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Meet the neighbourhood: A local’s guide to Galway

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By Lauren Heskin
06th Oct 2023
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Meet the neighbourhood: A local’s guide to Galway

IMAGE magazine editor Lauren Heskin takes us on a tour of Galway, from shopping to food and drinks.

In our latest iteration of “Meet the Neighbourhood”, we hit the sunny streets of Galway, its cobbled pedestrian paths bustling with locals and tourists alike.

So where should you go if you’ve got a few hours to kill in the City of the Tribes? With so much design talent, food choices, and of course many pubs to try, we’d better get going.

Shopping

One of the most beloved bookshops in the county is Charlie Byrne’s in the Corn Store, a cavernous collection of rooms all dedicated to the literary world. With books from floor to ceiling in every room, it is easy to get lost but thankfully the knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through the shop and uncover your next great read.

Galway

I picked up The Waters & The Wild by Gwen Wilkinson, a memoir of one woman’s canoeing adventure through Ireland’s inland waterways.

Plus, if you need a little sit down afterwards, Magpie Bakery, just opposite Charlie Byrne’s, boasts incredible coffee and even better croissants – go early to avoid disappointment.

The stream of people wandering from the River Corrib, along Quay Street and under the colourful flags of High Street tells you that this is the best place to pick up a gift in Galway. Nestled in the heart of it all is Kilkenny Design, who has been championing Irish makers and creatives for more than 50 years.

Galway

The light and bright jewellery section takes my eye immediately, the glint of Cork-based Enibas’ namesake jewellery in particular.

Soon however, I’m drawn into the wide array of Irish skincare brands and I quickly snap up a silky smooth bar of seaweed soap and salt scrub from Sligo’s VOYA, while I lingered at Seabody, a new Irish brand to join the collection. Its clean monotoned packaging is wrapped around beautifully scented creams and cleansers.

Finally, there’s an extensive array of clothes to be found upstairs, from brands like Orla Kiely, Seasalt and White Stuff and of course, Kilkenny’s colourful Heritage Collection. Made with Ireland’s finest makers, I’ve definitely got my eye on an orange Aran sweater.

Galway

If you have time, it’s worth popping across the street to the tiny Cloon Keen, a Galway fragrance and candle atelier for a nose.

Eat & Drink

One of the key things to know about Galway cuisine is that it’s rarely fancy. No bells and whistles, they prefer to let the ingredients and flavours do all the talking. Which is probably why Prátaí, a new Galway chipper bringing the lowly French fry to new heights, has become a firm favourite.

Located on the corner of St Nicholas’s Lane (where you can catch the market on Saturday mornings), you can select a cone of fries in three sizes: Big, Bigger and Biggest. Big is big enough to share and while they have some incredible sauce options, I would highly recommend Yop-Outtavit, a sweet and creamy curried sauce that resembles the classic Belgian frite sauce. Yum.

Take a wander down to the Spanish Arch and perch on one of the stone benches overlooking the river and enjoy your chips… if you haven’t eaten them all already.

And finally, if you really fancy a sip of the black stuff, there are three pubs within a few hundred metres that have split Galwegians as to who serves the best Guinness. The only way to know for sure is to order your own in Tigh Neachtain, The Dew Drop Inn and Tig Chóilí and find out for yourself.  

“Meet the Neighbourhood” is brought to you in partnership with Champion Green. Champion Green is the biggest #SupportLocal movement in a generation, encouraging the people of Ireland to seek local where possible and shop consciously online to keep our towns and communities vibrant for years to come. Champion Green is supported by Kilkenny Design and Visa, in association with Retail Excellence, Small Firms Association, Chambers Ireland, Maxol and AIB Merchant Services. Learn more at championgreen.ie.