Galway Cathedral (November, 2015)
Ahhhh, yes. The Galway Cathedral, surrounded by a haze during my last full day in the city. Am I sad that this is my only picture of the city? Maybe. Unlike Lisbon, where I found myself nursing hangovers/exhaustion; I found myself caught in a situation where I was rushing out to the Cliffs of Moher one day, running through the city the next, and even taking a day for some much needed “me time”. Regardless of who you are, if you find yourself in Ireland, you should have Galway circled on your map. Here’s what I remember. Note, journal entries stopped during my time here. I am now regretting this.
Day 1 or “Never Drinking Again”:
Catherine has her own blog “A Wandering Wombat”, where she writes about everything from life in the countries she is living in (USA/Australia), to visiting places like Ireland, and even local events she attends. Check her site out 🙂
My first day in Galway had me a little nervous. I was intensely hung over after Halloween, when my “Euro Aunt”, Sharon, drank me to the floor. I’ll touch on that story later. To soon. To soon…
Tracy (another Euro Aunt) drew short straw, which meant she had to drive me to Galway. Truthfully, she only ever had good things to say about the city and I’m sure the drive was as much for her as it was for me. We wound our way down from Castlebar, and the picture above was pretty damn close to my first sights on foot once I entered Galway (it was sunny for me).
I followed Tracy up the Latin quarter as we found our way towards Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel, where I opted to book 4 nights. I clutched my giant backpack to my front, hoping it would help ease off thoughts of a potential gerf (or “puke” for you educated people). While there were more “modern” stores throughout the street, I found myself greeted with endless options for funky looking pubs. I started to feel like I was in a Simon Pegg film.
Noticing how shaky I was, Tracy suggested visiting a pub/bar that she used to work at “The Kings Head” (which I will include later in my favourite pubs post). Here, I finally gained the power to eat a full meal. Without thinking I ordered a beer, hoping the Budweiser would ease my sorrows (it didn’t). Instant ragrets. PS- When you have a pint 8 hours after “gerfing” it is no longer considered a rally beer. Stick to water (for future Colin). The Kings Head was the perfect introduction to Galway, no matter how hungover I was to start.
Checking into Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel went smoothly. I don’t remember the names of the staff that day, but they balanced each other out well. One, a local guy, was very friendly and helpful the entire time. The other balanced him out with her “enthusiasm and smiles”. Hint: sarcasm. I got into my 6 bed dorm and was quite happy. I had one mate from Australia, who was just stopping over for a few days. The other four room-mates had been there for a few weeks already, as each of them were looking for full-time work in Galway.
This seemed to be a common theme, especially at my hostel. Most Europeans I met came from either Spain or France, and they came to start a life in Galway. At the very least, they wanted to be there for a while. If they couldn’t find a job within the first few weeks they would eventually break down and become part of the hostel staff in order to have free accommodation. Thankfully, all 4 of my room-mates got jobs by the time I had left, but it was interesting to meet so many people willing to stretch their last dollar in a foreign country like that. That was the first indication I had that told me I was in a great place.
I loved being back in hostels. Its an amazing experience to walk into a room and immediately be accepted by a group, without question. 5 of us walked around the corner, back into the latin quarter where we listened to some traditional Irish music at Tig Cóilí. The night ended peacefully. I kept it real and only had a few pints.
After getting a stern talking to by every single one of my roomates, I walked back to the staff and booked my day tour for the Cliffs of Moher, which I would enjoy the next day.
Next: Cliffs of Moher and Everything In Between