This is Galway April/May 2024 Edition - Issue #36

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APRIL/MAY 2024 ISSUE #36 FREE Discover all of Galway’s Best Bits
ELECTRIC The good times are back 04 08 WHERE TO..? Your bimonthly Galway bucket list 12 HOWYA? Meet some of Galway’s Interesting Characters 18 FÍBÍN SA TAIBHDHEARC Scéal na Gaillimhe / The Story of Galway 34 ENDA BURKE Artist Profile 36 JESS MURPHY’S GALWAY FOOD STORIES Baking up a storm with Arlene of Lán Kitchen CÚIRT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE Celebrate the works of Irish and International Writers 44 WHAT’S ON? Galway’s festival season kicks off with an exciting events programme 46 20 GET OUT OF CITY AND EXPLORE Galway’s Famous Seaside Village
what’s inside

IIn one of the most anticipated comebacks in Galway, the doors to Electric are officially back open. Motivated by a genuine desire to forge cultural spaces for young people to express themselves and

socialise, owner James Finan and his team have poured an incredible amount of time, love, and perseverance into reopening the nightclub, resurrecting a haven for “party throwers and go-ers’, in ways both familiar and unexpected.

Having worked as Electric’s general manager from 2013 to 2019, James along with former members of staff undertook the task of reopening Electric, after the club closed its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic. “It’s about giving a place back to Galway to go out and socialise. In a way, that’s becoming harder and harder to do.”

James also notes that everyone shares an immense admiration for the previous owners, who succeeded in keeping the property on Abbeygate Street a cultural landmark for over 30 years. Committed to retaining the nightclub true to this renowned image, James says that, “we’ve reopened Electric, rather than reinvented Electric. [We] had a really good identity before, so we’ve reopened that with 2024s twist on it.”

The team’s passion and drive are evident in every element of the club. Community and attentiveness are two things at the forefront of Electric’s ethos. “Something very important in our mindset here is safety. That doesn’t just come from being physically safe, but being considered, and feeling comfortable,” says James. “We are really considerate about that. If you feel safe and it’s a cool place, then you’re ready to have a good time.” Bringing together local and international creatives, Electric aims to give to the community a safe place to perform and share in something universal.

“It doesn’t feel like work.” James underlines that, “kind of gives the identity of a club, where everyone has a little stake in it.” Electric along with other venues across the country are working with ‘Give us the Night’, a campaign to modernise Ireland’s nightlife. James says that, “it’s about having a stage that’s opened for artists to perform longer. So more artists can perform, and people can see more entertainment.” James and the Electric team hope that with improved rulings around their sectors, they would be able to have enough hours in the night to put on more shows and events.

It’s just a basic human urge to move to a beat, it’s probably almost tribal... I think that experience is one that’s quite universal.”

Electric’s unique ability to encompass multitudes within one building is what creates its inviting and elusive atmosphere. James adds that people should anticipate unique spaces; from their main club area to their rooftop garden to their cocktail bar. The three different levels are host to three different DJs with different sets playing. This is a maximalist space totally flooded with the best talent found locally and abroad. There is truly something here for everybody.

For many, this signals the renewal of nightlife and club culture across Galway. James envisions that this space is a hub for creatives, artists, DJs, and most importantly for people in Galway who want to gather and dance. “We were joking the other day about [putting in] the new dance floor, like when was the last time anyone put down a dance floor?”

“It’s just a basic human urge to move to a beat, it’s probably almost tribal... I think that experience is one that’s quite universal.”

By creating a space for people to safely express themselves, Electric’s team is giving Galway a new life, one that has emerged from cultural standstill into a spectacular harbour saturated with late night dancing and disco balls. So turn it up and get your groove on Galway. Good times are back.

Discover a glimpse of Galway’s many attractions and activities with this little bucket list. There’s always so much to experience so here are some more of our favourite places for you to check out over the next few months…

book a tapas date

Elevate your next date night at the lovely and welcoming Deli La Tasca. Here you can enjoy all the exquisite flavours of Spain all without leaving Galway. They have put their own spin on traditional Spanish recipes to create a homemade tapas menu and we can guarantee you’ll love everything you order. Pair this with glasses of Spanish wine and it is truly a fantastic experience.

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Explore an Irish castle

From the moment you set your eyes on the grounds of Portumna Castle and Garden, you’ll be in awe of its surreal elegance. Located on the shores of Lough Derg, its impressive architectural and historical features are fascinating to discover and you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the gorgeous geometric gardens and tea rooms. We recommend making a day of it because there’s just so much to see.

find a new ‘fit

There really is no telling what quirky, retro and down right cool clothes you’ll find at Retro, so we simply must insist you check them out for yourself!

