I arrived in Dublin on Friday morning and met my husband in the arrivals hall. He had already picked up the rental car so we would be ready to go as soon as I arrived. As a side note, if you have rental car insurance through your credit card company, ask them for a letter outlining that coverage. The Avis representative asked for such a letter when my husband declined the extra insurance they wanted to sell us.
We hit the road heading for Galway. It took us approx. 2.5 hours and was a fairly easy drive with little traffic.
Once there we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay and afterwards walked along Salthill Promenade taking in the ocean views. We were very lucky with the weather and had clear skies and enjoyed our stroll along the Galway Bay.
Afterwards, we drove into the city center to check into our accommodations for the evening. We stayed at a quaint guesthouse where the rooms had names, not numbers. The location was excellent, opposite a cathedral, with beautiful views of the river and swans floating by. Each room was decorated differently with comfortable furnishings including a sitting area, desk, wardrobe, and a tray for tea and coffee laid out which was a lovely touch.
We set out right away to walk to the city center and discovered what a charming city Galway is. We walked around Eyre Square where a man was blowing giant bubbles with a rope and children were jumping with joy around him. People were picnicking and enjoying the beautiful day. We proceeded to walk down Shop Street to the Spanish Arch and along the river before heading back to a pub we had spotted on Shop Street to enjoy some Guinness and lager.
After relaxing in the pub, we headed to Oscar’s for dinner. What a pretty restaurant it was! We ordered potted crab and sautéed shrimp for appetizers and for main course we had pan fried hake with steamed mussels in a white wine sauce and plaice and dover sole. We wanted to try a local dish for dessert which was a salted caramel & Baileys Carrageen pudding with vanilla ice cream. Carrageen Moss is a seaweed which is found in the south and west coasts of Ireland, which when boiled yields a gelatin like substance, so Carrageen pudding turns out to be like an Irish Panna Cotta. It was delicious! The restaurant staff were beyond nice and warm and we couldn’t say enough good things about our meal and entire experience at Oscars!
As an added bonus, the restaurant manager gave us a tip about a local pub to go to which was within walking distance where we could listen to traditional Irish music. We went straight there and were so grateful for his suggestion! The place was a real find! The band was playing upstairs in this old, dark pub and we had to stand in the doorway because the room was packed! The music was indeed traditional Irish music and we loved it! Eventually we found seats in the room as people left and enjoyed the atmosphere, the musicians and a few drinks into the wee hours.
What a full and fabulous first day in Ireland!
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Brook Bramley is a travel agent and the owner of TripBoutiq. She loves to share her passion for travel and exploring the world!