“Heaven, as conventionally conceived, is a place so inane, so dull, so useless, so miserable that nobody has ever ventured to describe a whole day in heaven, though plenty of people have described a day at the seaside.” – George Bernard Shaw
And that’s exactly what I am going to do, I am going to describe a day in Kinvara at the seaside! I have visited Kinvara on many occasions, it’s a beautiful seaside village and it’s also where my mother lives. It’s a small village of about a thousand people, all of whom are splendid and the village itself is nothing short of charming. If you happen to end up in Kinvara while driving the Wild Atlantic Way or just take a whim and decide to drive there for the day, there are a few things I have done while I’ve been there that have been lovely and I’d love to share them with you.
A shoreline to show
Kinvara is a pier village with a beautiful view of Galway Bay. You can park down at the pier and take a walk around, the view includes Salthill across the bay and there’s a stunning view of the Dunguaire Castle too. If you continue driving past Kinvara towards New Quay (about a 15 minute drive, which I’m sure would be cycle-able too) you’ll find yourself at the Flaggy Shore. The Flaggy Shore is a breathtaking bank that’s so stunning, poems have been written about it. Not too far from the Flaggy Shore you’ll find an alluring art gallery called the Russell Gallery. It’s stunning, there are local artist’s paintings as well as books, gift cards and a tiny café to enjoy. It’s the perfect way to pass a morning on the west coast of Ireland.
Cuisine that counts
While I was in Kinvara, I ate in The Gentian for lunch and it was delicious. I had the fresh vegetable soup which was exactly what the doctor ordered and in the evening we went to the Pier Head restaurant on the Quay. The Pier Head boasts one of the best views in Ireland to enjoy while out for dinner. The atmosphere is almost as rich as their seafood, it’s hard to say which is better!
While you’re hanging around the Quay in Kinvara be sure to stop by The Secret Garden shop. I don’t know about you but I was fascinated by fairies when I was a child (and still am, it’s just not as socially acceptable now!) and this shop is my childhood dream. The downstairs is full, top-to-toe, with little trinkets, candles, fairies and anything pretty. Then, upstairs there is a faerie tailor! Following a winding stairs, you’re lead into two enchanting rooms filled with portraits of fairy clothing – all made from bird feathers and dried petals. It’s spectacular!
You can catch a glimpse of the Dunguaire Castle driving into Kinvara from Galway and from the Quay or you can walk up to it and visit it. It’s the most photographed castle in Ireland (apparently) and rightly so. The backdrop of the castle is outstanding and the castle itself is well kept.
The local lounge
Last, but certainly not least, Greens pub in the middle of the village is definitely the best place to go for a night cap after a long day exploring the village. The owners of Greens are warm and welcoming and the interiors are everything you expect of a traditional Irish pub. My favourite thing about Greens is that you could sit there for weeks on end and always read or see something new on the walls or the ceiling! They have an immense selection of Irish whiskeys too, if that’s what tickles your fancy or if that’s what you’re looking to try while in Ireland. Greens is definitely the place for it! It’s a lovely place to unwind after a day of exploration.
Kinvara isn’t a spot you should just drive through while road tripping in Ireland. It’s definitely worth stopping in. There’s so much to see and do and the people are welcoming and warm. The Merriman Hotel is also Ireland’s largest thatch roof – so you can have a look at that too while you’re looking around the village. If you have any questions about killing time in Kinvara, be sure to ask me on instagram, twitter, snapchat (imperfectlyfree) or facebook. I’d love to help and if I don’t know the answer I can always ask my mum or someone I know from there! I’m really enjoying doing the Irish section on Imperfectly Free, I hope you are too. There are still a few more to come before I head off to explore a country I’ve never ever been to…