Specialising in vintage unisex clothing, this spot is full of fabulous one off wardrobe additions and eye-catching accessories. With something for everyone, you’ll be sure to walk away with a bag full of gorgeous vintage pieces.

catch an impromptu music session

An iconic and beloved family owned pub in Kinvara, Green’s Bar is where there is great Guinness, friendly conversation and many impromptu traditional music sessions.

Sometimes these sessions feature well-known musicians, and visiting musicians are always welcome to join in. Green’s are also home to a humongous and ever-growing whiskey collection. Seriously, we have never seen so much whiskey before, or since!


Gráinne Thornton

Illustrations: Áine Keaveney

meet some farmyard friends

The perfect family day out can be enjoyed at Turoe Pet Farm. With a wide variety of activities to choose from, there is plenty here to keep the children entertained.

Indoors, children can bounce on one of Europe’s largest bouncing castles as well as visit the Jungle Town play area. Meanwhile, outdoors, they can meet all the friendly animals including the goats, lamas, rabbits, cows, pigs and donkeys.

galway food


My whole kitchen life I’ve heard about this mystical woman who made the most amazing pastries and desserts, thank you Sarah Croffy and Niamh Fox! Arlene took herself to Burning Man, was a wedding planner and now has gone full circle and started up the most beautiful little wholesale bakery business called Lán Kitchen. We’re lucky enough to share a little cake cabinet together in Plámás and it goes to show that people can work in harmony when offering different things to different people.

Scratching everyone’s itch sooo to speak!

J. So, what made you think to yourself; it’s time to go out on my own?

A. The timing was kinda right and I had honestly run out of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it.

Up until I started I had always been too scared to take the jump but like a lot of people Covid made me realise life is too short to be waiting for something to happen, you have to try. It kicked my ass into gear.

J. How did ya end up at Burning Man?

A. What a bonkers experience! Only me, my husband Bror and a shaman called Trevor will know..... joking. Real answer: delayed honeymoon


food stories

in Yosemite, California and winning a lottery Burning Man ticket. I still have sand in my Docs!

J. What are your top five in your baking playlist?

A. Last 5 played things on my phone are: Bob Dylan. Fela Kuti. En Vogue. Karen Dalton. IDLES.

J. Fruity desserts or Chocolate?

A. Oh man, that’s so hard! Fruit is more fun to use in menus, chocolate dominates too much sometimes but I will always order the chocolate dessert.

J. How much do we love Shane Smith on a scale of 1 to 10? (Shane being one of the most iconic pastry chefs that worked in Galway back in the early 2000s).

A. I mean, we need a bigger scale! 1000/10! He’s just the best and taught me so much. I’ve so much love for Shane.

J. Where did you grow up?

A. Galway, Originally Caltra. Moved to Birmingham when I was a baby. Then back to Athenry when I was about 9. Dropped that Brummie accent fast! I really did all my growing up in Athenry though.

J. What’s the hardest thing about owning your own gaff? (Apart from not eating the leftovers).

A. A never-ending snag list and moaning about said never-ending snag list...

J. How do you handle the pressure of the orders? Too blessed to be stressed or pressure is for tires?

A. LOL! With a serious preplist and lots of laughing! I take my time with the preplist and once that’s set I can relax. I work on my own a lot of the time so sometimes I can feel the pressure but definitely breaking things down into smaller bits and just chipping away is key. I’m so lucky to have the best support around me with my mom, Bror and Denise so they definitely help by laughing a lot in the kitchen which will make any crazy day seem breezy.

J. What are your top cafés outside of Galway city?

A. Súil Eile Space in Barna - best coffee and gorgeous space and people. Wild Bean in Kinvara - for the coffee and craic.


Jess Murphy


Ciarán MacChoncarraige


UAIS Irish Whiskey The Independent Spirit

UAIS The Triple Blend from Ahascragh Distillery is a unique fusion of Pot Still, Single Malt & Grain Whiskeys, three types of Irish whiskey blended together in perfect harmony and aged in Ex-Bourbon & Virgin Oak casks.

Named for Cairel Colla Uais: one of the famed Three Collas, brothers who once ruled ancient Ireland. Against tradition Uais overthrew the sitting monarch and ruled as High King for four short but glorious years. It is in that spirit that Ahascragh Distillery presents UAIS: A whiskey that honours the past but moves in bold new directions, presenting opportunities for new ideas, new flavours and new traditions.

