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Iconic Eyre Square hotel has been given a gorgeous revamp

By Darragh Murphy

March 11, 2020 at 2:37pm

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It's now known as The Hardiman but when I first set foot in there, it was The Meyrick.

Before last weekend, I had been to Galway three times and visited what was then called The Meyrick on each occasion. It was a nice hotel - nothing to write home about - with its location likely the best part about it.

The rooms were basic, the bar was basic and, in truth, the whole hotel gave off an air of 'basic'.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to stay in the renamed Hardiman for a weekend and the change to almost every element of the hotel is perhaps best summed up by the fact that I questioned whether I'd actually walked into the right building that Friday evening.

The revolving door was identical but everything beyond that had undergone a complete overhaul.

The Hardiman

Reception had taken the logical move to the other side of the lobby, making room for a much larger and swankier bar behind a seating area complete with an open fire that warmed and welcomed all guests looking to escape the notorious bite of the Galway wind.

In we checked and up we went in the elevator to the fourth floor, where we found a stunning room at the very corner of the hotel, with two windows offering a bird's eye view of Eyre Square and another giving sight of Forset Street.

Returning to the lobby after freshening up, I got my hands on a cocktail that, like the hotel and nearby NUIG library, was named after James Hardiman, a legend in the City of Tribes.

Hotel manager Patrick, previously a waiter at the hotel, popped over for a chat and explained the more intricate changes that I hadn't noticed.

For dinner, I went for chicken with chorizo mash and being a die-hard fan of chorizo, there was no way that I wasn't going to enjoy it so I sampled my partner's steak to make sure my chorizo bias hadn't blurred my judgement of the food. It hadn't. The food was truly fantastic and the wine, while nothing special, was tasty.

The Hardiman food

The rest of the night flew by in a blur of conversation and ill-advised shots of sambuca before returning to the hotel in the early hours.

I couldn't help but notice a major improvement to the hotel in the morning, when we headed for our buffet-style breakfast in the same area that we had dinner, three floors beneath our bedroom and right at the corner of the building. During my previous visits, breakfast was served underground, denying guests the gorgeous view of Eyre Square from which I benefitted this time around.

A perfectly timed afternoon tea consisted of a range of sandwiches - some cucumber, some ham, some salmon - and delicious mini-scones below a plate of sweet treats.

The Hardiman afternoon tea

Unfortunately, Storm Jorge wreaked havoc with the rest of our Saturday plans but we braved the gusts for an afternoon of exploring the city, every now and then seeking shelter in the countless snugs tucked away in Galway pubs.

A trip to Dough Bros was a must that night, where we got a pizza each because you know yourself. Honey on a pizza was a first for me but The Peter Stinger was a hit, while my guest devoured her Posh Pepperoni.

After a few drinks in The Front Door, we had enough of Jorge and went back to the room, where we indulged in some of the most compelling people-watching you could imagine before falling asleep to the sounds of the driving rain.

Having experienced breakfast from the restaurant on Saturday, Sunday called for some breakfast in bed and the lad who brought us our eggs was just the latest in a series of staff members who combined for the best customer service I've ever seen in a hotel.

Moments before we checked out, Jorge coincidentally decided to depart at the same time which gave us the perfect opportunity to capture a photograph of a sun-soaked Eyre Square from arguably the best vantage point of all.

View from The Hardiman

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