Galway Races Issues
May 7, 2014 6:59 PM   Subscribe

My extended family, 29 people, will be visiting Ireland in the Summer of 2015. Yay! Because of the size of our group, We have already booked some accommodations. Our plan was to be in Galway on the final weekend, Aug 1 & 2, 2015, which is the Galway Races. Will this enhance or disrupt our experience? Details inside.

This family trip is centered around my father's 75th birthday. Galway will be the final stop of the trip. Of the 29 people in our group, only 6 have ever visited Ireland before. We have no real interest in horse racing.

We were hoping to stay in a hotel on Eyre Square or along the Quay. (Maybe Park House Hotel or Jury's). I know hotel prices will be double this weekend, but in this case, for various reasons, the extra cost is not the issue.

The issue: will the city be a drunken mayhem. My 75 year old parents will not want to end the trip in a Mardi Gras atmosphere. Will Eyre Square be an intolerable zoo that weekend. My parents are drinkers, and socially active - they will definitely enjoy their time in Irish pubs - but will the crowd for the Galway Races overwhelm them.

Any insight into the atmosphere of the city of Galway during the weekend of the races would be greatly appreciated. We are not sure if we should make a new plan for that final weekend. Will the Galway Races enhance or disrupt the experience.
posted by Flood to Travel & Transportation around Galway, Ireland (10 answers total)
Holy Mary Mother of God... unless you like drunk people (and the violent scummy kind, not the Oh Danny Boy movie kind) then DO NOT stay anywhere near Eyre Square on any weekend, and DO NOT go anywhere near Galway on race weekend.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:44 PM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Will Eyre Square be an intolerable zoo that weekend.

Its a zoo every weekend, although I'd argue with the assertion the people are "scum". Galway is a college town and a very popular destination with young travelers and Eyre Square is lined with bars and nightclubs as are many of the streets leading off it so full of 16-30 revelers from dusk till the bitter end of the night.

The Races are a huge party as noted above.
posted by fshgrl at 9:57 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I always stay away from the city centre during the Races, as it does become an intolerable zoo.
posted by Grinder at 10:01 PM on May 7, 2014

While Race Week is not nearly as bad Rag Week, here is a video from Eyre Square last year. YSMMV.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:49 AM on May 8, 2014

Gosh he's not very good at climbing that lamp post is he?

Answer flagged for graphic efficiency.
posted by glasseyes at 4:38 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Aran Islands are a short ferry ride from Galway and are beautiful and not to be missed.

I'm not sure if they get "spillover" from the races but they are normally very tranquil and could be a good place to get out of the city during those days.

You could also visit the Burren and Cliffs of Moher those days - also beautiful, probably more crowded with city spillover but at least there's not a pub right there?
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2014

Another vote here for "disrupt the experience". I've been once, my wife several times, it will be manic, the pubs spill out onto the streets to the extent that many streets are jam packed, and like people say above, Eyre square will be heaving with very noisy drunk people. My wife is a far more social animal than i am but even for her the crowds were sometimes overwhelming. It can be fun, don't get me wrong, but i don't think it sounds like it would work well for your group as described.

I'm not sure of the direction you're coming from, but you could head out to Clifden for a night or two, i have fond memories of it.
posted by kev23f at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Clifden as a worthy alternative to Galway. Lovely place, some great pubs, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. Seriously, think about skipping Galway, given the timing.
posted by dbmcd at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The full unpleasant madness is not going to get going until nighttime so it depends on how late you are planning to stay out. You would definitely need to put up with a large amount of drunk people throughout the weekend, but I disagree that the 'scum' element is prevalent, and if it is it will be in the early hours.

Little-known fact: Eyre Square is formally known as Kennedy Memorial Park.
posted by StephenF at 9:49 AM on May 8, 2014

Just a quick follow up:
We will not be going to Galway that weekend now. We will miss Galway on this trip.
Instead, we will head back to Dublin, and that will allow us pass through County Wicklow.
posted by Flood at 4:10 AM on June 9, 2014

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