I am going to apologize right now for the number of pictures in this post, but I couldn't help myself (and this isn't even half of the pictures I took...) We were only in Galway for one day, but it is my favorite city in Ireland so far!
Mom and I took the train from Athlone this morning and rode through beautiful countryside filled with cows and sheep, then arrived right in the city centre of beautiful Galway!
We strolled through the lively winding streets with colorful little shops and lovely flowers in window boxes!
We stopped and looked in the Church of Ireland St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, which is the largest medieval church still used today in Ireland.
There were beautiful stained glass windows, and amazing architecture!
There were tombs throughout the church (inside and out in the courtyard) with dates so old, most of the carving in the stone is worn down. The church was founded in 1390, and local legend is that Christoper Columbus worshiped here when he visited Galway in 1477!
Just outside the church there was a lovely market happening that apparently is set up every Saturday!
Tons of vendors offering farm fresh fruits and veggies, tons of cheeses and olives, fresh baked breads, a variety of handmade crafts and artwork, and local food trucks offering everything your heart desires. They even had 2 fully vegetarian trucks, so Mom and I stopped for a quick bite at the Bean Tree truck and had a stuffed chapatti with peas, potatoes, carrots, seeds & spices.
Along the market, we popped our heads into world famous Sheridans Cheesemongers.
They had a huge selection of, you guessed it, cheeses! They also had some local organic fruits and veggies near the front of the shop. Mom got some aged gouda to take home, and we spilt a delicious sparkling apple juice to go with our lunch.
We headed down toward the coast and stopped in the Galway Museum for a while to enjoy some brief history and an amazing view from the huge windows on their second and third floors. It was a great little escape/rest spot to wait out the little bit of rain that drizzled on us in the mid afternoon.
Once the tiny bit of rain passed, the day just continued to get more and more beautiful. We stepped outside the museum, just past the Spanish Arch, and watched the swans flocking around the water.
Just across from the museum, right on the water, we stopped at my most favorite place in Galway.
Ard Bia at Nimmo's is a warm cozy little restaurant/cafe/bakery that Mom and I had the pleasure of enjoying a pot of tea and some brunch at.
There were books lining the wall in the little nook our table was situated in that were fun to browse through while sipping tea and enjoying the lively atmosphere of Saturday afternoon diners.
Then our food came. And my life as I knew it, was changed for the better.
Mom had the roast mushroom on watercress and toasted sourdough with caper aioli. (above)
And I had the "Hippy Fry" aka "The Veggie" poached eggs, roast tomatoes, sauteed spinach, soda farls, and grilled local field mushrooms with sourdough toast.
Seriously, words cannot express how fresh and amazing this food was.
You all probably now think this is the only reason I love Galway. Well, you're right.
Galway has tons to offer, but really, if you are ever here, make it a point to eat at Ard Bia at Nimmos. Okay, okay - moving on...
Mom and I couldn't resist a Claddagh ring from Galway since they originated in the small fishing village just outside the city!
Our day continued with more window shopping, and popping in and out of adorable little shops with everything dainty and girly and perfect!
There were even some street performers showing up along the main drag through town. These guys were doing covers on every American top 40 song ranging from Train to Lady Gaga from what we heard haha!
Then Mom and I stopped in a specialty food shop on the way back to the train station and couldn't help but laugh at some of the products they had placed in with the fancy items... Old El Paso tortillas anyone?
or Tootsie Roll? Wonder what they laugh at us considering gourmet in the US?
We killed some time before our train back home sitting in the gorgeous sunny weather!
And then got back on the train (sweetie in hand, ahem)...
and enjoyed the brilliant start of a sunset on our ride out of Galway.
At one point in the trip home we hit a spot of rain, and saw the most vibrant rainbow that arched fully over the train from one side to the other like we were passing through a tunnel!
Now back home (AHH! home is Athlone!?) and exhausted from a fun filled amazing day in Galway and ready to plan a trip back!