The UAIS bottle is made from the most eco-friendly materials possible; 100% recycled glass and recycled paper for the label with a sustainable wood-stopper and a biodegradable vegetable-based seal.

Ahascragh Distillery has reached a significant milestone for sustainability in the Irish drinks industry with the introduction of Ireland’s first zero energy emissions ‘New Born’ spirit. Upon reaching maturation, ‘New Born’ will first flow into UAIS.

Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as part of a classic cocktail, once ‘New Born’ spirit has undergone its three year maturation process, it promises to provide an unforgettable blend of Ireland’s heritage and future.


Scéal na Gaillimhe The Story of Galway

Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc in partnership with Galway Culture company presents creative expressions of local talent with Scéal na Gaillimhe

Scéal na Gaillimhe is a unique initiative that aims to capture the essence of Galway’s cultural, historical, and artistic heritage through the creative expressions of local talent working through the medium of Irish.

This project invited artists, performers, makers, designers, and creatives from across the county to contribute to an exciting project that celebrates the rich tapestry of Galway.

Producer Pearse Doherty explains, “Our theme, ‘The Story of Galway’, asked creative professionals working through the Irish language to explore the city and county’s narrative from their own unique perspective. We encouraged artists to share with us their interpretation of what Galway means to them with their work reflecting Galway’s history and cultural diversity.”

Six successful applicants were selected through Fíbín sa Taibhdhearc’s open call, and they will present their work at An Taibhdhearc this April 7th.

Damhsa na gCoiníní: The inspiration for this work is the style of traditional music and set dances from Connemara considered through a contemporary music and dance lens. By a group of both traditional and contemporary musicians and dancers based in Galway City and Connemara who are curious about the physicality of the landscape from which these tunes originate and how this physicality can inform the movement.

Dúmhál: Written by Micheál Ó Conghaile and performed by Cumann Drámaíochta Chois Fharraige. ‘Dúmhál’ is based on a short story by Liam Ó Flaithearta that is set in Ireland around 100 years ago, a few years after the uprising.

Flogaist: Written and directed by Aoife Clarke. ‘Flogaist’ is based on the story of Richard Kirwan and Edward Bunting. Set in Cregg Castle in the year 1800, Edward Bunting visits the Castle to collect traditional music in Connacht. This performance captures a historic place that contributed to scientific research and an important preserver of traditional music and how it changes over time.

Ar an Dé Deireadh: This play is based on the story of an old Greek marathon, but it is set in the year 1256, when the de Búrca family chased the Flaithbheartaigh out to West Connacht, in the middle of the Norman conquest.

Ceangal na Coiribe: A creative collaboration between two arts organisations from different parts of Corrib. Headford’s Drumadore Drumming School and Moycullen’s Arlene Cooke Academy of Irish Dance have come together to create a special performance of dance and drumming.

Ainmniú na Cathrach: Fiachra Davoren’s script is about his story of Galway, or the true story of how Galway got its beautiful name. It is a charming, lively, beautiful city. But where did this name come from?

Scéal na Gaillimhe is funded by the Galway Culture Company, which is supported by the Government of Ireland under the National Development Plan through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

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Photo by Liam Carroll

Explore Salthill Explore Salthill

Discovering Salthill’s Coastal Charm

Whether it’s dinner and drinks, live entertainment, or some fun family-friendly activities that you are after, Salthill has something for everyone. A lively seaside atmosphere, famous historic landmarks, welcoming community spirit - you name it, it’s got it, and with loads of fantastic cafés, restaurants and bars scattered about, you’ll see exactly why this is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Galway.

In addition to its close proximity to the city centre, Salthill’s idyllic location along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way makes it the ultimate gateway to Connemara and the Irish West Coast.

With every step you take there is something new and exciting to see, from people leaping off the iconic Blackrock Diving Tower to the buzzing conversations of al fresco diners. Discover all our favourite parts about Salthill with This is Galway’s exclusive Salthill guide.

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Things to do in Salthill

In addition to its obvious scenic attractions, Salthill boasts a wealth of activities to suit every interest and age group. Adventure seekers can dive from the exhilarating heights of Blackrock Diving Tower, and enjoy a walk along the iconic 2km promenade. Just remember to kick the wall by the Diving Tower for good luck! For those with a thirst for knowledge, Galway Atlantaquaria provides fascinating insights into the region’s maritime life. This is a fun activity for the whole family, and with the family-friendly café Ground & Co next door, it’s the perfect day out. When there’s good weather, a trip to one of Salthill’s beaches is essential, especially when followed by a visit to the Playground, and the local park areas; Circle of Life Commemorative Garden and Toft Park & Famine Ship Memorial.

