As I was planning a trip to Galway City recently, I naturally wanted to be right in the heart of the action. It was only a one-night stay so I wasn't exactly keen on wasting precious minutes wandering the streets looking for decent cafés, bars and restaurants in one of Ireland's most vibrant cities.
After sussing out a few spots online, I came across the aptly-named 7 Cross Street Boutique Hotel on, you've guessed it, Upper Cross Street. Like I said, it was only a one-night stay so luxury wasn't top of my list of priorities. It was more than affordable and from my research, it seemed that a few of Galway's hotspots were nearby.
When I got there, it soon became clear that nearby was an understatement. At a stretch, I could nearly put one foot on the curb outside the hotel and the other foot would reach over to the Front Door, one of the city's prime nighttime establishments. Added to that, the famous Neachtains was mere feet away, gin bar Tigh Nora lay attached to the Front Door, and the Dáil Bar was no further than a stone's throw away. All spots in which I could enjoy some good food, drink and music during my brief stay so it's fair to say I was delighted.
Lying in the heart of Galway's Latin Quarter, you'd barely notice 7 Cross Street as you walk by. Its narrow doorway lies next to an antique shop and its understated facade allows it to blend in as if not there at all. Heading inside, a tight stairway leads to the reception on the first floor.
After checking in, I was shown to my room a few flights up in the tall building and was more than happy with what I found. A comfy bed, decent shower facilities and a TV on the wall to wind the brain down before going to bed. Basically, all you need for a pleasant hotel experience in my opinion.
Off I went to explore what Galway had to offer. Even on a Monday night the city always has a bit of a buzz about it as tourists and locals mingle happily to the sounds of buskers on nearly every street corner. It's the type of place that's perfect for a solo trip as conversation is easily struck up between strangers and if not, it doesn't take long to find a decent pub to enjoy some quality live music.
Still, given that I was on my own I was hardly in the mood to paint the town red so I headed back to the hotel at about 11 o'clock.
When I got back and laid my head on the pillow, it didn't take long before it became apparent that I wouldn't be dozing off to the land of nod any time soon.
While it was all well and good being so centrally located while I was out wandering, the address doesn't exactly lend itself to a peaceful night's sleep. As people started to spill out from all those nearby pubs onto the streets, the old man in me was soon grumbling at the noise all the revellers were making.
Not just any noise, mind. Any accommodation in a city centre is bound to be a little on the loud side but it wasn't just slurry, out-of-tune singing voices that were keeping me awake. Well, that was part of it but the sound of what seemed to be about six people having a full-blown argument was the biggest source of my frustration.
Of course, the hotel can't be blamed for this and it was just unlucky that I happened to be staying on a night which people decided was the perfect occasion to air their grievances at each other.
Having said all that, one man's flaw is another man's advantage. Depending on who you're traveling to Galway with and the purpose of your visit, 7 Cross Street really could be the ideal place to stay. It has enough rooms for large groups of people looking to sample the city's famous nightlife without having to walk around too much and it's definitely on the more affordable side of places to stay. As well as that, the all-inclusive breakfast was just what I needed before I set off again in the morning even if I was a bit bleary-eyed while eating it.
When the city began to die down for the night, I'd no trouble catching up on my slumber and I would probably return to 7 Cross Street. The next time though, I'd make sure I was hitting the hay around the same time as the rest of the Galway population and not a moment earlier.