Type: Weekend away
Length: 2 days
Getting there: (Hyundai i40 – rentalcars.com) Drive from Dublin to Galway (~2 hours).
The Low Down: After the night in Dublin we made tracks for Irelands most visited natural attraction – The Cliffs of Moher (see more below). Its worth mentioning, just briefly, don’t stop in Limerick. We did for lunch and it was an hour of my life I’ll never get back.
After nearly being blown off the cliffs a few times, we headed to our hotel (The Maldron Hotel Sandy Road), dumped our bags and went exploring. I’d heard so much about Galway’s nightlife, and it didn’t disappoint. First we hit Freeney’s (apparently the best pint of Guinness in Ireland) and the black stuff definitely impressed, we then continued to The Front Door, a massive maze of a pub with great music and oozing with character. After a few whiskeys here we then ventured to party venue The Quays, where the live band and rowdy crowd proved very entertaining. The night ended with a burrito (a suitable kebab substitute), a sign the night had definitely gone as planned.
We kicked off the next morning with a banging brekky from Ard Bia. Their Avo and Eggs are in-cred-ible and coffee is first class. Definitely recommend at least one stop here (we did 2). After feeding our faces we headed for Westport to meet a local friend who took us for a driving tour of County Mayo (more below). The scenery was stunning and capped off with the amazing weather (unheard of!) made this the highlight of the trip.
So getting to it, here’s my top 3:
My Top 3
1 – The Cliffs of Moher (www.cliffsofmoher.ie) – Entry from €6
Pretty bloody impressive. That fairly well sums this up. A must see on any visit to the west coast. The drive to and from Galway ain’t bad either via the Burren, its limestone rock formations make for a very alien like landscape.
2 – Exploring Galway Town
Galway has a great buzz and atmosphere and is probably the only city in Ireland I could actually say I could live. This is proper Ireland. The bars, the music filled streets, the food, the Guinness and the food after the Guinness all make this place a standout. As I mentioned before, Ard Bia is definitely worth hitting up for brekky/brunch, or at any other point, they do lunch and dinner too.
3 – Explore County Mayo and Connemara
Having the local low down is always the best, and we lucked out having our mate show us around. Here’s a brief itinerary of what we did, all definitely manageable in a day.
Meeting in Westport (a cool town – with great nightlife so I’m told!) we headed out of town making our first stop at Croagh Patrick, a ‘small mountain’ and pilgrimage destination. Given our rookie attire (jeans) and footwear choices (Stan Smiths) we bailed on climbing the hill and continued our tour; heres what we ticked off next:
- Old Head Beach – walked through a ‘rainforest’ (not tropical, but technically due to rainfall!) and out the other side to a stunning cliff walk (pic below)
- Carrowniskey Beach – Bit cold for a surf, but apparently one of the best spots on the coast.
- Doo Lough and Delphi – A couple of stunning lakes in a gorge, coupled with the baron landscape you’d think you were in New Zealand.
- Killary Fjord – Irelands only Fjord. We just drove alongside it, which in itself was very cool. But boat tours are available though if you have the time.
- Aasleagh Waterfall – Small falls, but definitely worth a stop and explore, if nothing more than for some cool selfies (yep we did it).
After this solid days exploring we headed back to Westport and to The Towers Bar and Restaurant, a local fave for good reason. The fish and chips are a standout.