If you have an interest in local sports, Galway Golf Club is an 18-hole course with a putting green, short game practice area and swing room. Galway Lawn Tennis Club comprises a mix of tennis, badminton, and squash courts - perfect for groups. Additionally, come and cheer Gaillimh Abú during a GAA match at the atmospheric Pearse Stadium. The perfect rainy day activity can be enjoyed with a trip to the Omniplex Cinema. Or, go on a tour of Micil Distillery. Here, you can learn the history of whiskey, poitín and gin, how they’re made, as well as enjoy tasting this award-winning product. Alternatively, the indoor swimming pool at Leisureland is a great option, and with Curry’s Funpark right outside, the fun is endless.

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Photo by Chaosheng Zhang

Tour the Village

When staying in Salthill you are going to want a room with a view and these accommodation providers are famous for exactly that. Both Seaview Apartments and Shoreline Apartments offer stunning selfcatering apartments for groups up to 6 people. Additionally, Galway Bay Hotel and Salthill Hotel have everything you need for a perfect holiday under one roof; kids club, leisure centre, bar and restaurants.

All coffee enthusiasts need to visit the dog-friendly Kali Coffee Bar. Run by a team of coffee lovers, here you can try new blends and expand your coffee horizons. Alternatively, Ré merges speciality coffee and design in one space. With your coffee, we suggest checking out their retail shelves, as you are sure to find something you’ll love. If you’re enjoying a walk along the Prom with your pet, Gourmet Tart Co has all the refreshments both you and your doggo need. Located at The Nest Boutique Hostel, The Pear Tree Café & Bistro is the perfect place for a lunch date. Alongside tasty offerings of coffee and pastries, they serve delicious menu items such as pancakes and their loaded sourdough toasties. Salthill’s meeting place for friends and family, The Creamery has loads to offer. Their diverse menu offers something for everyone and since they also serve Galway’s best ice cream, what more could you ask for

Take this as your sign to visit Blackrock Cottage! Owner and Head Chef Martin O’Donnell and his team have earned their reputation based on their exceptional menu that is full with bold flavours. If a tapas night sounds like your kind of thing, look no further than Black Cat. In addition to their small plates and wine list, they are also famous for their seafood dishes, so be sure to give it a try. After a day at the beach, you’re going to want to spoil yourself with a tasty meal at Gourmet Food Parlour. We absolutely adore their brunch dishes, especially when paired with a cocktail or two. Alongside their exquisite seafood menu, Barnacles Bar and Kitchen is home to a fully stocked bar, cosy atmosphere and the very best of Irish hospitality.

Enjoy a taste of Italian cuisine excellence by treating yourself to the scrumptious Italian food at Magnetti’s. For some authentic Brazilian foods, no one does it better than Chef Laura Rosso. With plant based vegetarian options that are worth the trip to Salthill alone, we can’t recommend it enough! There’s nothing quite like the taste of Asian street food on a sunny day so add Lana to your itinerary asap. Additionally, Osaka offers visitors a dining experience of the finest Japanese and Asian cuisineseriously it’s to-die for!

For a pint of Guinness, go to Wards for one of the best in Galway. If you want some live entertainment to accompany the pints, O’Connors is Ireland’s original singing pub and is famous for both its hospitality and live music sessions. Known for its buzzing atmosphere, quality pints, and sound staff, PJ Flathery’s Pub is a perfect alternative. Additionally, very little can beat sipping away on fruity cocktails at the rooftop bar of O’Reillys Bar & Kitchen. Complete with panoramic views over Galway Bay, this is the perfect spot to wrap up your day.

Wine, Dine and Dream at BlackCat

Galway’s lucky BlackCat restaurant and boutique accommodation should be high on your list of places to visit in Salthill.

Established in 2011, BlackCat resides in one of the most historic buildings in Salthill and still retains its original character and charm. Under the direction of its owners Joanna Paszkiewicz and Chef Leon Mellsop, BlackCat has earned a stellar reputation and continues to be popular and beloved by both locals and visitors alike.

The perfect setting for a relaxed tapas style meal, this intimate and cosy restaurant specialises in delicious, high quality, locally sourced dishes. If you need any help deciding what to order, the amicable staff are always on hand to recommend their favourite small plate and wine combinations.

