For race day fans and fashionistas, there’s only one city on the map next week: Galway. Galway’s iconic races run from Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July and the fashion highlight of the week – Ladies Day – falls on Thursday.
It’s an important day for local fashionistas and boutiques and the style available in Galway was showcased at a recent preview event at the Galmont Hotel in the heart of Galway city. It’s a dream base, especially for those who follow fashion, not fillies, next week.
We arrived on a buzzing Saturday evening in June and the high open reception made a great first impression. It is a stylish hotel and the bright entrance space leads to Marinas Restaurant and Coopers Bar & Lounge. The bar, in particular, was a sea of ladies that afternoon, from hen parties and baby showers to cocktails and afternoon tea. Clearly, this is a place already cemented as a favorite among women in Galway and beyond.
The double bedroom I shared with my mum was spacious and comfortable with stunning views of nearby Lough Atalia. Those same views can be experienced from the hotel’s outdoor hot tub that overlooks the body of water — it’s a must-do when staying at Le Galmont, rain or shine. It was one of many facilities offered when I visited Spirit One Spa for a full body massage that melted away the tension from my back and lulled me into a relaxed state.
A lap around the thermal suite is also required to enjoy its full range of cold, cool, warm and hot spa treatments, including heated loungers and stone saunas. Open the right door and you’ll even find yourself standing on a sandy beach inside the spa walls – a strange but pleasant feeling.
Race week guests will find a beautiful retreat inside the Galmont, whether it’s for a post-float drink or a relaxing spa treatment after a day in heels to cheer on your horse of choice. Galway Races is an important week in the city’s social calendar and The Galmont, although full for accommodation that week, is gearing up for a week of festivities, entertainment and events.
It hosts two major concerts: exclusive live performances by Aslan (Saturday July 30) as well as Block Rockin’ Beats with Dec Pierce (Thursday July 28), with tickets for both on sale now through Ticketmaster.
On the evening of our stay, we headed to the Burren Suite to enjoy a few hours of race week fashion inspiration with presenter Mandy Maher, who is head judge this Ladies Day, for the Fashion and Fizz at the hotel.
The pre-race fashion show featured spectacular looks from local boutiques Anthony Ryan’s, Les Jumelles, Fusion Fashion and Sheneil Shoes, as well as milliner Caithriona King. From the bubbles starting the evening as guests mingled in the glamor of the show, to Catwalk Model Agency’s talented modeling team, which included 2021’s Miss Ireland Pamela Uba, it was a feast for the eyes as models and attendees were putting their best foot forward in the name of Ladies Day.
Models making their way through the crowd wore looks ranging from ladies’ day glamor to more casual looks with more casual race days in mind: flats and wedge heels were frequently featured, an obvious win for days when racing fans are on their feet. For hours.
And it wasn’t just form-fitting gúnas and structured elegance for the outfits themselves – many models showed off one-of-a-kind jumpsuits, laid-back chino and blazer combos and flowing dresses, proof that every taste has its place during The Galway Races and comfort certainly don’t have to be sacrificed for style.
Of course, Ladies Day is the fashion pinnacle of the week, and it’s the day most women at the races will be vying to outdo each other when it comes to dress. Milliner Caithriona King, who is based in Galway and studied art in Waterford, was on hand during the event to offer her best advice to anyone hoping to wow the judges on Ladies’ Day, particularly putting the emphasis on the importance of standing out from the crowd. when wearing a striking helmet.
“I think you have to be inventive and always look for the next thing. Maybe something you’ve worn before, maybe you liked that style, but you’re always moving on. Try doing something a little different,” she advised. Ms King’s designs are award-winning – she won the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards’ Milliner of the Year and Most Established Milliner at the Hatwalk Awards – so she knows what she’s talking about.
Her appearance graced the crowns of Women’s Day winners across the country. She describes every helmet she makes as “a work of art” and she said most of the impact comes from the wearer’s confidence and that’s what will set a look apart from the crowd.
“It has to be different. I think the person wearing it has to be able to wear it – the room doesn’t wear it; they carry the piece,” she said.
Ms King said she regularly creates headwear for more traditional events like weddings, but she finds Galway races to be on another level for fashion and excitingly challenging it.
“I do traditional pieces for weddings, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, but I think there’s nothing like the Galway Races to get you out of your comfort zone. I like to design pieces that are different.
And eye-catching headwear was truly the talking point of the evening for guests as models once again took to the stage to showcase local boutique fashion against these statement pieces, giving each attendee plenty of inspiration. inspiration for her own look on race day as they enjoyed a sumptuous meal, with entrees including grilled rib eye and Velvet Cloud panna cotta as well as a selection of meats, fish and cheeses to start.
The hotel’s dining offering is sure to please and breakfast the next morning was another satisfying experience, with a buffet breakfast to be enjoyed in the marinas overlooking panoramic views of Galway Bay. The hotel is a perfect place for a ladies’ city break, either with your girlfriends or a mother-daughter for the night, which has been our experience. It is a stone’s throw from all the culture, shopping and nightlife that the city of the tribes has to offer.
If you missed a room in the Galmont for the Galway Races this year, be sure to book early for 2023 – it’s the perfect place to stay. The hotel has ample parking thanks to an underground car park and is an ideal location for all things Galway shopping and more, being just a few minutes walk from Ceannt station, Eyre Square and Galway’s iconic Latin Quarter.
- After the Galway Races, the Galmont is offering an attractive “Best Friends Getaway” package from €225 per room and per night. it includes two nights’ bed and breakfast for two adults, a three-course meal at Marinas restaurant one evening, two cocktails each at Coopers Bar & Lounge and free access to the leisure center with swimming pool, gym, sauna, jacuzzi and outdoor whirlpool.
- Reservation details: [email protected] or 091 538300. See thegalmont.com.