Galway is really cute, fairly small and really touristy (a street performer every block, hard to walk through some of the crowds). I took the train from Dublin in the morning so I missed all the tours for the day. I had heard about the cliffs of Moher and I wanted to go, so I decided to take the local bus there (which cost more than the tour unfortunately). Anyway before I left I did the walking tour the hostel gave me- and it took all of 30 minutes lol. They have a church and there was a cool market outside, selling some unique irish gifts, among other things. The church was similar to the others I'd seen, but it's from the 13th century and still in use, so that's interesting.
There were other sites, like the Spanish arch and an old castle, some of which has been turned into a restaurant. Christopher Columbus came here in 1477 and most likely attended the church.
In the main square there was also an old doorway to a house, erected in the square, as the plaque says, to show the architectural character of the houses in Galway's 'civic opulence.'
Then it was time for the cliffs. A guy from Galway that I met in Berlin said it was 30 min away- what a liar lol. It was a two hour bus ride through some narrow roads in an area called the Burren. It was beautiful and totally worth it. They have a visitor centre, shops and a woman plying the harp near the cliffs (her cd is in the store). The cliffs themselves are massive drop offs. There are also tons of caves at the water's edge. I so wanted to explore them. I read that there are experienced cavers who have explored some of the caves but that they do fill up with water during high tide. They have set up viewing areas but there are paths beyond them with danger signs and a makeshift wall blocking the path. People go anyway, as did I. Walking further along the cliffs allow a better view and a beautiful hike. There are dangerous points but you can go around them, more inland. Tons of birds live on the cliffs and there is private farm land along the path, so there are cows around. I eventually stopped walking but if you keep going, you reach Hag's Head, a cliff in the shape of a woman's head. There are tons of stories and myths about the cliffs. People have died there, and there is a memorial to them. Honestly it's like the grand canyon in that one wrong move or playful push and that could be it for you. On the "no trespassing" walk there is one narrow area where they put up some big flat stones in a makeshift wall. The natural path takes you towards the cliff and some rock has fallen off so one point is extremely narrow- like a foot wide. The problem is the rock wall blocks you from easily moving over. After looking at my options I chose squeeze through 2 stones in the stone wall to the safe side. One wrong step... I was careful of course. Some people jumped a tall wall to an old, cement lookout area no longer in use, laid on their stomachs and looked down. I so wanted to do that, but not by myself. It was a tall wall too.
On the drive back, we passed a couple of what I assume were tourists who had somehow driven off the road, causing their car to be *on it's side,* if you can believe it. Just another reason why I don't think tourists should drive in Europe or the UK lol. Not to mention people in Ireland drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side. If you're wondering, of course I've looked the wrong way while crossing the street lol. Luckily some places have "look left" or "look right" written on the road! the drive was beautiful. We passed another castle and some amazing scenery.
A couple hours later I got back to Galway and met 5 of my roommates. They were already bonding and planning to go to some pubs, so I invited myself along. The first stop was The Quays, across the street. There was a live band- 3 guys playing and singing. In the group there was one American, two Germans, one Spanish and one English. Quite the eclectic group! After a couple beers we moved down the street to the Spanish Arch, named after the arch in the town near the water. It was packed! That's because they had an awesome band that sounded like the one in Titanic (remember the 3rd class party below deck? Yeah like that). It was awesome!!! And no cover. And they had cheap Hoegaarden! I got some good pics and video, then decided to call it a night. I had to make it to Killarney the next day at a decent hour.
Galway was cute but a little too touristy for my tastes. I loved the cliffs of moher and the pubs were awesome though.