After your visit you won’t want to leave and thanks to their stunning accommodation, you don’t have to! Their onsite compact bedrooms are all uniquely designed to accommodate the original features of this 200-year old building and have everything you need for a restful night’s sleep.

To book your stay visit their website at

Tapas Restaurant | 179 Upper Salthill

Things to Love about Ground & Co

Open seven days a week, for coffee, brunch, lunch and takeaway - there are loads of reasons to love Ground & Co!

Ideally located near all of Salthill’s top family attractions, this café is incredibly kid-friendly and perfect for family trips to the seaside. Ground & Co exudes a cosy and wholesome ambiance and its staff go above and beyond in all they do.

Menus here feature a delightful mix of breakfast and deli options, sandwiches, salads, pastries and of course the ever popular Leroy’s sausage rolls. Additionally, they offer a fabulous selection of dishes for vegans and vegetarians. This year, Ground & Co are introducing a new evening menu with burgers, fries and bites. Available Thurs-Sun, we strongly recommend you try this for yourself also. All their baked goods are made fresh in-house every morning and are the perfect side for your morning cuppa.

Now that you’ve fallen in love with all they offer, be sure to visit their equally charming other locations in Oranmore, Barna and Knocknacarra(takeaway only).

Coffeeshop & Bakery | Atlantaquarium Page 25 | SALTHILL

Breath-taking views of Galway Bay, an incredible food and drink scene, cute gift shops and plenty of live entertainment, all while being just a hop, skip and a jump from the city centre - we could go on and on with reasons we love Salthill. During the summer months this vibrant seaside village looks exceptionally beautiful so if you haven’t already taken a whirl down to the famous Promenade, this really is a phenomenal time to...

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01. Black Cat

179 Upper Salthill

02. Ground & Co Claude Toft Park, Atlantaquarium

03. Ré Coffee + Design 137 Upper Salthill

04. Blackrock Cottage Blackrock House, Salthill

05. Kali Coffee Bar

133 Upper Salthill

06. The Creamery Salthill Promenade

07. O’Reilly’s Bar

232 Upper Salthill Road

08. Chef Laura Rosso Grattan Road

09. Gourmet Food Parlour 14 Lenaboy Gardens

10. Lana

224 Upper Salthill Road

11. Barnacles Bar & Kitchen 163 Upper Salthill

12. Galway Atlantaquaria Seapoint Promenade

13. Circle of Life Commemorative Garden

Quincentennial Park

14. Salthill Promenade Salthill

15. Blackrock Beach Salthill Rd Lower

16. Salthill Playground Quincentennial Drive

17. Leisureland Upper Salthill Rd

18. The Pear Tree Café & Bistro 107-109 Upper Salthill

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Map illustration by Fuchsia MacAree
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A Cosy Community Café: Ré Coffee + Design

Speciality Coffee & Design Shop | 137 Upper Salthill

Bringing together all of our favourite things into one space, Ré Coffee + Design is an inviting coffee shop that offers a stunning selection of speciality coffee, natural wines, and gifts.

Owner Sinéad and her team are passionate about what they do and this level of care is echoed throughout their entire ethos; The house speciality coffee you’ll enjoy here is from Bell Lane roastery in Mullingar, which has direct trade with farmers in Brazil. Their range of natural or low intervention wines are produced by small European wineries. All of the fun, quirky, and cute cards, crafts, artwork, etc. on their shelves are the creations of local and Irish artists. Additionally, they offer tasty locallymade treats, including cookies, pastries and sandwiches from Hapi Bakery.

A Timeless Dining Experience at Blackrock Cottage

Seafront Restaurant | Salthill Promenade

Since it opened its doors at the end of 2022, Blackrock Cottage has been winning rave reviews from diners and food critics alike. Situated at the end of Salthill Promenade, beside the iconic Blackrock Diving Tower, the Cottage blends breath-taking views of Galway Bay with a cosy and intimate setting, and a menu that has been specifically designed for its patrons.

The breakfast, brunch and lunch offering is very popular with diners, but the Cottage’s award-winning head chef, Martin O’Donnell, has also created a beautiful evening dinner menu that showcases the very best of what Galway has to offer. Martin describes his menu as ‘traditional dishes with a modern twist’. There is also an extensive wine list to choose from along with a range of cocktails.

