Going for it in Galway

The Hedonist: What to see and where to be seen

Stepping out of the plane into the tiny building that is Knock Airport, I begin to have second thoughts. This airport is too small. How can a hedonist possibly find a good time in the countryside? Will there be cocktails? Two hours and miles of eyeball-tingling green scenery later, we arrive in Galway, a bustling city sitting right along the edge of the big, bad Atlantic Ocean.

The House Hotel (00 353 91 538 900; thehousehotel.ie) is our luxe retreat. As we check in, it's all pinks and sparkles and friendly staff, which goes at least some way to counteracting the weather (lashing rain) as does the promise of big-girl drinks in the sleek downstairs bar.

Happily, by morning the rain has cleared away as – bleary-eyed – we head for what I've been assured is the best breakfast in Galway at Lohan's (00 353 91 522 696; lohans.ie) in Salthill. We munch huge Irish breakfasts – bacon, sausages, eggs, black and white pudding – overlooking the icy blue waters of Galway Bay just outside.

We're meeting friends, so we grab a taxi back into the city centre. Our pals are engaging in a little retail therapy, which is never a bad idea, so we wander up the aptly named Shop Street, then find our way into Brown Thomas (00 353 91 565 254; brownthomas.com), where I resist the urge for a pair of Jimmy Choos but do manage to pick up a gorgeous Orla Kiely scarf as a souvenir.

Our friends then usher us down Quay Street to a bright blue pub we'd passed on the way up – Tigh Neachtain (00 353 91 568 820; tighneachtain.com). Several pints of Guinness later, the day has already started to get away from us. However, we are assured there are even better pints of Guinness to be had in Galway, so we head up the street to McDonagh's (00 353 91 565 001; mcdonaghs.net) for a heaped plate of some of the finest fish and chips I've ever tucked into, before moving on to The Dail Bar (00 353 91 563 777; thedailbar.com) for a few more velvety brews.

We pop back to the House to freshen up and drop off our shopping, then take a pre-dinner stroll up to the Michelin-starred Aniar (00 353 91 535 947; aniarrestaurant.ie), where head chef Enda McEvoy does a terroir-based menu of daily specials – the scallops with black pudding and cauliflower are a perfect match for Galway's fresh sea atmosphere.

From here, we continue around the corner to the quaint Crane Bar (00 353 91 587 419; the cranebar.com). Yet another round of Guinness later, we venture to the upstairs bar and cosy in for a candlelit traditional Irish music session.

We sample some more foot tapping and pint spilling in the completely unpronounceable Tig Coili (00 353 91 561 294), until they finally blink the lights to signal it's time to get home.

Next morning after a hearty hotel breakfast, there is only one thing for it: spa day. That's where the ESPA Spa at the g (00 353 91 865 200; theg.ie) comes in. This boutique hotel boasts one of the sexiest spas in Galway. I make a beeline for the thermal suite for a proper detox and then on to a facial at the expert hands of one of the spa's amazing therapists.

Welcome to the west of Ireland.

A Hedonist's Guide to ... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more info, see hg2.com

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat