Myself and Lucy have had a wonderful couple of days in Galway. We were invited along to preview some of the places involved in the Galway Food Festival which takes place on the Easter Weekend. Warning this post will make you hungry!
First of all we travelled from Sligo to Galway by Bus Feda – check them out – a fantastic service! Our home for the night was the Hotel Meyrick which is centrally located at Eyre Square. This was at one time the Great Southern Hotel and my great-aunt used to work there which made staying there extra special. Our first port of call was, of course, the spa. The Hot Tub over-looked Galway City, it was a real treat to sit and relax while watching the world go by.
We met the rest of our fellow food writers/bloggers at Aniar. I’ve heard great things about this restaurant and have met JP McMahon at various food events previously. He really is an ambassador of Irish cuisine. I was excited to see what was on the menu, I knew it would be something different and it certainly was. Smoked hay mousse with crystallized fennel and dried ants …….yes I said ants was just one of the dishes. I was dubious but it was delicious!
Our next stop on our magical mystery food tour of Galway was McCambridge’s. This is an absolute treasure trove of a shop with all kinds of delicious foods and drinks. McCambridge’s opened the first off-licence in Galway in the 1970’s.
Natalie McCambridge was telling us about some of the spirits they stock in the shop, one of the whiskeys is €11,000! If that’s out of your price range you could always have a shot of it for €1000! We did get to try some whiskey, not that one I hasten to add but Green Spot which was delicious! I didn’t think I was a whiskey fan but I am now. We also had some gorgeous Aran Island goats cheese on Sheridan crackers and some amazing chocolate as well as brandy. I kind of staggered out of the shop!
The Bunch of Grapes pub was our next venue for some liquid refreshment. I just had orange juice as I didn’t want to be suffering a hangover. Some of our group went for gin – well the Gin Festival was in full swing in Galway 🙂 The pub was very busy so it was a little bit difficult for me but I did OK 🙂
Sushi and Sake were next on our agenda with a visit to Kappa-Ya, this restaurant serves thirteen different types of high quality sake, we got to try three of them – all different strengths. I preferred the weakest one – I’m such a lightweight! We tried various types of sushi and fish and the most delicious ice cream made from cherry blossom and Camembert….well if you can have cheese cake I can’t see why you can’t have cheese ice cream!
We were then whisked off in a taxi to our next destination which was the fabulous g Hotel. This place just blew me away. We were greeted by members of staff holding pink umbrellas to shield us from the rain, I felt like some kind of celebrity. As we walked into the reception I felt like Alice in Wonderland, it’s an absolutely beautiful hotel. Pink carpets and upholstery and very much themed on the sea. The door handles are made to look like sea shells, there’s a large fish tank and a beautiful light that looks like bubbles. It really is just something else and I’d love to go back there again. Anyway I’ve digressed! We were seated in Restaurant Gigi’s and began our meal with some gorgeous breads, this was followed by lamb which tasted as good as it looked. All too soon it was time for us to get back in the taxi and off to our next venue.
When we were dropped back in the middle of Galway we were met by a couple and invited into a darkened stairway lit by candles.
It was so atmospheric and I was excited to know what was awaiting us. When we got upstairs we were in the most amazing room, candles and glass everywhere and material canopies hanging from the ceiling. This was the ‘Speakeasy’ – we watched cocktails being made with Micil Poitín.
Micil Poitin has been made for the last 150 years but Pádraic Ó Griallais (Micil’s Grandson) is the first person to ever make it legally. It’s a success story born in Galway, this was my first time to ever taste Poitin and I really liked it. Do keep a look out around Ireland for it.
Our final stop of the night was the Hotel Meyrick which was very handy as it was also where we were staying. We were given a beautiful dessert – and you know me and cake! We were also given Prosecco and it was just the perfect end to a perfect night.
The whole experience was with thanks to the Galway Food Festival who invited us to Galway to experience some of the amazing food. I’m so impressed with the quality and the variety of the food that is available in Galway these days. Having spent much of my childhood there when the most exotic thing you could get was a make your own pizza in Quinnsworth! The Galway Food Festival takes place on the Easter weekend, I went along last year and you can read about that here.
I’ll write about our Saturday in Galway in the next post. I’ll also tell you more about the 2017 Galway Food Festival in another post. Sincere thanks to Gwen, Sheena, Heather, Aoife, the Hotel Meyrick and everyone we met along the way for making our weekend so enjoyable.
*Disclaimer – we were invited to Galway to preview the Galway Food Festival, we were given a night in the Hotel Meyrick and everything was complementary. No money changed hands.