A window display in Galway
Here in Galway we really have the nicest shops and you won’t beat it for atmosphere, especially at Christmas. Who wants to spend their money in bland, faceless shopping centers, that couldn’t care less about you or your euros when you have got Shop Street...

At the top end, literally and figuratively we have Brown Thomas, a luxury department store, its corner location a hub of stylish yet affordable shopping, and all very elegant in classic black & white with a service to match. They always have the most gorgeous shop windows packed full of highly desirable goodies, so if you hear of a smash and grab raid in Galway it could well be me!

Just opposite is another shop window, I have been known to lick, Hartmanns the jewelers, where you can lust after all kinds of lovely trinkets from Rolex's to Mont Blanc and even Fabergé. Or be-dazzled by the sparkliest diamonds in Lazlo's as you sidestep into Premoli’s gorgeous shoes & boots shop.

The wedgewood blue and white front of the Treasure Chest hints at what’s inside, a timeless emporium of traditional Irish gifts. Further along on the right is McCambridges, a purveyor of fine foods since, well forever and a foodie haunt long before the term came into being.

Down a bit further is Easons, the last of our Irish bookstores, online is taking over but people still like to feel books or pick up an international newspaper or magazine. Then there's Anthony Ryans, a family drapers that’s catered for generations of Galwegians, from first Holy Communions to Weddings and everything else in between....

And from the traditional to the ultra modern, the award winning Born Centre on Galway's inland waterway system. I have a real soft spot for this place, stunning architecture, there is a glass panel in the floor where you can watch the might Corrib river rushing through underneath, and knitted tea cosies on the teapots in the cafe, which also serve smashing scones! a great place to escape the Christmas madness and relax....

For more information on Galway click here or download the free iPhone app.

By Susan Byron author of www.irelands-hidden-gems.com

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