Search icon


10th Feb 2020

15 mate date ideas for you and your pals in Galway this Valentine’s Day

Sarah Finnan

Mate date ideas in Galway

February 14th is fast approaching. And it seems that it doesn’t matter whether you’re single or loved-up; there’s no avoiding it.

But forget date dates, mate dates is where it’s at.

Finding yourself sans romantic plans may seem like the end of the world. But, when all is said and done, Valentine’s Day is just another day…another random Friday in the calendar year.

Doesn’t mean you have to sit in moping though. I’m sure crying into your popcorn, watching sad movies does have “healing properties” but there’s a time and place for that and this isn’t it.

Here are 15 of our top mate date ideas for you and your pals in the City of Tribes.

Burlesque show at the Róisín Dubh

Spice up yo’ life with a burlesque show. The Dirty Circus will be in the Róisín on February 14th for a performance you won’t forget in a hurry.

If nothing else, it will provide endless entertainment for future stories. Tickets cost €15 with the fun kicking off at 9pm.

Cinema Date

A trip to the pictures is always a safe bet for a fun activity with pals – especially when one of my fave throwback flicks is involved. Palas is showing loads of different films over Valentine’s weekend but Dirty Dancing is the clear winner for me. Don’t forget to load up on snacks…or watermelon.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in my book as it sets the tone for anything thereafter. Have a lousy breakfast and that’s it, there’s no recovering. Combine breakfast and lunch and you’re already onto a winning combination. Dela is always a great shout for some grub.

Charity shop tour

Galway has some true chazza shop gems. Why not follow brunch up with a spot of treasure hunting? Public Romance is one of my go-to’s when out wesht.

Watch the sunset at the prom

Salthill holds a special place in my heart. It’s true what they say you know – sea air has healing properties. As does a 99 (with flake, obviously) and a good sunset.

Time it just right and you’ll manage to catch the sunset too. .

Simply magical and by far the best photo I’ve ever taken.

Crepes at Java’s

Dessert stomach is a real thing. How people can finish a meal and not crave something sweet is beyond me. One thing I ALWAYS save room for when I’m in Galway is a crepe from Java’s. And the cosy interior is the cutest spot for an evening spent with friends.

I’ve never been to France, but Java’s is what I imagine authentic Parisian cafes to look like.


Mates and cocktails go hand in hand…like who doesn’t love a good fancy cocktail? Alcoholic or not, it’s more about the fancy glass and the notions that go along with it. The Buddha Bar should be top of your list for cocktails.

It’s very hard to pick a favourite let me tell you…best try them all so you can make an informed decision.

Hiking Diamond Hill

Hiking does wonders for the soul – all them good endorphins, ya feel? If it’s a good day (and you or your pals have a car), then I’d highly recommend a trip out to Diamond Hill in Connemara.

This is from when I did it last April…20/20 visibility as you can tell. Hopefully, you get luckier with the weather.

Games night at Caribou

Caribou for a craft beer and craic. Nestled down in Woodquay, Caribou is arguably one of the best pubs for a mate date – board games, food, good vibes…it’s all there.

You had me at halloumi.

Electric arcade

Following on the with the gaming theme, Electric Arcade is your one-stop-shop for all the retro classics. Galway’s first arcade bar, they even have a dance machine.  As well as Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and pinball. Nothing like a bit of friendly competition.

And their food and drinks offerings are pretty impressive too…

Spa Day

The Hardiman has a rooftop hot tub, indoor jacuzzi and a sauna and steam room – which says it all really. Indulge your fancier side with a massage or get a mud or seaweed body wrap if you prefer. Bring your camera for some unreal views of Gaillimh.

Hot yoga class

The friends that sweat together, stay together…or something like that. Hot yoga involves doing yoga in a very warm room and there is a lot of sweating. It’s an intense workout but I guarantee you’ll leave feeling zen af.

Swim at Blackrock

A swim at Blackrock is sure to wake you up. Somewhat of a Galway tradition, you have to do it at some point or another. I haven’t been brave enough to dive in yet but it’s on my bucket list (you’ll all hear about it when I do eventually make it in don’t worry).

Run in, run out, dry off, grab some grub. Sorted.

Weather permitting of course.

Go for tapas

I’m just back from a trip to Madrid which means that I’ve rediscovered my love for tapas. Sharing food is actually far better than it sounds. No seriously, hear me out – you get to order more and try out loads of different things on the menu. A win-win right? Cava Bodega has seriously good tapas and is a great spot for mate date meal.  You must order their roasted chickpeas (thank me later).

Tea at Secret Garden

Tea + chats = true Irishness. The Secret Garden is the only spot for both – giant squishy cushions litter the floor and they have over 100 types of different teas from around the world. I dare you to find a greater selection in Galway.

No wifi, just good old-fashioned human interaction. If you’re lucky there will be some live musical accompaniment to serenade you as you debrief.

With 15 mate date ideas to choose from, there’s bound to be one you and your pals can agree on.

READ NEXT: Pizza in Galway – where to spend your dough