There are quite a few markets in Ireland that pre-date plenty of countries (including, as it happens, Ireland
itself, at least in its modern-day incarnation). Long a home to farmers selling their wares and city-slickers looking to hustle an extra few quid, but expanding today into more elaborate and developed products, the following city and village hot spots are a lovely taste of local culture.
Whether you’re here for the buzz, looking to pick up some gorgeous local art and craft offerings, or just want some carrots and potatoes to tuck into for dinner, here’s where to head to in arguably Ireland’s most traditional corner, County Galway. Shop away.
Market, Grocery Store, Street Food
The easiest of these markets to access, as it sits right in the heart of the city, is the centuries-old Galway Market, trading in the same location since the days that the city mayor was forced to hang his own son for murder in a nearby laneway. While it still does the staples, these days the focus is much more imaginative: a huge variety of food stalls serving anything from sushi to curry, with lots of local arts and crafts, and plenty of live music to enjoy too. It’s all set alongside the church, in imaginatively named ‘Church Lane’. The link above has the (varying) open hours.
Galway Market, Church Lane, Galway, Ireland
Athenry Farmer’s Market
A simple local market held in a market square that dates back to at least the 15th century, Athenry Farmer’s Market is a chance to check out both the local produce and the atmosphere of a market town frequented little by tourists. It takes place every Friday, from 9.30 am to 4 pm, and you’ll be able to pick up vegetables, cheese, chutney, meats, bread and other basics, as well as a better sense of the ‘real’ Ireland, in that almost everyone here will be from down the road. Be sure to explore the impressive church and crumbling town walls while you’re here.
Athenry Farmer’s Market, Tuam Road, Athenry, County Galway, Ireland, +353 876272017
Galway Christmas Market
You’ll need to be around at the right time of year, of course (typically late November up until Christmas Eve), but Galway’s reputation for a local twist on German-style Christmas markets is one that’s increasingly drawing crowds from around the country. Much of what’s on sale is very much German or Scandinavian, but the music is distinctly Irish, as is the atmosphere and some of the more imaginative craft stalls. It’s definitely worth a detour if you’re over for the season: it could hardly be more festive.
Clifden Farmer's Market
Market, Irish, $$$
Clifden Farmer’s Market
Another hyperlocal market, in the much-touted Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) corner of Galway, Connemara, Clifden’s Friday Market is another spot in the real Irish market tradition. It’s almost a flash in the pan as it appears for just a few hours on a Friday morning, and then it’s gone. The wares are mostly farm produce, including fruit, vegetables, cheese, locally baked bread, herbs, and the odd yet slightly more high-end offering of clothing and crafty products. If you’re lucky enough to catch it in good weather, it’s a perfect spot for a mid-morning snack with your nose in the local newspaper too.
Market Square, Clifden, County Galway, Ireland
Spiddal Craft Village
Ok, admittedly, this technically isn’t a market, but it has that rustic and beautifully, homemade one-of-a-kind feel that any good market offers, and for that alone, Culture Trip highly recommends a visit. The Spiddal Craft Village is a rural business spot for a host of arty producers, people who blow glass, paint Galway’s sublimely rugged landscapes, weave baskets, cook in beautiful bakeries and a serve up an awarding-winning stop-off at the restaurant and coffee shop. In other words, it’s a very worthwhile aside.
Spiddal Craft Village, Bahoona East, County Galway, Ireland
Kinvara Farmer's Market
Farmers' Market, Market, Irish
Kinvara Farmer’s Market
Another hyperlocal offering, tiny Kinvara Farmer’s Market follows the local tradition of hosting its main event on a Friday, running for just four hours between 10 am and 2 pm. Its main offerings are hyperlocal farm produce, ranging from eggs fresh from the hen to fish straight from the Galway Bay, just a few metres away. More enticing to visitors might be local honey, jewellery, crafts and flowers, and perhaps a climb up the hills that form Kinvara’s backdrop and a visit to the castle to top off the day.
Johnston’s Hall, Main Street, Kinvara, County Galway, Ireland, +353 858432806