I asked our companion if he was a teacher--he was holding a book and some notes, and the book was marked with bookmarks and post-it notes all through the pages. That said teacher or writer to me.
As it turned out, both guesses were correct. He was a retired teacher, and he is working on a book about his father's growing up years in Ireland about 100 years ago. A fascinating conversation ensued, including a tale of moonshining out in the Aran Islands that was absolutely hilarious. Since Mr. Hennigan is including that story in his book, I don't think I can tell it here, but I certainly look forward to being able to read and hopefully review his book here. So do be on the lookout for a book by Hal Hennigan in the future; it's sure to be a fascinating read.
Galway. What to say, where to start? I suppose at the beginning is best. Once again, we asked for directions to our hotel at the station. We were a little dismayed to find it was quite a ways out, and a cab would cost at least 12 euros. However, the bus stop was close by, and buses ran every 15 minutes during the day. We lugged our suitcases to the stop and marveled at this crowded, bustling city with so many buses and taxis it almost rivaled Dublin.
On the bus we were a little worried about getting off at the right stop. Not to worry, said a young male passenger. When I get off, your stop will be 3 stops after. He smiled and our fears disappeared. As he was getting off the bus, he spoke to the driver, telling him to be sure to tell us when it was our stop. How kind was that?
Irish weddings, we learned, go on for 3 days or more. This party was just beginning. We managed to find our room, our first with a disappointing view, but it was huge, with large beds and a wall of windows. We cleaned up and called a cab to take us back downtown. Our train companion had suggested a place called Tig Coili's for music so we began our stroll down the infamous Shop Street, place of street performers, much shopping, music and lots of people.
We did find dinner, but not at the place we were looking for. It was packed, and there was no music yet. A man on the street sent us to a different place which was much quieter. After dinner we took off for a stroll to see whatever we could of Galway since the next day we would be gone all day on a tour.
Lots to see! I learned about the Hen and Stag parties: apparently on weekends ladies and men about to be married dress up with their friends in outlandish costumes and descend on Shop Street. It seemed we were surrounded by young love in Galway.
|The Joke Shop sign read "perfect for your hen or stag party!"|
I even met Oscar Wilde on Shop Street. He seemed a little cold...and metallic...
We managed to wind our way through the crowds, however. It was an interesting walk!
Our walk took us to the banks of the river Corrib,
and then we saw the moon, and the bay.
From Arthur Colahan's song Galway Bay:And yes, we saw, and I understand.
We walked a good way along the shore. Theresa picked up a few more rocks to take home,
and we'd hoped to get to this lighthouse,
but it was too far for our tired legs, so we finally turning back and re-entering the craziness of Shop Street.
Seeking a restroom, we snuck into Tig Coili's Pub,
and darted downstairs. I don't usually take bathroom pictures, but check out this tile!
The bus took us back to the hotel before midnight and we were more than ready to settle in and get some sleep before our next adventure: The Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.