Spiddal is a peaceful little village about 25 minutes drive up the coastal road from Galway city. I probably never would’ve noticed it if it hadn’t been for friends moving there. What I like about it most is that staying there truly gives you a feel for Ireland and living like a local. The locals are genuine, interesting and welcoming. It has one church, a butcher, pharmacy, bank, convenience store, fast food burger joint, a couple pubs, a beauty salon, one hotel, a spattering of B&B’s/vacation homes and some of the finest food and music you’ll find in all of Ireland. It’s in a region where most everyone speaks “Irish” first, English second and has a school renowned for teaching the ancient language.
The heart of Spiddal is only about 2 blocks long, but I could spend a week there and not get bored for a moment. It’s also home to the popular Irish soap opera, Ros na Rún. For movie buffs, their pier was featured in the film, The Guard and was the hometown of John A. Feeney, father to the famous Western movie maker, John Ford.
Spiddal is also a gateway to the Aran islands. Just a few miles up the road is Connemara airport where you can hop a commuter flight over to any of the 3 islands. If getting on a tiny plane-let isn’t your cup o tea then there are two ferry options from either Doolin in Co. Clare, near Lahinch (Seasonal) or Rossaveal in Co. Galway.
Where to stay:
- Tigh Lal Cottage – charming holiday home just at the edge of town
- An Cruiscin Lan Hotel – in the heart of town with bar/restaurant overlooking the bay
Where to eat, drink and be merry:
- Tigh Giblin – Exquisite lunch, dinner and almost nightly live music including open sessions where you’re encouraged to join in
- Boulin Blasta – Great breakfast and lunch spot (love their liver pate)
- An Cruiscin Lan – Simple fare. Hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner with stellar views of the bay and cozy bar
Things to do: besides eat, drink and be merry
- Stroll down along the beach pathways and take in the crisp, salt sea air
- Go on a fishing excursion and ask the folks at Tigh Giblin about their “You catch it, we’ll cook it.” feature
- Ever wanted to learn how to play the Concertina or Accordion or fine tune your guitar skills? Take a music lesson at Gannon’s
- Check out the unique and high quality local artwork (for sale) at the Spiddal Craft Centre
I’ve yet to meet a person of Spiddal who wasn’t kind and inviting. Like any town, it has its characters, but that’s also part of its appeal. If experiencing the best of Irish life is on your bucket list, then make sure to put a stay in Spiddal on your Itinerary.