The Cool Girl's Guide To Galway - The Gloss Magazine

The Cool Girl’s Guide To Galway

If you’re heading west for a weekend break, pack these tips from residents on where to stay, dine, shop and play …

Laoise Leahy, owner By Leahy, Fine Jewellery, @byleahy

For coffee: “We are spoiled for choice for good coffee in Galway. Take your pick from Urban Grind, Espresso 44, and Plámás, which puts a lovely spin on the use of Irish – order as Gaeilge and you get a discount. I love the Irish language, so much that it inspired my “Home Is Where the Heart Is” collection. Plámás has made a great effort to spotlight the fun side of our native language.”

For brunch: “Urban Grind has an incredible ability to serve the most intriguing mix of flavours on a plate, leaving you both delightfully surprised and completely satisfied. Corrib House Tea Rooms also has one of the best views in the city – the Salmon Weir and River Corrib – if you’re lucky enough to get one of the window seats.”

For dinner: “Kai is a must in Galway – a Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant that makes you feel right at home. What’s in season will be on your plate, and you must leave room for dessert! Moran’s Oyster Cottage is worth a visit, it’s famous for fresh seafood and delicious pints.”

For a night out with the girls: “I love a good pint of Guinness so a great night out with the girls would involve a potter between Hughes in Woodquay, Freeney’s on High Street and Tigh Neachtain on Cross Street.”

Favourite art gallery and bookshops: “Outset Gallery is a fantastic addition to the Cornstore, Galway’s indoor market. I bought my first Shane O’Driscoll print there, which brings a delightful burst of colour to my bench space. My mum Lorraine Wall, a visual artist, brought me and my two older sisters to The Kenny Gallery many, many moons ago. When I’m passing, I still love to pop in and see the latest original artworks on display.”

For family fun: “Rediscovering Coole Park a few years ago has resulted in it becoming one of our happy places. I feel so lucky to have it on our doorstep. We visit most weekends – weather permitting! The tea rooms serve gorgeous coffee, baked treats and food, and despite how busy the car parks get, it always feels like the most tranquil space. Plus it’s very safe for little ones to run freely.”

Sheena Dignam, Galway Food Tours, @galwayfoodtours

For coffee: “Little Lane is where you can find me ahead of our tours; Jen and Graham and their team are always super and Calendar coffee is part of my daily diet. If I have more time I like to sit upstairs in FairHill Coffee + Design: Sinead and Sibeal are so passionate about the coffee they put in each funky cup.”

For walks: “I enjoy The Long Walk and browsing the (free) Galway Museum, as well as strolling around the canals, cathedral and university campus.”

For brunch: “Ard Bia because their pancakes are so fluffy and the space is always so inspiring. I also love Dela; they always have the freshest greens on their brunch menu from their farm.”

For drinks with friends: “I go to The Bunch of Grapes, where the Guinness is always good, and there’s always a warm welcome and good chats with the bar staff. Hughes in Woodquay also does a mighty pint.”

For a special dinner: “Ean serves great small plates and wines. I love to sit at the bar counter in Daróg Wine Bar – it has beautiful food and a very interesting selection of wines. For special occasions, it’s got to be Aniar – they have just launched their new dining experience and I can’t wait to check it out.”

Best late-night venue: “Blue Note, the DJs are always great and I love shaking a leg on the dance floor when the mood is right.”

For shopping: “I go to Aplomb, Kindfolk and Public Romance for original and sustainable fashion. I enjoy window shopping at Tempo Antiques and there are some great second hand stores along Sea Road and William’s Street – you never know what you might find.”

For arty events: “Outset Gallery always host different artists, and you’ll find some good street art along the Spanish Arch opposite the Museum. The Black Gate will be reopening soon – it’s always a good place to check out new art exhibitions.”

Favourite hotel: “The Stop bed and breakfast is a special place for me. Its owners, Emer and Russel, have curated the space beautifully and serve a wonderful breakfast – the emphasis is on local ingredients from the granola to the coffee and all the deliciousness in-between.”

Elena Santos, co-founder Just Art It, @justartitgalway

My neighbourhood cafe: “Plámás – it is the coolest little cafe and they have Hapi bakery treats, made by Kai’s owner Jess Murphy.”

Favourite spot for brunch: “I always like going to Urban Grind and Dela, but lately I’ve fallen in love with Green & Co as they have delicious plant-based food and natural teas.”

For drinks with friends: “I always head to Galway’s west end because there is such a good variety of pubs and great bars, from the Crane Bar to The Universal, Bierhaus, or Taylor’s.”

