Day 1

3 Days in Galway

Galway is beautiful and intimate, I’ve never seen something like it. After several weeks of planning, Galway ended up as the chosen place for me to visit and write the next 3 days about – I was really excited and nervous for this trip!

I started my trip by taking the bus express bus from Dublin to Galway to Salthill through Citylink. There’s a bus from the Airport and from Aston/Crampton Quay, you’ll see the Citylink sign clearly on the sidewalk, a fairly short 2 hours and 30 minutes bus journey.

Galway Sunset

Galway sunset on arrival to the city. I’ll take it as a good sign.

From Galway, there’s a comfy bus that goes to Salthill where I stayed at the B&B and met the most amazing hosts, Joan & Peader (pronounced; Pad + ar). He welcomed my stay in their beautiful home and gave me local tour maps and guides for hot spots to visit then told me the location to get the bus back to Eyre Square.

The house is warm and beautiful, with amazing looking paintings that had left me glaring at them for a few moments to gasp with their charm.

Sunrise Lodge

The “Budget” room was big enough and comfy to fit even a big man such as me.

After a quick shower and jumping on the bed for a quick nap, I took the bus back to Eyre Square from Salthill to witness Christmas in Galway City.
Sparkling lights as I walk from one stall to another, Families with children and friends grabbing bites of food, beer or mulled wine on a freezing night.

The glowing ferris wheel is truly mesmerising!

A fairly short stroll and light conversations as I met new people and had a good laugh, I moved on to the main event of the night.
Walking towards Aniar, the main event I’ve been waiting for since I woke up this morning. The first Michelin starred restaurant I have ever visited in my life.

Never have I been so excited, through the freezing weather – Aniar (The West, ) has welcomed me with warmth.
Let’s dive right in with the cute little green spot of a restaurant.

So to order, well not really to-order – as the only option is a 10 samples menu item or 5. The foodie in me chose the obvious prolific menu.

***Note: due to this being my first ever michelin star restaurant in Ireland, I believe the tasting of food and experience differs from one person to the other and have left the description at a minimum or none.

Carrot and Kelp

A delightful bite, this is taking crunch to the next level – Hawaii, welcome to my mouth!Carrot and Kelp

Chicken heart and hay
Creamy sweetness and delicious.

Sea urchin with yoghurt

Herring and fermented cream

Mix of bread

All were magnificent and at the right portion and were left for the remainder of the dinner.

Oyster with Seaweed in green and ink.

Cow beef, gooseberry, pepper dulse

Potato, Hammock

Confit, Ox, pine.

There are some habits you can’t break, I took a bite before realising I haven’t taken a snapshot yet.

Celeriac, Chantarelle, Hazelnut

Pheasant, pink fir, sprout

Pork belly, Plum, Dillisk.

Blueberry. Juniper.

Juniper beneath is a bubble made with Solaris’s juniper tea. My favourite of all 10.


Duck, Barley, Sea purslane.


Celeriac, Apple, Mead.

Goat’s cheese, Parsnip, elderberry.

Malt

Dillisk

Artichoke

To finish, I had some more Solaris – peppermint tea.

To summarise Aniar: it is an artful dining experience, with Robert Dunne who was the chef that night.
The waiters and the head waiter explained the dishes in detail about the produce and its County of origins from Ireland, however, most are from Co. Galway.
Creativity was clearly shown on each plate with the colourful design.

The interior is beautifully decorated and the blue jars were mesmerising to look at, as if each holds a fairy.

Once it was all over, the head waiter invited me to look inside the kitchen and say hello to the staff.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, a large staff was inside and I was at the closest table to the kitchen, mere 2 feet away from the short corridor without a door and couldn’t hear a thing through the entire experience from outside. No disturbing sounds from the clashes of glass, plates nor silverware.

This is a wonderful first-time experience in a Michelin star restaurant, and I certainly recommend Aniar if you love your food with style, art, and a service beyond expectations.

Find them on social media and website here:

Day 2

Diamond Hill

A popular destination for hikers from Ireland and tourists, known as Diamond Hill next to letterfrack.
I woke up early in the morning to catch the bus that leaves towards letterfrack from the bus station. Fortunately for me and the other hikers the weather that day wasn’t cold although the sun was nowhere to be seen, which is unfortunate in such a pretty place!

The bus drops you in Letterfrack and requires a walk back towards a slight uphill on the road to get to the visitor centre – which is where the journey begins.

This sign of President Michael D. Higgins caught my eyes outside the cantine of Connemara’s National Park.

Diamond hill loop path

The trail

Almost there…

One final look back!

The road back is long, but sure is pleasant.


