Go west and wander

That grand stretch in the evening is stretching ever grander and with it, our thoughts turn to summer. Summer as we all know, is the perfect time for adventure and adventure is exactly what we live for.

The seemingly endless months of freedom can leave the restless student feeling bored. So how best can we fill this time? On a budget you say? But not a J1 you say? Well let me tell you about a little place in a land far to the West.

Gaillimh it is called; in the old tongues this means “stony” as in “stony river”. Today it is known as Galway. Stretching from borders with Offaly and Roscommon to the wild shimmering Atlantic Ocean, this is a county of stunning natural beauty, interesting historical locations and most importantly, fantastic craic.

Why go to San Diego when Galway city has some of the best nightlife in Ireland? From charming pubs in the Latin Quarter filled with jigs and reels to the hopping nightclubs like Carbon off Eyre Square it doesn’t matter what your scene is you’ll find somewhere to suit your tastes.

Galway city itself is as enticing as an icy glass of coke on a hot day. Due to NUIG being situated just outside the city, it plays host to a large student population during the year. It’s worth mentioning that because it isn’t Dublin, the cost of living (rent, food etc) and the price of a pint are quite a bit cheaper.

Despite its ancient origins, the city will always leave you feeling young again. That’s just part of its magic.

Even if you feel like you don’t belong in the heart of this vibrant city, a short walk will lead on the the famous Salthill promenade. Here B&B’s, gorgeous coastline and €1.50 ice cream cones abound.

For the swimmers among you, Salthill has some of the most magnificent beaches in the country. To top it off, the famous Blackrock diving board offers different levels to plungle down into the salty depths. A word of advice from someone who injured his ankle, make sure the tide is in before jumping. Those waves will not soften your landing!

If you prefer to stay out of the water entirely, there’s plenty to do off the beach as well. Salthill boasts its own aquarium, carnival with miniature railway and a plethora of pubs and cafés.

Further West lies the unparalleled Connemara. Its bleak, baron nature disguises a tranquillity not seen anywhere else in the world. The brown and green countryside flows high up to towering peaks that reach for the clouds as if attempting to pull the sky down.

From the coast you’ll notice the famous Arann Islands. Consisting of Inis Mór, Inis Meain and Inis Oírr, these tourist hotspots are as well known for their history as well as their uniquely enchanting landscape.

All this and more is just a few hours away by train, car or bus. Irish Rail might be a bit dear but they’re still cheaper than American Airlines.

Glen Murphy


Image credit: flickr

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