First I want to apologize for the multiple updates over the last few days. I had less than reliable internet over the last week especially where uploading pictures was concerned.
We left Blarney castle in the rain and headed out to Galway. We took a more direct way up there this time. Last trip we followed the coast up and took a ferry over. We were a bit pressed for time since we wanted to maximize our time in Cork. We made it to the Bed and Breakfast around 8:30 that evening. We were staying in the town of Salt Hill at the Clare Villa B&B which is just outside of Galway. We typically don’t stay in the city center when we’re in a larger town since we usually day trip out of town.
We checked into the B&B and asked for dinner recommendations from the owner. We ended up going into Salt Hill town center instead of going into Galway that night since we were a bit tired. The drive was about 2 and half hours and we’d had a full day that day already. It was very windy and rainy in Galway and Salt Hill was no exception. Salt Hill town center is really the boardwalk area right on the bay and we felt the wind and the rain there. If you end up in the west coast of Ireland you are going to want a good raincoat and warmer clothes. Most residents walk around in rain boots and coats it seems most of the time.
We looked at menus for several establishments trying to figure out what we wanted. We settled on a local pub named Inishmore because we got a recommendation from a Louisiana couple who had just eaten there. I had a lovely seafood chowder, fish and chips, and a berry crumble. It had been several years since I had an authentic crumble. It was every bit as good as I remember.
We saved most of our shopping for Galway. Galway city center is one of the better places for Claddagh jewelry and sweaters. The great thing about that area of Galway is that you can visit 5 or 6 stores in a row and find a pretty good variety of souvenirs. You can find selections from throughout Ireland no matter where you go. If you like something you should go ahead and get it though. There’s no guarantee you’ll find exactly that same item again.
The next day we headed out to Galway city center after breakfast. We wanted to go out to the Aran Islands but the weather just didn’t cooperate. You can either go by plane or by ferry. We wanted to try the plane because of everything we had planned. The next time we go we’re going to just plan for the ferry and make a day trip out of it. You need a full day for the ferry while you can just plan a half day for the plane. We’re also going to look at going in June to minimize the bad weather on the western side.We stopped at Eyre Square and I noticed the name banners there. I think I have family ties going back and my dad and I have an ongoing family tree project so it was cool to see that.
Jewelry is one of my weaknesses so I tend to shop like there is no tomorrow. We were also working on getting a surprise anniversary gift for our vet to give to his wife. That was a great excuse to go into all the jewelry stores and get stuff I didn’t need. She lost her Claddagh necklace and he wanted to replace it. I think we hit every store down there trying to find the style she had but they stopped making it about 3 years ago. I decided to start my Christmas shopping while I was there. Unfortunately I had to call home and get sizes so I’m pretty sure my parents and my in laws all know they’re getting sweaters. And well they read this blog so not much of a surprise there.
Our go to shopping spots are Claddagh Jewelers and The Sweater Shop. We also found jewelry at Lazlo and Fallers. Fallers is known as the go to by locals. They’ve been selling jewelry since 1879. Claddagh and Lazlo are owned by the same family and have arguably the largest selection of Claddagh jewelry. The Sweater Shop offered free shipping which was a great deal since we bought something like 8 sweaters (3 boxes). No only did we not have to pack them home which was great because we already needed an extra suitcase for what we’d already picked up. They also gave us an additional discount on the price because we shipped.
We finished up the morning heading down to the Spanish Arch and then taking pictures of the Claddagh church which represents the heart in the Claddagh. As we headed out we stopped at a chip shop. I was very excited. I happen to love fish and chips so getting to pick the fish and getting mushy peas with lunch was awesome.