A Day Out in Woodquay
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A Day Out in Woodquay

We love to while away the day by discovering everything the lovely Galway city has to offer, and recently we got the opportunity to spend a day in Woodquay. We had an absolutely wonderful time, so we wanted to share with you all the amazing things we got up to in this spectacular area of Galway. Come with us on our day out in Woodquay…

Breakfast - 10am

We didn’t want to waste any time of our day out so by 10am we had arrived outside the gorgeous Corrib House Tea Rooms ready to curb our appetite with their famous brunch. Luckily we were able to get a table by the window and were treated to stunning views of the River Corrib outside. If you haven’t been to the Corrib House Tea Rooms before we insist that you do, because it’s a fantastic place to start your day and their coffee, cakes and brunches are legendary in Galway. We ordered the buttermilk pancakes with coffee, and it was exactly what we needed to get us giddy for our busy day ahead. If you are planning on visiting Corrib House Tea Rooms, please note that brunch is served on Wednesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 4pm. For more on that please tap here

above: photo by Corrib House Tea Rooms 

Thanks to the good weather, the area surrounding the waterways in Woodquay was buzzing with activity. After breakfast we popped out for a stroll and sat on the banks of the river, simply enjoying the beautiful scenery. We sat and watched people taking their dogs for a walk, the Galway Rowing Club set up their kayaks and were delighted at the amount of ducks and swans we saw gliding by on the River Corrib.

Activity: Corrib Princess - 12.30pm

Once 12.15pm came around we made our way over to the next item on our agenda: a boat tour aboard the Corrib Princess. Dubbed a hidden gem of Galway city, we were incredibly excited as we watched the river cruise boat arrive at the quay and ready for departure. On board, we met with the lovely crew who cheerfully welcomed us onto the Corrib Princess. We had the mobility to move up onto the open deck or sit below in the covered area, and truthfully we moved up and down at different points of the tour. Once everyone had arrived we were off and the tour began. During the tour we enjoyed their popular Irish coffees, which had a  deliciously thick layer of cream on top that insulated the hot drink beneath.

above: photo by Ado Lyons 

Over the speakers the boat’s captain, Aodán, began telling us all about the fascinating stories relating to Woodquay and the River Corrib. As we drifted up the river, he pointed out key historical features that were dotted along the river banks. Did you know that Woodquay got its name because it once used to be the spot where timber was delivered into the city? Well, before our tour on the Corrib Princess we didn’t, and that was just the beginning of the interesting facts we learnt from Aodán. On route to the lower part of Lough Corrib, he told us the fascinating but chilling story of the ferocious O'Flaherty's and how they paid their rent “with interest” to the De Burgos. He directed our attention at the different remains of ring forts and crannógs that once lined the River Corrib, and told us the true story of how Menlo Castle succumbed to fire and fell into ruin. He told us about the amusing Galway character Valentine Blake, the Cinderella of Galway who unintentionally began the ‘Menlo Races.’ The river floor contain artefacts dating back to the origins of Galway, and times when the Vikings visited, and Aodán also told us how once during an occasion when he scuba diving in the river, he stumbled across a spearhead which when he got the item dated, came from Galway 7,500 years ago, and now you can see this same spearhead for yourself at Galway City Museum. Now, that’s all we are willing to tell you so if you want to know more about any of these stories and the other tales Aodán told us, book a tour and hear it all for yourself!

If you are interested in booking a tour with the Corrib Princess, please head over to their website here. The Corrib Princess sails daily from May to September, typically at 12.30pm and 2.30pm, however it’s always best to plan ahead and double check the sailing times on your desired day. 

A Boozy Lunch - 2.15pm

In what was of little surprise to us, after our exhilarating time on the River Corrib we were feeling a bit peckish so next on our agenda was lunch! Once off the boat we headed straight to McGinn’s Hop House, and thankfully we were able to nab the two tables by their large open window. Here, we were joined by a friend so naturally we ordered our favourite bar food off the menu. We opted for sharing the Korean style wings and one of their pizzas, the pizzas at McGinn’s are some of the best in Galway and we honestly can’t recommend them enough. To wash down all the food we opted for a couple pints of Guinness and Zingibeer. On the day we visited the supporters club for Galway United FC was gathered pre-match and the vibrant atmosphere both inside and outside the bar was infectious.

above: photo from McGinn's by Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Shopping - 3.30pm

To take a break from the feasting we decided to wander around some of Woodquay’s shops. First off we called into McGinn’s neighbours; Ah Sure, Look It. This cool gift shop is the place to go for one-of-a-kind trinkets, gifts and cards. I love their stock of handmade jewellery and find it almost impossible to visit without buying something. Next we popped across the road into Decorate Your Own, this is an all-in-one millinery, cake decorating and beads store. A hive of creative inspiration, whether you want to entertain your baking hobby, or create your own hat for this year’s Ladies Day, this store has exactly what you need to get you going. The next shop on our list is one for the Gents; Joe Greene Menswear, a go-to in Galway for dapper formal and casual mens clothing, we guarantee you’ll be leaving here with a new purchase you absolutely love. The last spot we visited on our shopping spree was The Antiques Room. At this jewellery and antiques store no two items are the same and everything they stock is super gorgeous.

above: photo from Decorate Your Own, by Ado Lyons

Dinner - 5pm

A day in Woodquay wouldn’t be complete without dining at McSwiggan’s Steak + Seafood Restaurant so… you guessed it that is where we headed to next! Thanks to Galway’s position on the Irish West Coast, we get to enjoy some of the freshest and finest tasting seafood in Ireland, and because McSwiggans was the first to be named on this year’s Seafood Trail it seemed only fitting to order their popular seafood dishes for our dinner. We arrived in time to order from their A La Carté menu and for starters shared the local Dooncastle oysters before tucking into our mains, the McSwiggan’s seafood plate. To accompany our food we ordered the Banshee of Inisherin and Sky & Sand cocktails. These were delish and we highly recommend ordering these cocktails when you visit McSwiggans. If you want to make your reservations in advance, please tap here to access their website.

above: photo courtesy of McSwiggan's

Drinks - 7pm

Last but certainly not least, we wrapped up our day in Woodquay over pints of Guinness at Hughes’ Bar. If Guinness is your poison and you haven’t visited Hughes’ Bar, what are you doing? This bar is rumoured to have once sold more Guinness out of their two humble taps than any other pub in the city, so if that doesn’t convince you to pay them a visit we don’t know what will, and you can take our word for it that their Guinness lives up to its reputation. As we sat out in the beer garden and chatted over our drinks, we scrolled through the Paddy Powers website and broke up the drinking by placing a few bets in the Paddy Powers shop next door. We figured that nothing ventured, nothing gained and while we may not have won big we certainly had a fun time doing it.

As our day came to a close, we left Woodquay with grins on our faces, a bit tipsy and ready to hit the hay. We had spent a fabulous day in Woodquay, and whether you’re a local like us or a tourist visiting Galway city and looking for things to do, this area of Galway city has plenty to offer and is sure to keep you coming back for more. We hope that your time in Woodquay is as wonderful as ours was, so be sure to visit Woodquay this year and enjoy it all for yourself.

above: photo by Ado Lyons

Feature photo by Ado Lyons.

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