and join Shop Street at what is locally known as Lynch’s Castle (but houses AIB). Make it your business to find out who Lynch was and what he did to his son. Pause for a coffee (try to snare an outside table at McCambridge’s: mccambridges.com) from where you can take it all in: street theatre, performance poets, buskers, magicians, puppeteers, human statues, face painters and sign holders pointing you in myriad directions – not one of which will take you very far off-piste. Make time for the narrow funnel of activity that is Market Alley, for example – especially early on Saturday, when traders and craftspeople ply everything from art to knitwear. Look out, too, for the Saturday morning “coffee concerts” inside nearby St Nicholas’ Church (stnicholas.ie), the country’s largest Medieval parish church still in everyday use, itself well worth a noodle around. At the end of Shop Street, I recommend veering left at the fork, and stepping along High Street – pitstop: Griffin’s Bakery (griffinsbakery.com) and/or Murphy’s ice cream (murphysicecream.ie) – as far as the crossroads. You are now entering the so-called Latin Quarter and here you must pause again. See the blue-and-yellow-painted public house on the corner to your right, where all the interesting people seem to gather. This is Tigh Neachtain (tighneachtain.com), a place of mythic reputation and pulsing with character. Go inside, treat yourself to a lap of the warren-like interior, order a black beer, sit, sip, eavesdrop in on the nearest conversation, join in. As soon as your glass is empty order another, take it outside, grab a chair, sit, sip, eavesdrop in on the ... you get the drift.
Opposite, clockwise from top left, dusk at the Spanish Arch; swans basking in the evening sun; the venerable Crane Bar; all docked up at the harbour; the view down Cross Street; a handful of Murphy’s ice cream; before curtain call at Druid theatre; Davi Hora from the Galway Community Circus walks on water; Mattie (“Matt the Hat”) at Tigh Neachtain’s pub. This page, top, diving boards at Sathill and, above, Molly O’Reilly and Clyro enjoying the city.