For dinner: “Kai is my special one always. For more casual dining I recommend Hooked in Henry Street and Deli La Tasca for the best tapas!”

Best late night venues: “Massimo and Blue Note.” 

Favourite shops: “Aplomb for sustainable fashion and Aran Sweater Market for my favourite blankets.”

Favourite galleries: “Galway’s Art Centre, Outset and 126 Gallery.”

A must visit: “There is a Wednesday Latino night in Monroes which is a truly Galwegian experience, with an amazing live band and multicultural crowd. I always enjoy it!”

Don’t leave: “Without buying oysters in the Galway Market on Saturdays.”

Gráinne Mullins, chef and founder of Grá Chocolates, @grainnemullins

For coffee: “I go to Brazco in Oranmore for a coffee and lunch with friends. In Galway city, I love to get an iced chai latte in Espresso 44.”

Favourite market: “The weekend market at Saint Nicholas’ Collegiate Church is my favourite place to wander, where I always make room for some pea and potato curry. When I’m there, I stock up on organic veggies for the week ahead. Also, the Juice Genie has fabulous juices to keep you hydrated while you wander around.”

For dinner: “Ruibín and Éan are my go to restaurants in Galway. I also love Moran’s on the Weir for delicious seafood.”

For shopping: “Harper is one of my favourite stores to shop in Galway and Les Jumelles is also full of gorgeous pieces. However, the fashion designer Roisín Dockry creates exquisite pieces that are made here in Galway.”

For sweet treats: “Magpie Bakery is a new addition to Galway. I choose something different every time I am there but it’s never an easy decision. Truffle also has gorgeous desserts to take home. Its hazelnut eclair is one of the best I have had in years.”

For drinks: “I love a nice wine bar and the recently opened Daróg is my first choice. The food is delicious.”

Aoibhéann MacNamara, owner Ard Bia Restaurant, Shop and AirBnb, @ardbianimmos

For coffee: “For super flat whites I love my friend Ciaran’s spot Plámás, around the corner from my house. He is very community-aware and an amazing photographer to boot. Of course, my other go-to is Coffeewerk + Press, it’s an utterly inspiring shop and a beautiful experience from start to finish.”

For lunch: “It has to be Kai for lunch – the restaurant has the nicest Maitre D’ in the business.”

For cocktails: “I go to The Universal for cocktails and also dinner. They serve simple, seasonal small plates and buttered new potatoes which are pitch perfect. It’s always a kinetic space filled with gorgeous, fun people. For superb natural wines and a charcuterie board, I recommend Sheridan’s wine bar.”

For a night out with the girls: “My girls would rather go for a swim, a sauna and an ice bath and there are great new ice baths and a sauna at the old diving range in Salthill – Wim Hof eat your heart out! After having a swim, I always go to the buzzy Blackrock Cottage for drinks.”

For shopping: “The Tweed Project studio for all things made, inspired and produced in the west of Ireland with our indigenous Irish fabrics in a contemporary way.”

Favourite beach: “We are spoilt for choice with six beaches in Salthill. My favourite is Tra Sallin past Spiddal, it’s a totally unique and isolated beach. The bonus there is no phone coverage, so it’s an ideal place to disconnect completely.”

Ciara O’Neill, artist, @ciaraoneillart

For coffee: “My neighbourhood cafe is Abbert Lifestyle Store & Grocery for its amazing food, coffee, pastries and local handmade gift ideas. If I have a long day of painting ahead I always pop in for a coffee and some pastries to bring to my studio as a treat while I paint.”

For brunch: “The menu at Dela restaurant located on Dominic St never disappoints. It’s walk-in only but you will always get a table.”

For drinks: “I always go to Tigh Nora Gin Bar because it’s the perfect atmosphere for a cocktail with the girls – the decor and dimmed lighting creates the perfect space for a catch up. Their margaritas are my favourite in Galway.”

For dinner: “One of my go-to places is Sophie’s rooftop restaurant at The Dean. Again the decor has a big draw for me to this place. I love the chandeliers in here and the food is also amazing. It has such a warm and inviting atmosphere either for a date or for a girly catch-up.”

For shopping: “Brown Thomas for its fashion and selection of handbags. For homewares and gifts, The Fancy Nest. Deirdre has an unbelievable selection available from lighting to furniture to candles.”

For art: “The Galway Arts Festival Gallery pops up once a year during July – it’s located on William Street. I can’t wait to see who will be on show this summer.”

I always: “Buy some art supplies from Powells. I can’t help but pop in there for a look when I’m walking down Shop Street and never leave empty handed!”


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