Why this little shop in Costa Rica’s capital was named ‘Galway’

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Costa Rica might feel like a million miles away. With qucikly spoken Spanish, a tropical climate and an interesting cuisine, you’d be tempted to think that we have very little in common with our friends in Costa Rica.

You’d be wrong, however, as a little part of Ireland exists in the heart of Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. And that little part of Ireland is Galway.

A stone throw from a school of architecture in San Jose, there’s a business with a sign which includes a shamrock and a message.


For those who are Spanishless, helado means ice cream and licor is, obviously enough, liquor.

Galway provides an extensive menu of flavours, and its customers can choose ice cream with or without alcohol.

As it turns out, this gem of an idea has a real connection to Ireland and Galway, unlike the many ‘Irish’ themed pubs found across the US and Europe which seem to pluck a random Irish placename or surname from the air.

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Stefano Di Gioacchino, the owner, explained to Galway Daily how those behind Galway originally became interested in Ireland and Irish culture.

“We have been fascinated by Irish culture and Irish people for many years now, ignited by our friendship with a guy named Paul Stewart, an Irish immigrant from Derry to New York City, who we met in the past and who taught us how much fun and rich Ireland and Irish culture is just by being himself,” Stefano said.

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After travelling here, they decided to start their business after having an epiphany-like experience in Galway.

“After a few trips to this beautiful country,” Stefano explained, “it didn’t take much for us to decide that Galway is just a magical place and our favourite part of Ireland.

“It’s where we made the decision that we wanted to pursue this ice cream business, while having a cone and looking at the beautiful water in front of us with this awesome town right behind us.”

As the city has become known worldwide recently for being randomly chosen for a title of a song, it’s nice to know that on a street corner in Costa Rica’s capital, the city’s name was chosen for a special reason.

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