If I could choose a place to live besides Boston, it would be a very tough choice between Healdsburg, California and Galway, Ireland. I spent a semester and part of a summer in college in Galway, and I fell in love with just about everything in the city and surrounding country. After I returned to the US for senior year of college, I set things in motion to move back to Galway for at least six months with a work visa and to see what would happen from there. In March of that year, my father died, and I ended up skipping the travel, moving to Boston instead. As luck would have it, about a year later I met my favorite Galwegian, my husband, and I have been lucky to call this place home a couple of weeks every year since.
There’s something in the air, in addition to the mist and rain here, the smell of turf fires, and usually the sounds of an accordion, flute, or some other instrument playing. Galway is colorful in its storefronts and homes, these bright pops of color and lovely little details make just a simple walk down the street an experience.
Galway is an old city, founded in the 12th century, and its history shows up all over, in bits of the old city walls and arches, cemeteries, and churches
A fast river, the Corrib, flows through the town and into Galway Bay, which offers spectacular sunsets. When I studied abroad I loved running along the river and out to the sea, and in past years even on vacation, I have done some marathon training here.
Galway sunsets, there are no words.
The Galway Saturday market is one of my favorite things about the town. I lived right across the street from the market when I was a student. Every Saturday morning we were woken by the sounds of farmers setting up their stalls with produce brought in from the country. One of my all time favorite vendors is a Hare Krishna named Govinda, who makes incredible vegetarian food. Govinda was gone for a few years, so when I saw his bright yellow stall this time around, I literally jumped for joy.
The recent addition of a Continental Christmas Market makes the city even more special at the end of November and throughout December.
Steamy kitchiri with tomato and pineapple chutneys, a heavenly way to warm up on a chilly Galway day.
Even though the weather can be atrocious, getting out and about in Galway is just something you want to do, and the Salthill promenade is the perfect place for a walk with a view.
Galway is a city full of restaurants and pubs, gourmet shops, and wine bars, making it the ideal place for food and wine lovers.
Galway has a ton of character, and people flock here from all over the world, making it a fun place to go out and to get chatting to perfect strangers who become new friends. There’s a warmth and character about the city that just needs to be experienced to be understood. It’s why we always recommend that anyone visiting Ireland spend at least a few days in Galway, using it as a jumping off point for visiting Connemara, the Burren, and even Westport.
I guess you can tell that I love it here; if the economy wasn’t so desperate and jobs almost impossible to find, our many talks of moving back for a few years would likely become a reality. Until then, I hold this special place in my heart year-round until I get to visit again.
Have you thought about moving to a new city/country?