-146; kylemoreabbey.com; Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on Kylemore Castle grounds; abbey founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in WWI.
●Latin Quarter – galwaylatinquarter.net; city’s most popular bar area.
●Monroe’s Live – Upper Dominick Street (West End); 011-353-91-583-397; monroes.ie; often photographed for classic, world-weary facade; traditional ballads and music; only pub in city with regular Irish dancing; pizza joint buried within turns out good pies.
●Salthill Promenade – Salthill; place to people watch on rare warm, sunny days.
●Shed – Middle Pier, Galway City Harbour; 011-351-91-773-046 (ArtSpace); theshedgalway.blogspot.com; 4K' square industrial warehouse set on pier jutting into harbour; visual arts exhibition space.
●Shop Street – shops are largely chains and souvenir hawkers; worth stroll to see buskers displaying their talents at bagpipes, fiddles, etc.; also, as Shop Street runs into William Street, note bench built into statue of Oscar Wilde and his Baltic contemporary, Eduard Vilde, gift from Estonian city Tartu.
●Spanish Arch – Spanish Parade; looms over grassy patch of waterfront.
●Town Hall Theater – Courthouse Square; 011-353-91-569-777; tht.ie; 1820s courthouse-turned-town-hall-turned-cinema reimagined this time as performing arts complex; supports gatherings like annual Galway Arts Festival and Galway Film Fleadh; hosts nightly events year-round: stand-up comedy, visiting Polish cabaret act, plays, etc.
●West End – over Corrib River; galwayswestend.com; bar cluster in otherwise unsavory area.
●Delphi Lodge – 011-353-954-2222; delphilodge.ie; barebones but nice fishing lodge with stunning mountain locale.