It will only take a visit to the centuries-old street market in Galway city on a Saturday afternoon, where countless food stalls are sandwiched between arts and crafts stands and buskers playing merry Irish tunes, for you to appreciate the title of the ‘cultural heart of Ireland’. Stop by Galway Market for fresh produce from local farms, or we can book you a table at one of the city’s handful of Michelin starred restaurants. Spend a weekend in the city and explore its delights along with the nearby green pastur
Saturday Morning: Exploring Galway City
Galway, or the ‘city of the tribes’ as it is known, is a fine example of a medieval city that used to send out its trading ships to the world. Let your private guide tell you about the history, but also the story of how the city has evolved into a vibrant modern place filled with great places to eat, shop and dine. Hosting over 120 festivals each year, the streets are always alive and spirited with street performers and festivities. Wander through the old town to see the medieval city walls and stumble upon artisanal shops selling antiques and hand-crafted Claddagh rings.
LUNCHTIME You’ll be eating your way around the city this afternoon, so stick to a light bite and a liquid refreshment. Most Guinness aficionados will also tell you to only trust a Guinness that’s been poured by someone with an Irish accent. Of course, this is a much easier task when you are on Irish soil.
Saturday Afternoon: Galway Food Tour
Enjoy a walking tour of the city and experience the best of Galway’s local cuisine. Your local private guide will show you the city’s hidden food treasures, from new artisans to traditional family businesses. There’s no better way to discover a place’s history and traditions than through its food, so indulge your taste buds as you explore. From Griffins Bakery owned by the same family since 1876, try the salted seaweed loaf. End with local tipple tasting including poitín, a once prohibited Irish spirit (only legalised in 1997) and made from bogbean.
DINNER TIME Head to Kai (Michelin Bib Gourmand), a local legend for its honest, seasonal and local ingredients. Menus change daily and it’s a very popular spot for brunch if you want to visit again!
Sunday: Aran Islands Day Trip
The Aran Islands perfectly exemplify the spirit of coastal Ireland all at once – desolate, weather-beaten, and utterly beguiling. Inis Meáin is the least inhabited of the three, with unparalleled natural beauty, culture, and history in a living community. Skip the turbulent ferry crossing and opt for a quick, easy flight on Aer Arann from the mainland to this wild Atlantic haven; the journey takes mere minutes and the views are unbeatable. There are stunning coastal hikes from two to eight hours in length, taking in sea cliffs, wave-cut platforms, puffing holes, beaches and dunes. With a picnic lunch, brave a swim in the Atlantic waters, hike past towering cliffs and beaches or take a rod and try your luck at the end of the pier.
DINNER TIME Chef JP McMahon at Michelin starred Aniar Restaurant has fostered old Irish cooking and preservation methods, all of which feature on his menu, from curing and pickling to smoking and fermenting.
The Drive Home: The Cliffs of Moher
Take only a short detour on the drive back to Shannon Airport to the majestic Cliffs of Moher. As Ireland’s top natural attraction and an iconic view from many movie scenes, you’d be a fool to miss it!
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