1. Galway (Gaillimh): A Holiday in Ireland

    jake on 2007.10.07
    at 04:06 pm

    A scene in Cong, Co Mayo Getting across Ireland wasn’t as simple as we had hoped. The traffic getting out of Dublin and then also into Galway was pretty brutal. Normally this would simply be a little frustrating. But we actually had a show booked for the evening and didn’t have a clear direction of where we were going. Luckily they allowed us to reschedule for the following night so we just had to deal with the little issue of our bed and breakfast not actually booking us.

    Our evening meal in Spiddal (An Spidéal) was highlighted by the abundance of patrons speaking the native language.

    Cong (Conga)

    The following morning we headed west along R336. Straight through Maam Cross (An Teach Dóite) until we found R345 heading toward Cong. This trip was highlighted by signage entirely in Irish.

    Part of Cong Abbey Cong and the surrounding area was primarily where they filmed the movie The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. We took a tour which brought us to a handful of these locations.

    Language Barriers

    Continuing in the same direction we looped around and headed back into Galway for the evening. After a bit we located a parking garage very close to Shop Street, the main thoroughfare. This is where I went on a quest to locate some books in Irish.

    I decided before embarking to Ireland that I might find some great supplemental material to all the CD’s and general language books you find on the Internet. Works printed in the language and general schoolbooks that the local children would learn from.

    The first stop was Eason’s. After being directed to and selecting a few items in the novels section I tried upstairs where the school books were located. Here I met my first obstacle, teenage girls. They belittled my need for low level school books and with a sly smile made comments such as, “Yeah I’d try there, we’re way too advanced for you.” Eason’s only had higher level books.

    The “there” they were referring to was ABC Books. Within walking distance this bookstore specializes in school material for all ages. The young lady here was much more helpful and not only crisscrossed the store with me but explained her reasoning for every book she suggested. She actually targeted books involving grammar and the building blocks as opposed to the little kids books filled with games (though I’d probably have fun with the games).

    Finally she also pointed me to a third store named Dubray Books where a nice older woman found me some actual children’s stories. Nice and simple, like Dr Seuss or Richard Scarry. Who knows, maybe someday I can read them to my kids.

    Dinner And A Show

    Music At The Crossroads While looking for a place to buy dinner we entered a bar with a live band playing. This was where my grandmother had her first Guinness. And while I was in the restroom my mother was hit on. That was about all that happened there since the kitchen wasn’t open. After locating dinner and being waited on by a random, female Texan we made our way to Music At The Crossroads.

    The show consists of seven musicians and two dancers. Between the seven musicians they play twenty-plus instruments and occasionally trade with each other. Plus the majority of the performers are all, roughly university age. The exception being Michael the fiddle (among other instruments) player who seems to be the ring leader and is closer to my age.

    The whole Galway region was exciting and I would definitely visit the city, and surrounding countryside, again. Maybe next time I’ll even be able to converse in another language with the locals.

    Posted in: Holiday · Travel


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