We didn’t get off to the best start with Galway. We arrived to an absolute downpour and it also happened to be a holiday, so the bus schedule was apparently off. We waited in the rain for over an hour to get a bus to the city center. Once we got there we had a great meal at the Chili Shack so it made things better. Lucky for us, the rain that was supposed to be with us for our whole stop in Galway didn’t come.
The next day, we got up early and got on a bus to the Connemara region. The area is filled with mountains, bogs, Connemara ponies, and lakes. One of the more interesting things to witness is the harvesting of bogs. A bog is formed when a lake slowly fills with plant debris and the vegetation eventually covers the lake's entire surface. People dig this vegetation out, let it dry, and use it to heat houses. Our main destination however was Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Castle was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy businessman, for his wife Margaret. Needless to say this was/is a pretty nice present. It’s one of most beautiful settings for a castle that we’ve seen and the gardens were also very impressive. We had a 2nd great dinner in a row at Xi'an Street Food.
On our last day we made our way to Ireland’s famous and number one attraction, the Cliffs of Moher. We elected to take a bus to the small town of Doolin where we hiked about 90 minutes to the cliffs as opposed to getting dropped off at the main area. This was an easy hike that we would recommend. Not a lot of others were on the trail so it gave us time to appreciate the seaside cliffs without hundreds of other tourists. The sheer size of the cliffs is incredible and we were surprised how there is absolutely nothing between the path and edge of the cliffs. You really do have to focus on where you are stepping because the wind and other people can be a little disorienting. That is why the hike to the cliffs and back was so refreshing.
Overall, we think we spent just the right amount of time in Galway. The city was fun and easy to walk around when it wasn’t raining and the Cliffs are an obvious stop if you get over to the west coastline. We also stayed with a very friendly older couple who host travelers because their children are all grown. They were VERY chatty but it’s always so fun just shooting the breeze with local people and learning about their lives and of course their local recommendations. And they even gave us a Galway magnet to remember our stay.