This university town has a youthful, bohemian vibe yet is firmly anchored to its colourful marine heritage. A favourite of artists, poets and musicians for decades, it’s chock full of busy markets, engaging galleries, great food and all the Irish folk music you can handle.
Extracurricular: Galway is one of the stops on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500-kilometre driving route along the west coast from Donegal to Cork.
Taste to try: Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o! The Galway oysters are the freshest you will ever taste. Fancy mashed potatoes? Yes, colcannon and champ is a hearty dish of potatoes with spring onions, cabbage and herbs.
Bonus tip: The Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay make for a great day trip. Find historical Bronze and Iron Age forts, a 14th-century castle, the scenic Cliffs of Aran, a colony of seals and the secluded Kilmurvey Beach.