Gluttony in Galway, Ireland

October 17, 2014

latin quarter, galway, ireland

Galway is brilliant. And I never saw it coming.

My Dad and I booked our trip to Ireland on a whim, electing to include the country’s most historic port city in our itinerary just a day before we left the UK. What an excellent decision that turned out to be.

Although we only spent two nights, that was all it took to win us over. I’ve no doubt that the perfect weather and plethora of better-tasting Guinness and best-ever-tasting fish and chips had a lot to do with it, but just the city itself was a joy to discover.

The train station is conveniently located, in front of Eyre Square, perhaps the centre’s greenest, prettiest and trendiest area. But all roads lead to Galway Bay, the area of the city made famous by The Pogues’ reference in ‘A Fairytale of New York‘. We wander over soon after arriving to find a game of Canoe Polo taking place. On the sidelines, a bunch of young Irish lads are showing their support between swigs of buckfast– “Go on 10, go on 10, you’re the man 10!”, “You’re shite 8, you’re shite!”, “I fuckin’ love you 10!”  –under the backdrop of a stunning sunset of yellow, orange, pink and blue. It’s a confusing paradox but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

canoe polo, galway bay, ireland

Canoe Polo in Galway Bay

galway cathedral, ireland

Galway Cathedral

The nearby Spanish Arch, a remaining piece of the extensive wall used to protect the old quays, adds a slice of history to the experience, while to its right on the wall of The Galway Museum an impressive street art sketch of a man’s face adds a touch of modernity. Another welcomed contrast.

eyre square, galway, ireland, monument

Monument in Eyre Square

galway bay, street art, galway museum

Street Art on The Galway Museum in Galway Bay

If Galway Bay is the heart of the city, then the long, lively and entertaining Latin Quarter strip is doubtless its wide-reaching aorta. Along here you’ll find charming street performers, supremely talented musicians/bands and some of the nation’s best-known bars and eateries. That same afternoon, before arriving at Galway Bay, we stumble upon one performer, who we suspect is a massive Green Day fan given his black shirt/red tie combination, entertaining a burgeoning crowd. He juggles swords and burning sticks while balancing on a lofty and rather unstable looking unicycle– pretty impressive –but a raw element of unadulterated Irish wit makes his act far more amusing than the ordinary spectacle and sets the scene for our stay perfectly.


The heavy waft of battered fish and chips soon becomes irresistible, so we make a beeline for the famous McDonagh’s Fish Bar, where the queue is almost tailing out the front door. Undeterred, we join and wait, until at last we are rewarded with what we both agree is the best fish ‘n’ chip dinner either of us have ever had. There are two parts to the bar: a crowded, grab-a-seat-where-you-can type section right beside the queue– redolent of the classic greasy spoon diner –and a small restaurant area separated by a waist-high wall, where old paintings and fish-themed decorations reel in our curiosity. The Cod Bake and Chips is deep-fried heaven.

mcdonaghs fish bar, galway, ireland

McDonagh’s Fish ‘n’ Chips

fish and chips, mcdonaghs, galway, ireland

Best Fish ‘n’ Chips ever had! At McDonagh’s Fish Bar

Back on the Latin Quarter drag bars are beginning to fill up. We don’t stray far before being tempted in by a trad band playing Irish songs to a squashed crowd. I fail to recognise a single song but the sheer talent on display is unmistakable. There are three of them, and none need their notes to read from. In fact their eyes remain closed almost the entire time, as they strum and harmonise together impeccably. The next bar– The Front Door –features another acoustic band, who play hits spanning the 60s to the present day in a much more intimate setup. We watch again, mesmerised. “Why didn’t you encourage me to learn the guitar, Dad?” I ask. “You’re left-handed son. No-one would’ve been able to teach you” he replies. “But what about McCartney, Hendrix and Kurt Cobain? Someone must have taught them!” “They taught themselves. They were geniuses” he winks. Cheers Dad.

latin quarter, galway, ireland

Musicians performing in a pub I can’t remember the name of…

latin quarter, galway, ireland

The Latin Quarter, Galway

We are so impressed with McDonagh’s and The Front Door that we actually return to both the following night. A tad unadventurous perhaps, but a guarantee of another great night, despite being midweek. Galway is rocking every night, and I will be back armed to the teeth with best mates next time. And what the heck, Dad can come too.

galway bay, ireland, sunset

Sunset over Galway Bay

Have you ever been to Galway? What did you eat/drink/see/listen to?


  1. Comment by Vanessa

    Vanessa October 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Jealous on that fish and chips! I can hear my tummy grumbling just by looking at it. Great post!

    • Comment by Josh

      Josh October 26, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Yeah it was pretty much the best damn fish n chips I’ve ever tasted! And devoured… 😉

  2. Comment by Jenna

    Jenna October 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    What a cute city! I have not been to Ireland, and I know I’ve missed out. That image on the museum is striking!
    Jenna recently posted…Hello Fall?My Profile

    • Comment by Josh

      Josh October 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Yeah awesome city. And that street art is so impressive. If you wanna see more head over to this post 🙂

  3. Comment by Sara

    Sara November 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Ah, Galway looks amazing. I’m looking into doing a work-stay in Ireland after I’m done here in Germany. I want to do a city other than Dublin (I think) so it’s awesome to read what people think about the other cities!
    Sara recently posted…Street Art: A Euro TripMy Profile

    • Comment by Josh

      Josh November 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

      Galway. Definitely Galway! It’s DEADLY!

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