We are a senior couple going to Ireland in early October. We are thinking of Sligo or Donegal or Galway. We will not have a car so want to stay in house or flat walking distance to town and activities. Which of the 3 do you recommend and why? Because it is shoulder season will the pubs, museums, etc be fully open? Thank you
Galway. You will have more options for day trips using public transport and access by public transport is easy.
Ditto Galway with its plethora of B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, a university and a lively downtown with a pedestrian-only zone. You can also hop the ferry from downtown or Rossaveel (west of town) to the Aran Islands.
Sligo is fine, especially along the river walk, but can't compete with Galway.
Donegal is much smaller, but after my first trip there in fifteen years last summer, I'd avoid staying there again. The town is bulging out (as are other Irish towns), but it lacks the infrastructure to handle the increased crowds and traffic. Cars, trucks and all manner of motorized vehicles were crawling through town and clogging up everything. It's no longer quaint and quiet.
Galway, all the way. Galway was my favorite city in Ireland. Eat at Oscars Seafood Bistro. The Galway City Museum is small but worth a visit. The city and its pubs and theaters aren’t completely dependent on tourism, so it doesn’t shut down when fall arrives. If you’re interested in visiting Inishmore or the other 2 Aran Islands, a quicker option is a short flight from Connemara Airport, which can be reached by bus from Galway. The flights aren’t dependent on seas that are calm enough, as are ferries, but they do cost more.
On our September 2018 trip with rental car, we passed through Sligo with a stop of a few minutes. We also stayed in a B&B some miles outside of Donegal and explored the countryside from there, but needed the car, and I’d pick Galway if I was choosing just one.
thank you for your advice. We are taking it to heart and will plan on staying in Galway and not Sligo. Now, looking for suggestions on renting an apartment or house in Galway. Because we will not have a car what part of the city should we stay that is safe, walkable, etc.? Thank you in advance for your help.