While I was lucky enough to spend three glorious years living my best life down in Galway, it is sadly no longer where I call home.
So as you can imagine, visits back are a source of great excitement. And it is in no way accidental that they often coincide with the Galway Market.
There is nothing I love more than taking to Galway’s famous cobblestones of a Saturday morning and heading straight to Church Lane by St Nicholas’ Church for the market. In fact, I try to plan my entire trip around ensuring a stop to the bagel man is on the cards (more on him later).
Open year-round every Saturday and Sunday, it also runs on Bank Holidays, Fridays in July and August and every day during the Galway Arts Festival (by far one of the best weeks to be in town). The market has been around for centuries; it’s basically the backbone of the local trade scene for farmers and artisans…and hungry shoppers.
With so much to choose from, it can be hard to prioritise your spending, almost as hard as narrowing down your favourites. But after much deliberation, I managed to choose five of the most delicious things on offer.
Bagels are my kryptonite. Those doughy, ring-shaped pieces of goodness are enough to get me up and out of bed at any time of the day. But especially on a Saturday morning when I know I can get them fresh from the bagel man at the market. Not his actual name, in case you didn’t guess. Galway Bay Bakery makes THE best bagels in Ireland and I have no qualms about it.
Run by the Fahy family, they’ve been fine-tuning their recipe since 1998 so they’re basically experts by now. Flavours include cinnamon raisin, poppy, sesame seed and of course plain. Buy some to take home for midweek and treat yourself to a pizza bagel slathered in cream cheese to enjoy while you wander. DIVINE.
BoyChik Donuts. Commit that name to memory because you’re going to want to remember it. Another doughy, ring-shaped food that I have quite the affinity for. There seems to be a pattern emerging…
Owner Daniel Rosen is practically part of the Galway Market furniture at this stage and his mini-delights keep people coming back for more time and time again. Cooked and sugared right in front of you, you can’t get much fresher. Expect a bit of a queue as they’re quite popular. And for good reason.
Madras Pea and Potato Curry
A heaping hotpot of this will warm you to your very soul. A good way to start the day if it’s wet and miserable out (as it usually is in Galway) or even if it’s not, I can vouch that it tastes just as good in the sunshine.
The Bean Tree are famous for their madras pea and potato curry, serving it up with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and some chili on top. The family-owned vegetarian company has been feeding Galway bellies for 23 years!
Not technically a market vendor but Sheridan’s Cheesemongers falls within the market confines, so it counts in my book.
You know that meme about the waiter coming over to grate some parmesan on your pasta for you? And they tell you to say when to stop, but you never do and so they keep grating and the whole room fills with parmesan? Well, that’s my dream. I would put cheese on top of cheese if I could.
Sheridan’s is your one shop stop for all your charcuterie and wine needs and thankfully it’s open six days a week, so you don’t have to pack all your shopping into one day.
Yummy Crepes make me very happy and I have no doubt that they will make you very happy too. Specialising in, yep you guessed it, yummy crepes, there are both sweet and savoury options. I usually opt for the former as the smell of melted chocolate is too tempting to pass up. Another very popular fixture at the market, I promise waiting in line is worth it.
Owner Mick has been making crepes for over 20 years and while this may be slightly dramatic, I’d trust him with my life…or at least my dessert order.
Things get cosy (*read cramped) on Church Lane but don’t let that put you off. My only grievance is that I have to wait all week long for the market.