Galway is pretty chilled-out in general, apart from the odd skanger pub there's very little chance of being hassled on the street for being a Goth. Sometimes drunks and kids will come up asking you about yer mohican/jewelry/tatooes etc but whereas in most cities this would be a prelude to a kicking, in Galway 9 times out of 10 it's just good-natured curiosity and banter.

There's a reasonably good live music scene in Galway, most of the bars will have bands playing. Most of them will be yer usual bunch of whining kids doing Oasis and Coldplay covers but there are some excellent local bands too. The Deanes are a great blues rock Rory Gallagher style band well worth a watch if you like that kind of thing...

Try and obtain a copy of the Galway Advertiser, a local paper with the best Ents section, and it's completely FREE. Comes out on a Thursday, most pubs and cafes will have a few copies lying around.There's always something going on any night of the week in Galway if yer not too fussy.

The main Rock/Goth/Metal/Biker bar is Sally Long's. From Eyre Square head down Shop Street a bit till you see a big grey stone castle thing on the right which is now an AIB. Turn right there and Sally's is at the end of the street on the left. Can sometimes get a bit shiny between 10 and 11 at night because there's 2 major shiny nightclubs across the street and they tend to invade Sally's for a pint before going clubbing, but they always feck off by 11.30 and there's never any fights or other nonsense. Sometimes have a rock DJ on after 9.30, sometimes a band. Sally's closes early though so if yer still thirsty you'll have to move on. Sally's has a very loyal regular clientele, there's a bit of a family atmosphere to the place where everyone obviously knows everyone else. Friendly bunch though, they'll chat away to you if you want them to. And leave you alone if you want them to as well.

Your best option for post-midnight pints is probably Roisin's (Roisin Dubh, Dominick St) which is open till 2am every single night and is free all night too, usually, unless there's a major band playing. Even then, the paying gigs tend to be over at 12 and then it's a DJ till 2am. It's less than a 10-minute stagger from Sally's down Shop Street and over the bridge. Music is generally on the indiekid/alternative/emo side of things but it could be worse. Probably the best smoking area in Galway.

Other possibilities are Bar 903 (aka Bar Cuba) on the ground floor of the Cuba nightclub at the top of Eyre Square. Sometimes has a good band or DJ on, again open till 2am for free. Very young and shiny clientele, but you won't get hassle. Upstairs is Club Cuba, a 2-floor nightclub. First floor shiny, top floor usually a band though it's only rarely they have something decent on, and you have to pay through the nose to get in. Very much a last-resort option if you *really* need a late pint and Roisin's is packed.

Tigh Coilí and The Crane both do decent Trad sessions if you like a bit of diddly-eye, though Tigh Coilí is more touristy and The Crane is full of proper hairy mountain men from the wilds of Connemara.

Avoid The Kings Head which is just a tourist trap full of loud idiot Americans. The Quays is a bit of a kip as well, never liked it but it remains inexplicably popular, especially with the over-30 crowd. The GPO, Halo and CPs are the main shiny nightclubs, complete rubbish really just standard chart crap. Club PI and Karma on Shop St have the reputation of being crap chart music *and* full of knackers. Tí na nÓg is full of hoodie-wearing skangers as well. Oh, and stay away from Supermac's on Eyre Square from about 1am till 4am, tis hell on earth. Kennedys on Eyre Square is a &nightclub& generally full of sad 35-50 year old businessmen and their wives. Apart from that nearly all the pubs are servicable enough really, they'll all do for a pint. Freenys, Neachtain's (both Quay St), O'Connells (Eyre Square) or the Dew Drop (Mainguard St) would be personal favourites for a quiet pint of Guinness.

Web cafes everywhere. Port on Eyre Square also have a brand-new games room with brand-new PCs, *huge* screens, and most of the popular PC multiplayer games, Half-Life 2, Counterstrike etc.

Eats: right beside Sally's there's La Salsa which does burritos, tacos etc takeaway, Most famous for the half-pound homemade Diablo burger with jalapenos, mmmm. Next door is the Homeplate, a good wee cafe for traditional grub (stews, roast chicken spuds and gravy, good solid Mammy Food). Across the street is the Charcoal Grill, excellent kebabs and *very* nice half-pound burgers. Between Sally's and Shop St there's Couch Potatoes which does immense spuds filled with savoury sauces, or Buon Appetito a lovely wee Italian cafe that does good grub at a cheap price, or Javas for coffee n bagels. Buon Appetito is licensed too so you can get a beer or wine with a meal. Best chain of coffee shops is probably Arabica, one on Merchants Road in the city centre (ground floor of a multistory car park, looks a bit grim from the outside) and one in the Liosban Industrial Estate out the Tuam Road. Excellent coffee and great food for cheap. *Loads* of decent restaurants if yer feeling flash. Cactus Jacks for TexMex, Da Nang Noodle House for Chinese, The Kashmir or Tulsi for Indian, Oscar's for mad creative exotic food, the list is endless. You'll definitely not starve!

Contributer - Ciaran Irvine ex. resident of Galway
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