Galway Girls (the food)

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Mom, Grace and I are just back from a mother-daughter weekend in Galway, where we also spent valuable time with Jack and Olwyn. We didn’t abandon the others, I should add. Dad was attending to Drinagh 1916 affairs and Diarmuid had the most important job of all: looking after the dogs.

It was a lovely weekend, but right now, sitting at home in my dressing gown on a wet and windy Sunday evening, all I can remember was the food. Man alive, Galway is a vibrant beautiful city in many ways, but above all else, it knows how to fill a stomach. We had three full meals a day in a diverse range of places, as well as numerous coffee breaks, but I’ll just mention the places I managed to get a photo. McDonaghs, for example, had tremendous fish and chips but by the time we had finished shovelling food into our faces, we were so shiny that the camera would have malfunctioned.

We stayed in The House Hotel, where they kindly fit the three of us in a double room. Cue much giggling, some squabbling and a potentially fatal situation when the camp bed almost folded up and devoured Mom. It is a funky hotel that is very popular for hen parties and other gatherings, with their cocktails a major selling point.

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Lunch in The Kitchen, attached to the Museum of Galway, was my first brush with the newish food culture of the city (I hadn’t been there for ten years). A salad called Everything but the Kitchen Sink stole my heart, but the setting and company also helped.

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I spotted Coffeewerk and Press on Friday, so we called in on Saturday before our walk to Salthill. Independent coffee shops make me so happy, defiant in the face of the Starbucks and Costas of the world.

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The Dough Bros is the exception to my “photos only” rule, because it is such a fantastic example of creativity, innovation and community support, similar to the work of Bia Mara in Brussels. The other reason is that their pizza is delicious and very reasonably priced. I do have one not-great photo, where Mom is talking with her mouth full (about how good the pizza is) and Jack’s face is a blur of ecstasy, but I couldn’t possibly post it here.

Oh alright, if you insist.

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We stopped in Les Petits Delices for afternoon tea (as if we were about to waste away). I’m kicking myself for not trying a Bigouden, which is mentioned in the link above, because it sounds divine, but as you can see below, we survived.

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Finally, we went for Sunday lunch at Ard Bia at Nimmos, between The Kitchen and the torrent that was the Corrib on a day like Sunday. Mr Nimmo was a Scottish engineer who designed a load of piers back in the early, pre-famine 1820s, which made a huge difference to the fishermen, so it’s nice to see him remembered.

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Even the seagulls were dubious.

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The queue for tables was considerable but swift and before long we had been whisked off to a corner. Mom and I got bowls of seafood chowder we could have swum in, Grace was knee-deep in a dish of Turkish beans, Olwyn had something mushroomy that I couldn’t condone and Jack prepared for an afternoon of final-year assessment work with a proper fry. It was a lot of food in a small space of time and probably not the wisest before driving to Cork, but we battled on through.

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My theory is that now I’ve written about all this food, I can put it behind me and get back to a life of living healthily. This may mean a week of nibbling celery sticks and massaging kale. It was worth it.

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