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My Top Four Places in Galway, Ireland

Some of the first few comments I heard when I arrived in Galway is that it is a small city packed with great places to go. But how was I to know where these places are? Something that students studying abroad in Galway are bound to encounter is the realization that you’re clueless. Something I’ve learned though: Put yourself out there and explore! Try new places, ask around, and don’t be afraid to roam around the city. After a few weeks of trial and error, I have a handful of places in Galway that I consider my favorites.
 Java John's tea and coffee shop

I have come to absolutely adore the tea shops around town. The Lighthouse has many kinds of delicious teas for a really good price, which is really grand because it comes in a pot which serves about two and half cups. Coffee is also available as well as smaller meals. The scones are delicious! This is the place that got me addicted to them! The inside has a very quaint, cozy atmosphere but an outside sitting area is also an option. I’ve never seen it overly busy which leads me to believe it is a hidden gem. It’s the perfect place to sit and relax or even bring some homework to do. A café that’s closer to campus is Java Johns. It also has tea and coffee but the meal options are much wider. The prices are fair but what makes it especially financially appealing are the student deals! You can’t go wrong with coffee and a homemade scone for three euro! The staff is very relaxed and friendly and commonly play alternative or acoustic music softly. There’s a bar, tables, or, the place I always hope is open, the comfy chair in the corner. Oh! And how can I forget! There’s FREE wifi! Needless to say, it’s a great place to know if you’re a student!

When it comes to nightlife, Galway has a lot of options. But, for a pub with a traditional Irish feel, The Kings Head is a great choice. The building itself is beautiful and vintage with both an inside and outside area. There’s always a good mix of people: college students, older couples, and everyone else in between. Also, it’s a good blend of tourists and other visiting students as well as locals. I’ve made friends from America, Ireland, and many other countries in there! There are two floors with a balcony on the second that overlooks the stage. Almost every night has live music and one or two times a week it will be a traditional Irish band. There are many places to sit and a lot of room to stand so it never feels overly crowded and it’s easy to enjoy the music. Also, it’s right in the middle of downtown so it’s a quick walk to another place if you’re in the mood to wander, which is a great perk!
 Rocky shore of Galway Bay

If you’re in the mood for some outdoor exploring, Galway Bay is a perfect place. A large path follows the waters until the pier is reached, which is open to walk on. The rocky beach is also open to the public. The views are absolutely beautiful and the atmosphere is much calmer and relaxed than the city. For those that are runners, the trail is long enough that it makes a great jogging route. On rare sunny days, it is one of the best places to take advantage of the warm weather. Also, Galway is famous for its bay so it’s worth taking the time to explore one of the city’s notable features!

Rachel Balon is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Galway, Ireland. She is currently a senior at Keystone College.


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