Most of you have probably already seen the pics I uploaded to flickr and read the captions, so you should have an idea of what I’ve been up to, but here’s the longer version. On Saturday I arrived in Galway around noon, my host, Brian, was so good to pick me up from the train station in his shiny black Opel Vectra. Since Galway is a f*cking busy one-way pain we drove around for a bit (Brian thought he knew a shortcut, but it turned out he didn’t quite), until we found a parking spot near the cathedral. As it was definitely lunchtime (although I had some rhubarb crumble on the train :P) we went to the city centre to get some food at one of his favourite places, Java. It’s quite a relaxed place, some of the other costumers started playing the piano, I had a fabulous sandwich with goat’s cheese and it was good to catch up with Brian. After strolling around Galway for a while and drinking tea we headed to his house to relax for a little bit and freshen up as we intended to go out in the evening: we watched some excellent YouTube videos :). When it was already getting dark we headed out to the city centre again for some food (pizza at Fat Freddie’s) and then a couple of pubs. The pubs were really excellent but I was just too tired to really enjoy it. Actually one lady said “God you look really pissed” even though I only had a little bit of wine. Fortunately Brian was pretty tired too so he didn’t mind going home and thus I spent my first night on a sofa in Galway, and it was the best night in two weeks as there wasn’t a train at 7, or snoring roommates, in fact, I even got to sleep in until about 11. I then read a little and checked my email, as one should on a lazy Sunday morning (shame I didn’t have a newspaper). Early in the afternoon we went back into town for some more sightseeing, this time via the harbour filled with swans of the bay and salthill (the fancy boulevard bit of Galway). It was a bit windy and some rain drops at time but it was good to see and smell the sea again.
In the evening I was introduced to cooked corn with butter and after I’d wiped the butter of my chin and picked the corn scales from between my teeth (there’s just no decent way of eating these things) we were off again to the city centre, this time to a pub called the Roisin Dubh, a music pub. The taxi dropped us off right in front of the entrance which was quite cool we thought, and we first had a couple of drinks upstairs. There we met some friends of Brian’s whom he hadn’t seen for quite a while and which were pretty cool. After some time we went downstairs to dance to some pretty cool Indie Rock/Oldies mix, but fatigue kicked in pretty quickly. Luckily pubs close relatively early in Galway :).
Brian had to work on Monday so I had to keep myself busy, from one of Brian’s housemates I had found out that the Cliffs of Moher were definitely worth a visit. She told me there were a couple of tourist tour buses going there, but that would basically mean that you’d spend most of your day on the bus, only to be let out of it for an hour or so at a tourist attraction so I decided to take a regular bus. I’m happy I did. The journey to and from the cliffs was a trip in itself which took me via the coast road along Galway bay (quite narrow at some points) and up hills providing spectacular views.Â Then the cliffs itself. Long before reaching them the road got quite busy and when we were nearly there I spotted a big car park and crowds of people, which was a bit of a shame, but then again, I was a tourist too there…I didn’t care much for the visitor’s centre (although it’s a nice, not so obtrusive building, and the bathrooms and cafeteria were quite convenient), the worst bit about it being the shops. They have really taken tourist crap to a new level even selling bits of rock and a whole array of goodies not in any way related to the location, but as long as people buy it they’ll keep offering it I guess. The cliffs were in one word magnificent. I took many pictures but naturally not one can convey the impressiveness of those rocks rising out of the sea. I quickly avoided most of the tourists by getting onto a trail that was more or less closed off (it involved climbing over a barbed fence) but a lot of people did it. Now, I’m not easily scared, but looking down 200 metres or so onto the sea, a descent which began only a metre or so from my feet at some points did not make me feelÂ comfortable at all. After a while I decided to put on my sandals instead of my trainers (in the process of which my bag nearly got blown off the cliff) which made me feel a bit more confident. I walked a little bit further until I came to a slightly lower spot where the grass provided me with a comfortable place to sit. This is where I spent most of my afternoon, in the sun, having lunch, reading my book, just gazing at the cliffs and the sea…An afternoon well spent 😀
Around six I took a bus back to Galway, not via the coast this time but via Ennis which took me via a completely different route but equally beautiful. At Gor, Virginia, one of Brian’s friends I’d met the evening before got on the bus so I didn’t travel the last bit alone.
On Tuesday I had to get up early to catch my train to Dublin. Brian didn’t want me to walk to the train station with all my stuff so he drove me there and after coffee we said goodbye, after a way too short stay on the one hand, but on the other hand I was happy to go home again as I was quite exhausted after two weeks of ESSLLI and all the trains and buses the days after that. The train journey started smoothly but at some point we stayed at a train station for quite a while. Turns out we had to wait for the train coming from Dublin to pass, which can only happen at train stations because the rest of the train track is all single track. Travelling in Ireland is quite an experience! Anyway, I made it in time to Dublin to catch a bus to the airport and fly back to Eindhoven.
Around 19:30 I arrived at my parents’ doorstep, tired, but happy. Happy about being home again, but also about having had such a great time both in Dublin and Galway, happy about having met some great people along the way and finally, happy about putting some old memories to rest.