There is nothing quite like the excitement of Christmas; whether it is the anticipation of little ones visiting Santa Claus, the crisp fresh weather that Winter brings or family members coming home, it truly is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ as Andy Williams would say. Personally, and I think this thought resounds with many Irish people, nowhere compares to Galway at Christmas. As many people know, Galway is famous for its friendly locals, narrow picturesque streets and ‘the craic’ - Mix all of this with the magic of Christmas and Galway becomes somewhere quite special and unique...

Here are my top five things to do while visiting Galway this Christmas;

1. Hot Whiskeys after an afternoon of Shopping
Outside of the capital, Galway would be many Irish people’s ‘go to’ spot for shopping. With a wide range of shops to cater for the tastes of every visitor, there is an interesting variety of high-street, boutique and specialist shops which offer unique and interesting gift ideas. After a busy day of shopping, nothing beats going for ‘a bevvy’ in one of Galway’s many ‘Old Man Pubs’. My particular favourite would be O’Connell’s Bar just off Eyre Square, with it’s original features including tiled floors, antique lighting, stained glass windows, solid wooden seating and an amazing pressed tin ornate ceiling in the main bar, it is the perfect hideaway for a delicious hot whiskey.

2. Galway Christmas Markets
If you are visiting Galway this Christmas, you have to visit the Christmas markets. Located on Eyre Square, there really is no excuse as they are right beside Galway’s main street, Shop Street! Wander around the festive stalls, sipping on hot chocolate and nibbling on festive treats while Christmas songs play in the background. This year, the Galway Christmas Market has it’s very own Ferris Wheel, so why not go for a spin and take in the spectacular views of Galway city once you reach the top!

3. The Beer Tent
It’s not Christmas in Galway without at-least one visit to the Beer Tent in Eyre Square! The Beer Tent has become a Christmas tradition for many Galwegians near and far. With cheesy Christmas music playing and steins of German Beer, what’s not to like?

4. Galway Christmas Lights
As a child, I used to love nothing more than going in to town to look at all the window displays and twinkly lights. Now that I am grown-up, not much has changed! Personally, I feel nothing beats heading into town with a friend and wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of Galway, taking in the crisp Winter air and absorbing the ‘Christmassy feeling’ as buskers sing Christmas songs on the street.
Galway really goes ‘all out’ at Christmas time, with decorations and lights everywhere you turn. The shops of Galway also put on a show, with window displays full of Christmas scenes. In particular, the Brown Thomas store on Shop Street is a window display always to look out for, as they really go the full 9 yards each year.

5. Ice Skating
It would be fair to say that the Irish, as a nation, are much better at the more ‘rough and ready’ sports such as GAA or Rugby, so when it comes to an elegant and graceful sport such as ice skating, we are a far cry from the contestants of ‘Dancing on Ice’! However, we are not a nation to give up to a challenge, so we lace up our skates, wobble on to the rink and cling to the railing for dear life! But hey, it’s all in the name of fun isn’t it! Galway Ice rink is located out in Salthill this year, so I’ll be sure to get some practise in!

So there you have it, my top 5 things to do this Christmas in Galway. As a Clare native originally, Galway really has become like a second home to me and I know you will feel the same after visiting this beautiful little city this Christmas!

Shona Connolly

Sales & Marketing Assistant

Photo by: Steven Griffin

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November 30, 2016