Undoubtedly THE social event of Ireland’s sporting calendar, Galway Races Ladies Day takes place on August 2nd this year. And coupled with the Volvo Ocean Race finishing in Galway this year, the place is aflutter with fun loving ladies and gents, all looking to have the craic Corrib side.
To take the pressure out of the sartorial decision making process in the run up to these Festivals, Joanne Hynes is on hand to guide you through the best that Galway has to offer. We are delighted to have Joanne collaborate with WhatSheWears.ie! Since opening her own concession on the second floor of Brown Thomas Dublin in 2009, she has seen a phenomenally successful couple of seasons and is the hot topic of conversation among the movers and shakers of Dublin and beyond.
Read on to see what the Irish fashion designer recommends in Galway:
If you are looking for staple high street shops then Shop Street in Galway has everything within walking distance of one and other. If you are a high street girl then you will find Topshop, A Wear, New Look and the recently opened Miss Selfridges. The high street is always right on trend with new deliveries every couple of weeks.
If like me, you are a lover of all things vintage and antique in terms of clothing and jewellery then Galway has some amazing niche little stores.
I recommend TEMPO antique on 9 Cross Street for diamond rings and vintage Rolex and Cartier watches for women and men.
COBWEBS stock fantastic costume pieces including my personal favourite Kenneth Jay Lane, they are situated across from the famous Spanish Arch.
As a youth and a teenager when I lived in Galway I adored the Army and Navy Store. As a rebel back then –I always looked for something really different and bold and found some great military sweaters and jackets here.
TWICE AS NICE, located on the historical Quay Street is a little diamond -you’ll easily spot the shop as they always have some garments of interest hanging outside on the entrance arousing curiosity in passersby.
Downstairs you will find a selection of beautiful antique jewellery and linens. They are ideal investment pieces to mark special occasions. Take a walk up the wooden stairs to find an intimate collection of clothes and unique accessories. You will not find any of these unique pieces on the high street. With a predominantly classical, feminine feel to the pieces on offer you are guaranteed to be inspired.
Pop next door to the WOODEN HEART to buy your love a Claddagh Ring, which is, in my opinion one of the most beautiful rings in the world with real history and tradition.
For something a little bit different hit the BORN STORE, which opened in May of this year, over looking the canal at Newtown Smith.
BORN is Galway’s newest lifestyle store and someone recently described it as ‘if Brown Thomas and Urban Outfitters had a love child this is what you’d get’. Catering for both men and women from teenagers right up to the thirty something’s, BORN stocks more than 100 brands.
If you are looking for the fashion heavy weights then BROWN THOMAS is the place to go. It has four floors of luxury stocking leading international designer collections in menswear, women’s and cosmetics.
I love the cosmetics on the ground floor which houses concessions for BENEFIT, MAC, DIOR and CHANEL. The staff are very friendly and you could have a quick make over or touch up before the Races if you book in beforehand. I recommend Sinead at DIOR - she is wonderful and can master the dark eye look!
The wonderful thing about Galway is the array of varied independent boutiques where you are bound to discover a hidden treasure.
DEMORA on Cross Street is located just around the corner from TWICE AS NICE (that’s the great thing about Galway- everything is just five minutes walk from each other). DEMORA is a designer boutique with some great statement pieces. They stock a select range including Joanne Hynes and Deirdre Morahan the store owner is always very helpful.
Cafes in Galway
So you’ve been walking the streets of Galway, searching out all the must have pieces for this seasons wardrobe, you are going to need a quick bite to eat to regain your energy levels. The city has countless cafes and restaurants that cater to every desired cuisine.
GOYAS, located on Kirwan’s Lane, is a hidden hideaway haven for hungry shoppers. It is popular for homemade treats and freshly baked goodies prepared on site daily, the caramel squares and lemon meringue pies are to die for. They make undoubtedly the best soya milk hot chocolate -these are even better than hot chocolates that I have had in New York!
For something more substantial, try Sam Bailey’s food hall and cafe situated looking out onto Eglinton Street. Desserts include New York style cheesecake with berry coulis, homemade tiramisu, homemade pie and cupcakes, whilst watching the world go by. There are daily blackboard specials too which is really sweet and a long list of green teas.
There are lots of new kids on the block when it comes to eateries and WhatSheWears.ie recommends the following:
For an evening out with friends, WhatSheWears recommend’s Eight Bar and Restaurant – a minimalist restaurant with scrumptious food and a view of the sea. Eight Bar and Restaurant, Dock Road, Galway, Tel: 091-565111.
New Zealander chef Jess Murphy has put the oomph into casual dining at Kai, a quirky restaurant that’s jam packed at the weekends. Kai Cafe Restaurant, Sea Road, Galway, Tel: 091-526003.
A glass of wine
Sheridan’s Cheese shop in Galway has a hidden gem sitting upstairs – the wine bar on Churchyard Street does great wines, meat, fish and cheese boards. Try Sheridan’s brothers’ brown bread cheese crackers which chef Heston Blumenthal has put on the cheeseboard at his London restaurant, Dinner.. Sheridan’s Wine Shop (Upstairs), 14 – 16 Churchyard Street, Galway, Tel: 091-564829.
Aniar is a kitch cafe space with blackboards and painted chairs, perched on a first floor overlooking busy Lower Dominick Street. When WSW stayed at The House Hotel, this was their top dinner recommendation and it didn’t disappoint – the food is great and reasonably priced. Aniar Restaurant, 53 Lower Dominick Street, Galway, Tel: 091-535947.
Night life in Galway
People come from all over Ireland to sample Galway’s night life and the summer is peak season with the crowds for pubs and clubs overflowing onto the streets.
If you are looking for something less mainstream the Roisin Dubh is the city’s premier indie and alternative night spot. It has promoted and supported Kate Nash, The Blizzards, Fight Like Apes, Declan O Rorke, Republic of Loose and a good night out here is guaranteed.
It is famed for hosting the Dirty Pretty Things final show on their farewell tour. Also expect to see some home grown Galway bands performing like the up and coming Kanyu Tree and Disconnect Four performing on a regular basis.
The g Hotel
I don’t get to Galway that often but if I do I like the g hotel for a cocktail. You can rotate from one room to the next for added entertainment! Each room has a different theme and plenty of groups of friends pop along for afternoon tea.
Afterwards you can pop out the back door to the Eye Cinema which is connected to the g, to watch an art house movie. I recently saw Let the Right One In, a film by Tomas Alfredson’s based on the book by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Hotel in Galway