The long walk paid off, I felt magnificent and more connected with nature. As someone who loves to hike and get away from the noise of cities, there’s nothing more relaxing in such a unique place.
Seeing as the only thing I ate after breakfast was a quick snack before going up the hill, my tummy was stirring with hanger.
Not to mention, it was getting REALLY cold at that time, I got there around 2:30 pm, and with the sweat of climbing up has made it worse.

Luckily, letterfrack has a nice collection of pub grub food to attend my hunger, and Veldon’s Seafarer was right on spot with a simple Burger, fries and a refreshing salad.
Thank god it also had a lovely fire to warm me up!

The only downside to going solo with the bus that stops at Letterfrack, is that once you do get down from Diamond Hill, you’ll have to wait at around 3 hours for the Bus that goes back at 6 pm.

But fret not! 2 hours lift back on the bus and I was hungry again by 9. So as I was walking around the city, thinking ‘where should I eat next?’.
I have recalled a conversation on the bus to Galway from Dublin of two ladies discussing their thoughts of eating in a place called Nimoy, or is it, Nemo?

A quick question on the street and a nice couple corrected me with “Nimmo’s” and highly recommended the restaurant and warned me that it’s Saturday night and most likely out of seats due to reservations. however, they said I should try anyway!

Yup, it’s that long!

I took their advice, and happily found my way there with the help of a few more locals.

‘Do we have a table upstairs for this gentleman here?’ asked the hostess.
‘For this handsome man, I sure do’ the other waitress said, and I was bought!

The restaurant was buzzing with tables fully booked and people chatting away with their dinners set.
My fantastic waitress lead me to a bar-table on the top floor, in another cosy warm area.

Dressed Connemara Crab, Claregalway horseradish.

The light was not on my camera’s side, but if you look closely enough you’ll be able to see the Crab beneath it all and if you really gather your eyes


Pan roasted West Cork Brill, heritage potato, fennel + granny smith puree & beetroot

I will never forget how I enjoyed the taste of the beetroot sauce on my tongue, I’m not one to eat so much fish and this dish certainly surprised me.
This is such a gorgeous plate that certainly elevates the senses of many flavors.

I’ll be certain to visit Nimmo’s Ard Bia in Galway the next time I visit and recommend you do the same if you haven’t done so already.
Great atmosphere, great food, great service, happy tummy! Hats off to ya’s!

Find them on social media and website here:

Day 3

I took my time that morning for a calming stroll on Salthill’s beach loop walk, and was greeted by a gracious breeze from the sea to start my day.

As I was preparing for my final day in Galway, I set out to town one final time before heading back to Dublin and found some great shops.
One of them is McCambridges, which also happens to be a restaurant at the top, however, the first floor is a shop that has a variety of great produce locally made in Ireland.
From cheese, pesto and hummus, you will find freshly made salads to go

With a brilliant to go coffee – (or mocha, in my case) you can either sit for a quick sit on the stool or sit outside if you’re a fan of “people watching”.
Plenty of cookies and comes with a delicious biscuit with every hot order.

During my dinner at Aniar, the final dish with Aniar was apparently with a special chocolate from the Hazel Mountain Chocolate.
The waitress suggested the store is next to a famous bookstore, so I thought it would be a great idea to give them a visit.

In store, there’s a large window displaying the chocolate and the chocolate maker!


Boy – was I happy with the spinning white chocolate!

Various displays of gorgeous looking chocolate and with plenty of options to taste from before making your choice which one you wish to purchase(all of them, clearly)

This nice lad here, who’s not a fan of being in pictures told me all about the Hazel Mountain Chocolate story of how it originally looks like in their Factory in the Burren Mountains.
There’s a display sack to demonstrate the source of where it comes from and how it’s getting processed.

Next stop is famous book shop with a massive load of books, I mean it, there’s so many books you won’t find the exit.
Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, is located right next door to the Hazel Mountain Chocolate shop, making this trip more than convenient!

So after viewing books for over an hour as it’s one of my greatest joys in any bookstore, I had to get back on the road and take the unfortunate bus ride back towards Dublin.
There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be on the way back to Galway again soon.

Conclusion:

3 days are not enough to spend in Galway after all the plans made, I still found myself missing on a few shops and couldn’t hit one more restaurant.
That just means I’ll be back for more.
One of the things that amazed me the most is how intimate and friendly this city is. Also, I was in quite a pickle from a number of restaurants and I had to choose from, it was no ordinary task.
Aniar and Nimmo’s were both an experience I won’t forget and am looking forward to visit these restaurants again.
If you’re looking for a buzzing city full of intimacy, fun, sightseeing, and great food – look no further.

Salthill & Sunrise Lodge

Aniar

Nimmo's

Letterfrack Bus stop & return

Road to Diamond hill

Bus Station

Eyre Square