On the west coast of Ireland is the City of Galway. With 70,000 residents Galway is another example of the small Irish city with the metropolitan feel of something much bigger.

Known as the 'City of Tribes' because of the fourteen merchant class families that dominated it as an oligarchy during the Middle Ages, this city is packed full of culture and history. In fact, so much so that Galway is also known as Ireland's cultural heart.

Galway is also the home to a large number of Irish language speakers, approximately 10% of the population uses the language day-to-day. And most confusingly, many of the street signs are displayed only in Irish, something which can add a layer of complexity to getting around.

There is also terific food in Galway, and it was here where I had my favorite meal. It was at a restaurant named Ard Bia, which in Irish simply means 'general food'. The food was nothing short of spectacular, and the wine, a rosÉ from Morocco – 2009 Volubilia Gris, from the Guerrouane region – was the match of any rosÉ from Provence. It was so good, why oh why is it unavailable in the US?!

oroboros on 1/24/2012 8:50:35 PM