Blackrock Cottage has also scooped a cluster of prestigious high-profile awards, most recently winning the ‘Best Restaurant in Galway’ at the Connaught Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards. 8am to 5pm (Monday to Wednesday), 8am to 9.15pm (Thursday to Saturday) and 8am to 8pm on Sundays, you can walk in during the day for breakfast, brunch or lunch and book a table for evening dinner online at or by calling (091) 399280.

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Haven for Coffee Enthusiasts:

Haven for Coffee Enthusiasts:

Kali Coffee Bar

Kali Coffee Bar

When you’re in Sunny Salthill, brighten your day even further with a visit to the lovely Kali Coffee Bar. Here you can sample coffee from an award-winning barista, as co-owner Enda Johnston last year won the Irish Brewers Cup and went on to represent Ireland on the global stage! You can also spend an evening learning from the very best as they hold twice monthly Filter Brewing Classes in the shop. Not just for coffee nerds, though, as the friendly team here are passionate about making their space as accessible as possible to everybody, so they are dog-friendly and even offer service through Irish Sign Language.

Our insider’s tip: walk down to Kali at the weekend when you can treat yourself to a delicious cinnamon bun or banana muffin by G’Day Bakes, then sit out in their peaceful garden area while you enjoy some time out beneath the beautiful oak tree. Oh, don’t forget to browse their Artist Wall before you leave, which changes every month and showcases lots of lovely things from local creators.

Speciality Coffee Bar | 133 Upper Salthill Page 30 | SALTHILL

It’s A Foodie’s Paradise at The Creamery

Evenings spent by the seaside are the setting to many a-happy memory in Salthill, and one spot that plays an important role in creating these moments is The Creamery. This is a casual and family-orientated café, bistro and ice cream parlour that has loads to offer guests, whether they are on the go or want to sit-in and unwind. Their food and drink menus accommodate a diverse palate and they’ve just added pizza to their evening menu giving you even more options to love. Their ice cream is the best in the area and they’ve now got a vegan ice cream to offer too.

Our insider’s tip: after a trip to the beach, pop across the road into The Creamery to enjoy loads of tasty treats. It doesn’t matter who you’re with, family, friends, or travelling solo as this eatery caters to each and every taste, no matter if you want a pastry and smoothie or a more substantial meal with a pint of beer or glass of wine. A bonus recommendation: sit in their outdoor area so that you can take in all the bustle of Salthill while you dine. To order for takeaway visit their website at www.

Cafe, Ice Cream, Bistro | The Promenade


O’Reilly’s Bar and Kitchen

the Sky’s the Limit

Bar & Restaurant | 232 Upper Salthill Road

O’Reilly’s Bar and Kitchen is located in the heart of Salthill Village and comes with plenty of family history. With its breathtaking views over Galway Bay in addition to its Restaurant, Bar and famous Rooftop Terrace, this is the perfect meeting place in Salthill.

Being the only place in the Village that’s open from 10am until late 7 days a week, O’Reilly’s truly has something for everyone. Their restaurant raises the bar on traditional pub grub, offering fresh made-toorder breakfast, lunch and dinner along with the very best of cocktails and specialty coffees.

The ‘side-bar’ is the perfect hideaway for a cosy fire-lit catchup with friends over a creamy pint of Guinness. You’ll find the bar well stocked with all your favourite whiskey, gin, vodka and rums. Their famous Rooftop Terrace provides the ultimate summertime hangout zone with delicious cocktails, BBQ feasts and stunning views over Galway Bay, they offer an atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else across the province. The terrace is open from May to September, 1pm-10pm.

To book a table or make an enquiry for a party/corporate booking please email them at info@oreillysbar. ie or visit their website at

Photo courtesy O’Reilly’s Bar


Howya! Any craic?

My name is Chaosheng Zhang. I am a geographer and photographer.

What do you love about your job?

As a geographer, I enjoy exploring the world around me. My job is to have a better understanding of the environment which always has its mysteries.

What brought you to Galway?

I got a nice job, a permanent one, more than 23 years ago! I did not know much about Ireland at that time, but I knew it is a beautiful island where you can see the ocean.

What’s your happiest memory?

The first time I saw a train. It was a cargo train. It was so impressive!

What’s your favourite thing to do in Galway?

Watching the sun go down on Galway Bay.

Tell us one thing you’d love to change about Galway?

I really hope for less rain and more sunshine!

Tell us a secret...

People who know me, know that I am an amateur photographer. My secret is that I have never used Photoshop or Lightroom. At least, not yet!

Tell us a joke!

