The morning after our German Sparkle Party, Hayley and I planned to catch a train to Galway at 7 AM. And we succeeded. It was a miracle we made the train, we were definitely running across the platform. We watched the sunrise on the two and a half hour trip across Ireland, from west coast to east. Ireland’s countryside is gorgeous. Everything is incredibly green, even in January/February, and apparently, this is their dry season. I tried to take a few out-the-train-window pics when we had enough light, but there was an awful glare on the windows. Also, I highly regret that I wasn’t able to get any pictures of sheep. They were so cute, but the train was moving too fast.
We arrived in Galway just before 10:00.
The train was the nicest train I’d ever been on. I bought a sandwich from a snack cart, but we were both pretty hungry by the time we arrived. Hayley wanted fish n chips, so we walked around the city looking for a good place. Yet, for some strange reason, most places that were open were only serving breakfast at 10 in the morning. It gave us a good chance to get acquainted with the town and get oriented. Galway is a very small place, but very cute. It’s incredibly Irish. We were also lucky enough to have great weather. It was pretty cold outside, but the sun was shining all day.
We eventually decided to have a snack while waiting for a fish n chips place to open up. We settled in at a little cafe called Revive. Everything on the menu looked too good, and our little snack turned into a full blown meal. We sat upstairs at a window.
We decided that fish n chips could wait til lunch. We had very much wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher, some castles, and some prehistoric sites that were all in the area. We stopped in a few different tour bus companies and eventually the tourism office, only to find out that the last trip in all of Galway had departed at 10:30. This was pretty crushing. Since the cliffs were two hours away by car, there was really no other way for us to get there. All the castles were near the cliffs. I think the worst part about it was that we were in Galway at 10:30 and we could have made it on one of the tours, if only we’d known.
It definitely knocked the wind out of our sails. We walked down to the City Museum, but didn’t go in.
It was there that we saw a flyer for a play going on that night, which seemed like our first stroke of luck. The play was called Skull of Connemara, and written by the same man as the current blockbuster Seven Psychopaths. We headed to the theatre to buy tickets. This turned out to be pretty exciting, because we had to walk down the river. The river was the swiftest water I have ever seen. It was utterly terrifying. The waves enormous. The photos don’t do it justice. I did a little research later on, and found out that the River Corrib is one of the shortest in the world (about 6 km) and also one of the most powerful. I believe it! It also meant that the entire city of Galway had electricity even before London. At the height of water power, there were more than 20 water wheels in operation.
Se we’re walking along with the raging river to our left, and all of the sudden, there’s water to our right as well. The sidewalk sat between two very different bodies. On our right, the water was very calm and still, and slowly emptied into the larger river underneath the sidewalk (bridge?) we were walking on.
We found the theatre and purchased our tickets. Then, we decided it would be best to get some caffeine and put up our feet. We popped into a very cute place called Poppyseed Cafe.
The lattes here are served differently than the ones in the states, so I decided to try one out.
I also ate my Kinder egg, which has a prize inside. Mine was a wolf.
We did even more walking, all around Galway, killing time before the play that evening. We did eventually get those fish n chips, too, from McDonaugh’s. The place had been recommended to us earlier in the day.
It was very festively decorated, but my favorite part was a display of various knots.
and here is why:
We still had loooots more time to kill, so we continued to walk around. We stopped in a cafe with WiFi to double check the time tables for the train and order some dessert. We headed over to the theatre pretty early, and had a little time to hang around. The show was good, but we left early to make it to the train on time. The Irish lady who took the photo of me and Hayley yelled at me for thanking her too much. It was great.
We made it to the train station with plenty of time to spare, only to realize that the train we wanted didn’t actually exist. We found our way to a bus company, were able to work out a way to get home by morning, and had 3 hours to kill before it left. At this point, it was cold and we were tired of walking. Right across the street from the bus station was a hotel, and they mercifully allowed us to loiter in their swanky lobby til our bus arrived. They even brought us waters.
We were in Dublin by 4:30 the next morning, and back home by 5:00. It was nearly 24 hours since we’d left the day before.
The next day, we slept late. Packing was tricky because of my boot purchase. I wore 3 dresses and 5 pairs of underwear on the flight home, but everything made it back. My flight was in the evening, so we still had a few hours to walk around Dublin. We had been talking about potato soup for days, so when we passed a small bar that was serving it, we had to stop in.
The final hours in Dublin, we saw lots more shops. We saw The Spire, which the locals call “the pointless point.” It was built to commemorate the millennium, but wasn’t finished til 3 years after the fact. Most people regard it as a waste of money. We saw some sidewalk are, some Irish boys rapping, and a very odd replica of DaVinci’s The Last Supper.
We stopped by Hayley’s favorite coffee spot, Vice, for one last cappuccino.
And then stopped by a smaller art gallery. They had a very good exhibit of one artist, who’s name escapes me, but I had to take a picture of the very cheeky curator joke made about the Courbet:
We made it back to the bus stop without a hitch, my flight home was super fast, and the rest is history. I’ve spent my first full day back in Brighton recovering from my fabulous adventure, grocery shopping, and unpacking. I can’t wait to do it all again.