Armchair Traveler: Galway (Ireland)

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. can’t (do something) without tripping over (something) / kænt wɪðˈaʊt ˈtrɪp ɪŋ ˈoʊ vər / (idiom) – to see a lot of something while walking around a place or area

    You’ll enjoy shopping in Bangkok! You can’t visit the city without tripping over night markets.

  2. abbey / ˈæb i / (n.) – a church with several buildings where a community of religious people lives

    My grandmother’s sister used to live in an abbey.

  3. fussy / ˈfʌs i / (adj.) – a person who’s difficult to please

    My daughter is a fussy eater. I don’t know what to cook for her.

  4. nun / nʌn / (n.) – a woman who’s part of a religious community who promises to live separate from other people and never get married

    A nun welcomed us when we entered the church.

  5. cramped / kræmpt / (adj.) – describing an area or space that’s too small

    This apartment will be too cramped if we have a baby. I think we should move.


Read the text below.

If you believe the locals, then Galway is the beating heart of Irish culture. You can’t go far without tripping over a castle or abbey, and parts of the city have strong Latin and Spanish influences.

Start with a relaxing stroll round the medieval Latin Quarter. It’s full of charming shops selling arts and crafts. You can look for traditional knitwear, cute pottery and lovely jewelry. Even if you don’t buy a thing, the live music in the streets will keep you entertained.

At the south end of the Latin Quarter, pass through the 18th-century Spanish Arch. Sit on the grass and enjoy tandoori chicken, pizza or crepes — the Irish love all foods and aren’t fussy.

Get your daily steps with a walk to the Claddagh, a former fishing village where the River Corrib feeds Galway Bay. Watch kayakers enjoy the river, or people diving off the board on Salthill Promenade.

Budget some time and money for a day trip to Kylemore Abbey.

The abbey was founded in 1920 by nuns who fled Belgium during World War I. They’ve been in Kylemore Castle since then. Take a tour of the abbey to learn about its fascinating, sad history. Then, get some fresh air with a walk of its large Victorian walled garden.

It’s a 15-minute drive from the abbey to Dunguaire Castle, a 16th-century castle overlooking a bay and the small village of Kinvara. Parts of the castle have been restored, and the rooms give a taste of what life might have been like for its owners. Climb the spiral staircase and step out onto cramped battlements for a great view of the countryside. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In Galway, you can visit castles, abbeys, and shops, or you can do activities like kayaking and diving. If you visited Galway, which would you rather do? Why? Discuss.
  • According to the author, the Irish love all foods and aren’t fussy. Were you surprised that you can eat tandoori chicken, pizza, and crepes in Galway? Do you know much about traditional Irish food? Do you know anyone who’s a fussy eater? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Locals believe that Galway is the beating heart of Irish culture. In your opinion, what does it mean when a city is “the beating heart of a culture” (ex. important events happened there, it has a lot of old traditions)? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what place in your country is the beating heart of your culture? Why? Have you ever been there? Discuss.