What’s between 1 and 3? …‘and’!


Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Page 34 | HOWYA?

The Art of the Unexpected: Stepping into Hidden Realities

Artist Profile Enda Burke

Enda Burke’s photography captures familiar moments in a whimsical explosion of creativity. Enda has a knack for transforming the day-to-day into fantastical narratives that quell the fear we’re living in a banal world. He combines his motifs of kitsch, colour, and Catholic iconography in his portraits, where dreamlike sets come alive in images that are rich in nostalgia and humour. Enda’s portraits entice you to step into this world with him and embrace the overly eccentric.

Based in Galway, Enda says he “started off doing street photography, documenting moments of beauty on the street. That was my first proper delve into photography.” A true observationalist, Enda sought to capture familiar moments in real time, with an emphasis on the unusual or strange. His transition to more portrait based imagery was a direct result of the lockdowns and restrictions that came into full force in 2020. With the pandemic acting as a catalyst for his creativity, he turned to constructing elaborate sets and scenes with his mam and dad at the forefront.

“I needed to get a bit creative, so I started building sets in my house,” Enda says. “I kinda turned the camera on people I saw every day, which were my parents… that’s where set design and a more colourful storyline came into play.”

A portrait titled, ‘String me along’ depicts Enda’s parents sitting on either side of a turquoise mini fridge having a conversation via tin can phone. Mam flicks a cigarette with an ear pressed up to the can as dad speaks to her on the other side of the string. The fridge door

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is ajar revealing shelves of Tesco value beer and plastic fish spilling out from the bottom shelf. A statue of the Blessed Mother Mary sits clemently atop the fridge under a neon pink cross adding a sense of stillness and glitzy stoicism. Draped behind the religious symbols are flashy cheetah print curtains. If it sounds eccentric, it’s because it is.

For Enda, storytelling is a crucial element of his work. “Humour is important, and [so is] colour. When I started the sets during lockdown, Covid was obviously gloomy and I wanted to have an antidote to that,” he says. “I just like that my stories are accessible and that people can relate to them. Especially the Irish context.” There’s a sense of familiarity in Enda’s portraits, and at the same time he is able to balance that with a distinctive artistic flare. These two coexisting elements of his photography are what set him apart as an artist and photographer. As his style develops he continually captures his own sense of reality in the four corners of the frame, concocting mesmerising portraits saturated with cultural punchlines.

- I just like that my stories are accessible and that people can relate to them. Especially the Irish context

“I think it’s important to always keep developing in any genre,” says Enda. “Photography is just trying to fit everything into one frame. It’s literal reality.” This development comes from experimenting with different aspects of expression. “I think a good photograph is also like making a good stew. It has different elements.” He continues, “you throw in aesthetics, that’s one thing, and you might throw in storytelling, and you might put in something conceptual. And you combine those things, that’s what makes a beautiful photograph for me.”

Enda’s photography is bold and inviting. And despite its unexpected nature, it’s also comforting. Giving us a glimpse of the realities we sense, but rarely see. Enda Burke is opening doors to see things in a new light. And after all, isn’t that what thought provoking art is designed to accomplish?

Page 38 | ENDA BURKE

Book your next Galway Holiday at Imperial Hotel

Imperial Hotel Galway is a timeless landmark in the heart of Galway City. Located on Eyre Square, Imperial Hotel boasts 83 comfortable, spacious bedrooms designed for a relaxing stay, whether you’re here for business or leisure. They also offer a number of large family rooms with ample space for the whole gang.

The hotel enjoys an unrivalled setting in the centre of Eyre Square, surrounded by top attractions, bars and restaurants, quaint cafés, and the bustling shopping district of Galway City. In addition to their accommodation, they offer delicious mouthwatering food, and their friendly team looks forward to welcoming you. For more information please visit their website at

Photo by Ciarán MacChoncarraige
23-28 April 2024

Celebrate the works of Irish and International Writers at Cúirt 2024

Featuring Paul Lynch, Bryan Washington, and Mary Costello, the 39th edition of Cúirt International Festival of Literature presents an exciting programme with leading and emerging Irish and International writers.

Spanning over 50 events, the programme includes poetry, fiction, memoir, non-fiction, masterclasses and workshops, exhibitions, and family events. Festival Director Manuela Moser commented, “Cúirt celebrates stories and ideas, and as ever, we’re thrilled to host a wide selection of world-class authors at the pinnacle of their careers alongside exciting new voices.”

