Destination Guide: Galway City - The Gloss Magazine

Destination Guide: Galway City

Thinking of a summer break in the City of Tribes? Keep these recommendations handy …

Celebrate an Irish summer with our Fly The Flag Destination Guides featuring travel tips, restaurant recommendations, luxurious hotel stays and a focus on Irish shops and produce. If you are planning an Irish getaway – scroll and save for your next trip …


The Lodges at Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate

Best for: A pet-friendly, self-catering holiday. The Lodges are a new addition to Glenlo and comprise eleven luxury, self-catering residences within the 138-acre grounds and a short stroll from the elegant five-star hotel. These lodges are the perfect home away from home for families with pets, golfers and groups of any size. Options range from one-, two- or three- ensuite bedroom lodges all contemporary in style, with a colour scheme inspired by the surrounding lakeside landscape and rose garden. Each Lodge has its own private entrance and notable details include a marble fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, and patio area with barbecues available to hire. Guests staying for seven nights will receive a Glenlo Welcome Hamper – barbecue hampers are also available as are picnics. Guests staying can of course dine at Glenlo’s eateries which include the River Room Restaurant overlooking the estate, the Pullman Restaurant on The Orient Express, the Oak Cellar Bistro and Palmers Bar & Kitchen. Other facilities include golf, with a driving range, falconry, fishing, estate bicycles and the GLO Spa & Wellness facilities further enhancing any stay.

The Hardiman, Eyre Square

Best for: An impulse break in a central location. If you’re not in the mood to drive to Galway, hop on a train and when you arrive, The Hardiman is literally a two minute walk from the station. This “grande dame” overlooks Eyre Square and is offering some special rates during July and August. The Hardiman is offering €30 off its one night, dinner, bed and breakfast package, for selected dates, these range from €299, in a twin or double room, with upgrades available at €40. Having stayed in the hotel, we can recommend its Oyster Lounge for cocktails and light bites, or the elegant Gaslight Brasserie for dinner. The secret of The Hardiman’s success is its generous hospitality and easy charm – it’s not too pretentious;

The Galmont Hotel & Spa

Best for: A good value family holiday. Overlooking Lough Atalia, The Galmont is a great base for exploring the area or making the most of GIAF – Galway International Arts Festival which runs until July 30. Festival goers can enjoy overnight accommodation, a delicious buffet breakfast, full access to the hotel’s leisure centre complete with swimming pool, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and outdoor hot tub, cocktails for two in Coopers Bar as well as a coupon code for 10% off festival tickets and a 2023 Organic Grey or Black Tee. Rates start from €261 per room.

Ard Bia At Nimmos

Best for: An inspiring Airbnb. For fashion and food lovers two destinations are must-dos in Galway – Ard Bia At Nimmos restaurant which also stocks lovely jams, chutneys and chocolate – as well as The Tweed Project. The design duo have been working away on the new collection featuring bold colours and shoulders. The restaurant’s sister AirBnB is now taking bookings. It’s pretty and pared back – in keeping with the Ard Bia ethos – and allows for independence while providing inspiration for interiors fans too;


Paula Flynn of and THE GLOSS collated a fabulously diverse and exciting list of independent retailers around Ireland for The Best Shops Ireland and we couldn’t resist featuring some of them in our Irish Destination Guides for the summer. Look no further, here is where to shop in Galway City.

Cloon Keen, 21a High Street, Galway

This West of Ireland shop with its medieval-like archway opening onto a cobble-stoned street is the perfect environment for Cloon Keen’s line of poetic perfumes and candles. The founders of Cloon Keen, Margaret Mangan and Julian Checkley, met whilst working on a film production. For them creating scents is akin to weaving a story, with scents informed by the history, nature, and myths of Ireland. All Cloon Keen’s perfumes and candles are composed and hand poured in Galway.  @cloonkeen

Coffeewerk + Press, 4 Quay Street, Galway

A tall 400 year old building on a cobbled street in Galway is home to Coffeewerk + Press and owned by Dan Ulrichs. There’s much to love about this award-winning, design-driven coffee shop that not only offers delicious coffee but the perfect edit of Japanese and Scandinavian homewares and printed goods. Bright yellow accents feature on the windows and door of Coffeewerk + Press and a carefully edited selection of yellow products punctuate the interior and website. Coffee beans are sourced from roasters in Pennsylvania and a partnership of roasters in Copenhagen that features artwork by local artists on the packaging.

KindF_olk, Unit 10 The Corn Store, Middle Street 

A modern and airy contemporary menswear store with a selection of books, home goods and apothecary items and a coffee bar. Established in 2021 by fashion industry veteran Declan McGowan, Kindf_olk’s Scandi aesthetic is the perfect backdrop for the mix of ethically-made goods with a focus on sustainability. Photography by Madison O’Toole.

A. Hartmann & Son, 29 William Street

This fourth-generation family business is an institution in Galway, specialising in engagement rings, diamond jewellery and fine jewellery brands such as Fope, Fabergé and Marco Bicego. “We are also the west of Ireland’s only stockists of Tag Heuer and Longines watches,” says owner Richard Hartmann.

Wooden Heart, 3 Quay Street

Established in 1979 by Barbara and Nanke Ulrichs, Wooden Heart is a family-run toy and gift shop. Housed over three floors in a building dating to 1580, the shop offers high-quality wooden toys that spark childhood imagination and creativity. Expect well-made and classic toys, puzzles, and books, many of which are sourced from traditional, family-run European makers.

Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, The Cornstore, Middle Street

Established in 1988 in Galway, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop has expanded over the years to six rooms housing more than 100,000 new, bargain, secondhand and antiquarian books. The exterior walls that face into The Cornstore, a covered shopping mall, are lined with eye-catching fully stacked bookshelves;

Kenny’s Bookshop, Liosban Business Park, Tuam Road

Going strong since the 1940s, Kenny’s in Galway is just as relevant today with its huge stock of books on site and a busy online business too.


Top tips and hidden gems as recommended by our Food Editor Ciara McQuillan …

“Beautiful beaches and a buzzy, bohemian city that is a cultural epicentre, Galway has it all; and that includes an abundance of great places to eat,” says Ciara.

Kai, Sea Road

One of Galway’s most famous restaurants, a trip to Kai doesn’t disappoint. It can sometimes be difficult to combine tasty food with a beautiful aesthetic that is also healthy and satisfying but the team at Kai manage to create dishes that incorporate all of the above. And let me tell you about the cakes. So far we have spied a stunning layered sticky salted caramel bake, the most ethereal lemon meringue, a pistachio and rose concoction that looked too pretty to eat and a macadamia and roasted white chocolate tart that is tempting me to hop on a train to Galway.

Aniar, Dominick St Lower

If you are visiting with children, a trip to Aniar will be a treat for family members of all ages. Chef/proprietor JP McMahon is a true advocate of Irish food and at Aniar, children are encouraged rather than simply tolerated, as can often be the case. The children’s tasting menu at the one Michelin star Aniar consists of five courses and is priced at €65 making it the perfect foray into the world of fine dining for junior gourmands.

Il Vicolo, O’Brien’s Bridge

On a sunny afternoon, it is almost impossible to beat dining at the charming Il Vicolo while suspended on a terrace overlooking the River Corrib. Originally an old mill, today the building is home to one of Ireland’s best Italian restaurants. The food is contemporary Italian with a wealth of local produce making the cut onto the menu. On a recent visit, the Tuscan meatballs with Grana Padano and grilled ciabatta did not disappoint.

Ean, Druid Lane

From Wednesday to Sunday (from 5.30pm to 10pm), the wine bar at Ean in Galway offers a lighter bar snack-focused menu and a wide selection of natural biodynamic wines, many of which are available by the glass. The wine selection is accompanied by a range of seasonal snacks and sharing plates to suit all palates. There are small and larger plates with house made pickles, charcuterie plates and grilled local vegetables, meat and fish. Dexter tartare with green olive and bone marrow? Hard yes.

Elsewhere, not to be missed, seafood from O’Grady’s on the Pier in lovely Barna, fine dining in West at The Twelve Hotel, and tapas enthusiasts will be more than well fed in buzzy Cava. Further afield, The Fisherman’s Pub & Ranji Room at Ballynahinch Castle is a rustic gem with excellent food and in Cleggan, Little Fish is serving up tasty seafood with optional Aperol spritz. (For more food spots in Connemara see the Destination Guide.) The pub grub at O’Dowd’s in Roundstone is well worth seeking out and finally, I spend a significant amount of my time drooling at the food served up at Rúibín in Galway City. 


Penny McCormick, Deputy Editor, recommends the following…

Where To Stay: The Dean Galway has everything you may expect from The Dean hotels (funky rooms, rooftop bars and restaurants and an arty influence), with some added Galway charm. Something of an insider secret is its Power Gym, (perfect for wet weather!) where guests can enjoy luxury thermal facilities, drop in classes and its pool. Currently on offer is a Vitamin Dean overnight stay which includes breakfast in Sophie’s Rooftop Restaurant and a €25 dinner credit per person to use in Elephant & Castle. From €224;

Where To Brunch: Corrib House and Tea Rooms, 3 Waterside, a restored Georgian townhouse which has views of the River Corrib and also five guestrooms;

Where To Have Afternoon Tea: Afternoon tea at The g Hotel is a Galway institution, mainly because of the setting in the Grand Salon overlooking Lough Atalia and also the faultless service. This summer, there is a fun Barbie-licious Afternoon Tea experience, priced at €35 per person, with a glass of pink prosecco (€12.50) or a delicious glass of Taittinger Rosé (€25.50);

For Fashion Lovers: Check out costume designer Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh’s collaboration with Galway-based designers The Tweed Project to recreate knitwear based on The Banshees of Inisherin’s iconic collared sweater. The sweater priced at €790 and available in various shades, is based on a photograph Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh found of a fisherman from the early 20th century, on the Aran Islands;

For Culture Vultures: Check out the programme for the Galway Festival which is currently on until July 30. There are various art and photography exhibitions – including “Whistling in the Dark” by Ruby Wallis at the Galway Arts Centre and a seaside installation on Salthill Promenade, which features recorded excerpts from the Proteus episode of Ulysses, read by Olwen Fouéré directed by Louise Lowe. Do check out the various installations around the city, by David Mach, Diana Copperwhite and Grafton Architects;

For Foodies: An invaluable guide to Galway is The Galway Food Tours Self-Guided Pocket Book, devised by friends Sheena Dignam and Gosia Letowska, which also has an innovative self-guided app. It contains everything you need to know about the Galway hospitality scene, plus some discounts and vouchers too;

For Whiskey Lovers: Try the Galway Whiskey Trail which takes participants to twelve locations which have been integral to Galway’s whiskey heritage. These include Persse Galway Distillery (established in 1815), Tigh Neachtain in the Latin Quarter where there is an extensive whiskey menu, McCambridges (one of Galway’s oldest grocery stores with an off licence), An Púcán in Eyre Square or The Dáil, a pub that exudes old-world charm. This is ideal for group bookings;

If you visit any of these spots on your next trip to Galway City, be sure to let us know! Tag us on Instagram using #FlyTheFlag and @theglossmag. Or email us on, we would love to hear from you …

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