Galway is One of Ireland’s Oldest Ports!
The Salthill of Galway is what used to be a central tourist destination for Irish visitors traveling from all over the country. Since the integration of the European Union and the subsequent ease of travel between European Nations, many Irish travelers have opted to visit other countries. However, Salthill is not to be overlooked. As a student traveler, I highly recommend visiting this coastal section. Not only does it have some of the best restaurants, you can catch surfers of all kinds and the more daring of swimmers, braving the cold Atlantic for a brisk dip.
Galway is one of Ireland’s oldest ports, dating back to medieval times and was the only city in the province of Connacht. Its rich history and accessible location brought many international influences to the city at an early stage, shown through much of the architecture, like the Spanish arch, and diversity of cultures still apparent in the population today. Salthill has been built up to accommodate tourists of all ages, with a casino, arcade, large hotel, and frequent events showcasing the heritage and beauty of the village. We enjoyed an authentic Italian lunch near the shoreline at a restaurant called Da Roberta’s, and I must say, the food, food varieties, freshness, and cost are all better in Galway than they are in Dublin. I felt like I was in a completely different country while enjoying my pizza.
After Salthill, a Galwegian cousin drove my friends and I along the coast through some of the Gaeltacht villages, which are Irish speaking regions, and up through Barna and Spiddal. The coastal villages are very beautiful with a variety of attractions to offer, like craft villages, seaside pubs, golf clubs and incredible scenery.
For students traveling from Dublin to Galway a roundtrip ticket costs 18euro via gobus.ie. The bus trip takes about two and half hours, but the countryside views along the way are a worthwhile site. Though other companies make the same trip, I highly recommend gobus.ie because they are very accommodating, comfortable, and provide free Wi-Fi on the busses themselves. If you need to change your travel arrangements, a quick call will have you on an earlier or later bus in no time. It is recommended to arrive at bus stops at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled departure on the weekends, as busses can be crowded and even if you have reserved a ticket, you may have to take the next bus (which isn’t too bad as they run every hour.)
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photo: Amy Wiener