Festival highlights include: 2023 Booker Prize winner, Paul Lynch will speak about his outstanding novel Prophet Song and 2005 Booker Prize winner, John Banville will share the stage with esteemed author Mike McCormack for a vibrant conversation about their most recent novels. Join Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons of the Black & Irish organisation, to discuss their landmark book Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes.

Kai’s Jess Murphy, Bryan Washington, Jennie Moran, and Louise Kennedy will participate in a scrumptious conversation about food in fiction. Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah will return to Galway with Let it Be a Tale, a spoken word performance with live music by Phil Monsour. To close the 2024 festival, two of Galway’s most celebrated poets, Elaine Feeney, and Rita Ann Higgins, will be joined by Jackie Kay and Susannah Dickey for an inspiring poetry reading.

Cúirt 2024 will take place in Galway from April 23rd to 28th. For full programme details visit

Page 45 | Cúirt

what’s going on?

As Galway’s famous festival season gets underway, the next two months are going to be packed with loads of exciting things to do and events to attend. To give yourself a taste of what’s ahead, check out our guide to all that’s going on right here!

On May 3rd-11th, Galway Theatre Festival is bringing their eclectic programme to venues across Galway city. Kinvara Plein Air, the festival of outdoor painting, workshops and art exhibitions will take place in Kinvara, Thoor Ballylee and The Burren from May 31st. Music for Galway will present audiences a festival that celebrates the beauty and power of the cello at Cellissimo 2024 on May 18-26th in the Town Hall Theatre. The Inishbofin Arts Festival (May 3rd-5th) is an unmissable celebration of creativity and culture on an Irish isle.

Page 46 | WHAT”S ON

A weekend of the very best of Irish music, song and dance will take place on April 4-7th as the Clifden Trad Festival gets underway with concerts, sessions, workshops and outdoor entertainment.

At the Galway Indoor Market (April 20th & May 18th), you can shop the stalls for new and old clothing, jewellery, crafts, artwork, botany and more. Over in the Róisín Dubh, Strange Brew will be continuing their series of late-night shows with Daithí (April 11th) and Stop Throwing Lemons (April 26th). WOMP Events is returning on April 10th with another edition of the quiz that lets you put all your telly trivia to good use: The Great Big Small Screen Quiz. HYDE Bar are taking things back to the land of fliphones, iPODs, pop group mania, and low-rise jeans with their Noughties Disco Brunch on May 5th.

If you want to attend a dinner with live entertainment, The Galmont Hotel and GCF will be serving up mayhem on a plate alongside a 3-course meal and two hours of non-stop laughter at their very unique Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience (April 14-16th). And finally, if you like a bit of Shite Talk, join them in Seven Bar on May 10th for A Live History Podcast as they dive into mad and bizarre stories from the past.

This is a mere drop in the ocean of events that are organised for April and May so scan the QR code ( whats-on/) to see everything Galway has to offer.


Key Dates for Galway’s Festival Season

Summer is just around the corner! If we know anything about a Galway summer, it goes by in the blink of an eye. Make sure you plan ahead by saving these dates for all the amazing events across the rest of the year!

Clifden Summer Music Festival - 14th - 16th June

Galway Uke Festival - 21st - 23rd June

Galway Film Fleadh - 9th - 14th July

Galway International Arts Festival - 15th - 28th July

South Galway Bay Music Festival - 26th - 28th July

Galway Races - 29th July - 4th August

Connemara Pony Show 20th - 23rd August

Clifden Arts Festival - 19th - 29th September

Galway International Oyster Festival - 27th - 29th September

Galway Cartoon Festival - 4th - 9th October

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children - 11th - 20th October

Galway Comedy Festival - 22nd - 28th October

Some upcoming highlights


APR 6 The Tumbling Paddies (BLACK BOX THEATRE)

APR 12 - 14 Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience (GALMONT HOTEL)

APR 19 Adrianne Lenker (BLACK BOX) - SOLD OUT

APR 20 Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (LEISURELAND)


MAY 9 London Symphonic Rock Orchestra (LEISURELAND)

MAY 16 John Cooper Clarke (BLACK BOX)








JULY 20 Block Rockin Beats (HEINEKEN BIG TOP)

JULY 20 Randy Feltface (LEISURELAND)











Tickets and more information from

who we are

Artistic Director

Marty Browne

Editor & Writer Gráinne Thornton


Chloe Richardson

Jess Murphy

Photographer Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Marketing Director

Maxi Browne


Ado Lyons

Contributors Áine Keaveney



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