With only a week to go to before Galway Fest, I thought I would write a guide on how to get to Galway! With hundreds of competitors and some of the world’s best paddlers attending, Galway Fest will sure be some show! Here’s my advice for all international paddlers on how to get to Galway, where to stay and what to expect of your weekend on the land of the leprechauns …
Freestyle will be held in Tuam on Friday afternoon and evening. Definitely an event not to be missed if you want to see the current World Champion Quim Fontane fight against everyone in an exciting jam style format. Saturday will see everyone racing on the Boluisce River. With the finishing line only a few meters before the ocean, everyone will enjoy the sunset while watching the team races at the end of the day. Sunday will take in place in the heart of Galway city. With the Palm boater-X down Jury’s Drop and a mass start down the River Corrib, you’ll be able to prove yourself to all the Galway girls and boys as the races finish at the famous Spanish Arch!
I attached the athlete’s pack here, you should have received it by email already if you’re registered . You’ll find everything you need there, especially the locations of all the events and places to park.
How to get there
If you’re flying in, your main options are Dublin, Knock and Shannon Airport. Aerlingus and Ryanair would be the two main companies to check out, especially if you’re flying with your boats. Aerlingus charges 40€ for a boat while Ryanair charges 35€. I’ve never had a problem with those companies when flying with a boat from Ireland, you don’t even have to pretend it’s not a kayak.
If you want to drive your car and take a ferry, you can land in Rosslare, Dublin or Belfast. Three companies you can check are Stella Line, P&O and Irish Ferries, the latter often being cheaper. If you’re coming as a foot passenger, P&O seems to let you bring a boat for free.
The following table will guide you through the ways to get to Galway depending on where you land. If you’re driving, bare in mind that there aren’t that many petrol stations on the motorways here. I tried to include easy stops in my comments, so you don’t have to exit the motorway.
From the airport to Galway
Where to sleep
Galway is pretty popular and can be quite expensive. There are a multitude of options. It is definitely worth checking Airbnb. Avoiding the city centre is probably the best way to keep it cheap. You can try the areas called Salthill, Ballybane, Newcastle and Roscam. There are further away from the city centre but you can easily get buses during the day, and taxis would not be too expensive at night (about 15€).
A hostel would probably be the best option if you want to stay in the city centre, although parking can become an issue if you are driving. You can check out the following hostels:
- Galway city Hostel (Eyre Square, city centre).
- Kinlay Hostel (Eyre square)
- Snoozle Quay (city centre)
- The Nest Boutique Hostel (Salthill, pretty new and looks relatively cheap)
Where to eat
Just to give a couple of easy and fast options for food if you want to avoid McDonalds.
- Boojum (Spanish Arch): pretty big Mexican bowls and burritos (≈8€).
- McDonagh’s (Shop street): fish & chips (≈10€).
- Pizza Napoli (Shop street): simple pizzas (3.50€ for a large slice), open all night.
- The Dough Bro’s (Middle street, parallel to shop street): quality pizzas (≈10€).
- The Chili Shack (Opposite Electric Nightclub): amazing burgers (≈8€).
What else should you know?
Alcohol limit: Maximum tolerance of 50 mg per 100 ml for experienced drivers. Learner drivers cannot go above 20 mg. If you get caught drink-driving, you will be disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of three months and receive a fine of 200€. For all the international drivers, yes, you’ll have to surrender your driving license too. Anyway, don’t drink and drive.
Buckfast: you’ll soon hear people shouting this word here and there. Compulsory if it is your first time in Ireland, Buckfast is a tonic, caffeinated, delicious wine made by monks.
Guinness: just get one, or two …
“What’s the craic?”: after talking about the local drinks, one could think I’m going to follow with the Irish drugs, but no, that’s just a way to ask how you’re doing …
Blackrock: Salthill is a lovely part of Galway city. Going for a swim in the ocean at Blackrock is a perfect way to cure your hungover. If you’re up for it, just fire me a message!