High Street in Galway's Latin Quarter is like the better behaved, older sister of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Every weekend, it's packed with a high-energy mix of college students, tourists and locals. We just so happened to visit during the Galway Oyster Festival, so the entire scene was in overdrive - not quite Mardi Gras-style (thankfully).
A friend who lived in Galway recommended checking out The Kings Head Pub, located centrally on High Street. They are famous for their live music, offered seven nights a week. We learned from other pub owners that this was a rarity, since most places can't afford to offer live music more than once a week. We watched the Irish band Tucan perform a fantastic live set to an enthusiastic crowd. After downing multiple whiskeys, we joined the crowd in a dance-your-face-off session.
Two upper levels allowed us to get away from the noise a bit and have a conversation with our new Irish friends, who were very amused by our upper-Midwest accents. The challenge was formidable, but well-worth the effort.
If live music isn't your thing, come during the day to check out 800 years of sordid and well-documented history. The building dates back to the 13th century and several details from the original structure are readily available for you to touch. The Irish live their history, rather than rope it off.