Fáilte go Gaillimh- #OurHappyPlace!
At 56 Central Restaurant, we get asked a lot by visitors to Galway for recommendations of places to go and things to do, so we’ve put together our ‘Guide To Galway’ to help you get the most out of your time in our wonderful city. We also recommend that you do some of your own research on This Is Galway where you will find lots of great local advice about events and festivals that are taking place within the city during your stay with us. Another great resource that we recommend you check out is the Wild Atlantic Way website.
FOOD: We’ll be the first to blow our own trumpets and say that we play host two of Galway’s most beloved eateries where the mission is simple; serve delicious, affordable, healthy food that our loyal customers to return to week after week. Both cafés are open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks & treats 7 days a week in both locations (except in the case of Bank Holidays).
For those in the city centre, strut down the famous cobbled streets of Shop Street and find our café 56 Central Restaurant located above OMG @ Zhivago. Known to locals as the stylish world above the streets, it has five beautiful dining areas to choose from, each of which has been designed by local Galway artist. On your way up our stairs, you might even catch a glimpse of a budding bride-to-be rubbing by our Old Marriage Stone which is traditionally said to help grant you a long and joyful marriage.
Wander over to Lower Newcastle and you’ll find the city’s urban getaway, 37 West Café located across the road from the largest and oldest university in the West of Ireland. Here, the walls have been radiated with fun and laughter since first opening in March, 2013.
Upon arriving into either of our venues, you are immediately greeted with a big smile, the sound of laughter and a friendly hello. From open to close, we are always joined by old friends catching up over a glass of bubbles, little children busy colouring and general good vibes. Reservations are not required but be sure to check out our website for opening hours.
OTHER PLACES FOR DINNER: Galway plays host to a wonderful array of cafés and restaurants which display the best of modern Irish cuisine. Some of the award winning choices include Aniar or Loam. Our favorites eats are Il Vicolo, Dela, Kirwans Lane and Hooked. For travellers on a budget, venues like Busker Brownes or Seven Bar also put on a great spread without breaking the bank.
For something casual check out Tartare Café + Winebar along with Biteclub for great cocktails and funky share plates and Asian Tea House for some of the most delicious Thai food that doesn’t break the bank. Pop into The Kasbah Wine Bar for a glass of wine and snack on their polenta chips which are to die for. Stroll down Quay Street and you’ll also find ample choice of places to dine in, all of which are equally frequented by both locals and tourists alike.
Of course, no trip to Galway would be complete without a visit to the Galway Market and the new arrival to our city, the Tiny Traders Market where you will find tonnes of local vendors selling hot food such as Madras curry and yummy Crepes to Japanese Sushi and mouth watering vegan desserts as well as many fresh and local ingredients you can pick up along the way in preparation for a delicious gourmet picnic at the Claddagh. Even if your belly is already full, it’s worth a trip to check out the stalls selling handmade crafts, original art and holistic body care.
SIGHTS: Visit popular spots like the Quadrangle at The National University of Galway to see the oldest and largest university in the West of Ireland or wander down through the Latin Quarter to view the Spanish Arch which were part of the extension of the city wall from Martin's Tower to the bank of the River Corrib, as a measure to protect the city's quays of the area once known as the ‘Fish Market’. Keep heading across the bridge and you’ll find yourself in a place that the locals affectionately refer to as ‘The Wesht’. Galway’s West End is where the city’s bohemian community flourishes. This part of the city moves to a different beat and has a long and colourful history moulded by Galway characters of old and new.
Take a trip outside of the city and take a drive out the Clifden Sky Road or explore the picturesque neighbourhood of Kinvara with it’s fishing port, castle, and rustic nature reserve and take in some of that beautiful ‘sea air’. Visit the beautiful village of Cong which is right on the border of county Mayo. This quaint lakeside spot has less than 200 residents, a pub, an old abbey and the glorious Ashford Castle Estate.
Stroll out by the Salthill Prom where you can ‘kick the wall’ at the end of this 2 km coastal walk for good luck. On a fine day, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Aran Islands in the distance. We recommend you bring your swimming togs so you can reward yourself with a quick dip with a jump off the legendary Blackrock Diving Board. (Pop out to the Diving Board on an early morning and you’re even more than likely to run into our very own Gill Carroll, the owner of both 56 Central Restaurant and 37 West Cafe. Gill is a regular morning swimmer and says that it’s one of her favourite ways to start the day.)
ACTIVITIES AND FUN: Galway city is such a vibrant hub of culture so there are tonnes of great options for sampling the best of Irish music and art. To hear some great traditional Irish music in the evening, try having a drink at Tig Choilis, where the walls are decorated with pictures of local and famous musicians who have played a tune or two in the famous pub over the years. With over 14 traditional Irish music sessions weekly, the pub is a hub for local and visiting musicians who come along to share a tune, song and a story with those who are there to listen. Just across the road you will find Taafes Bar, whose doors have been open for over 150 years! In Taafes, there is never a cover charge and they hold a session every evening at 9 pm over the summer.
Of course, there’s no city in Ireland that enjoys a festival more than our very own City of the Tribes. Particularly over the summer months, the streets of Galway become a vibrant hub for some of the best of local and international talent who come together and showcase their unique and astounding talent throughout the theatres, pubs, clubs and indeed, the streets. Whether it be the Galway International Arts Festival, the Galway Oyster Festival or the Galway Races, there really is something to suit everyone’s tastes. Check out the Galway Tourism website for more information on what’s happening during your stay.
EXPERIENCES AND SOUVENIRS: One of the greatest ways to learn about the history of our unique city is by taking a guided walking tour and with plenty of great choices like Galway City Walking Tours, Tribes Free Walking Tour or Galway Tours, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. You can also take more specialised guided tours like the Irish Food Trail, Wild Atlantic Way Food Tours or the Galway Whiskey Trail. If you don’t fancy walking, then there’s plenty of alternative ways to get around. The Corrib Princess is boat tour which takes you along the majestic River Corrib and onto Lough Corrib, the Republic of Ireland’s largest lake. Galway Bay Boat Tours is a family run business specialising in tailored boat tours on Galway Bay on a traditional handcraft Galway Hooker boat.
Explore further afield on a tour outside the city with Lally’s Bus Tours, Wild Atlantic Way Day Tours or the Galway Tour Company who organise trips to some of the West Coast’s most unique regions such as the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Connemara as well as the beautiful Aran Islands. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not take a bike tour with West Ireland Cycling who offer self guided or customised experience cycling holidays to display the very best that Ireland has to offer.
For those who want to buy souvenirs to bring home as gifts or to help you remember your time in the City of the Tribes, we recommend a visit to OMG @ Zhivago on Shop Street, Galway’s largest souvenir store. They carry a great selection of magnets, keyrings, clothing, postcards, stamps and are also the exclusive retailer for the gorgeous selection of Galway Girl™ Clothing and Accessories. The owners of this Galway institution also happen to be the brother and father of 56 Central Restaurant and 37 West Café owner, Gill Carroll, proving again that Galway is a family oriented local city.
We really hope you thoroughly enjoy your time in the west - we are so proud to be able to call this city our home. We hope that we have been able to contribute, in some small way at least, to making sure you look back on your time in the City of the Tribes fondly. Thanks for visiting Galway we hope that you will visit us too.
You can find out lots more about us on by following us on Facebook or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtags #56Central or #OurHappyPlace so that we can see all your fantastic photos. For now, as we say in Irish, go n-éirí an t-ádh leat ar do thaisteal! (Good luck on your travels!)