I Took a Stroll on the Old Long Walk…

Actually, I didn’t. But I was walking around Galway, and I heard Galway Girl coming out of one of the pubs, and the tune got stuck in my head.

Before I get to talking about Galway, though, I found a picture I forgot about from Killarney that I wanted to share:

This is a view across Lough Leane from the shore near Ross Castle. It was a really nice day.

Anyway, I got up this morning, and it was raining. I had planned to take the walking tour, and I waffled back and forth on it, but finally decided to give it a go, because sitting in the apartment looking at the rain would just be kind of pathetic.

So, I got all kitted up in my rain gear, and went to find the tourist office where the tour starts. By the time I made it down there, I was pretty sure that I should have brought my gloves, and was rethinking the whole tour. Still, I was there, so no point in wimping out at that point.

About five minutes late, the guide showed up in a mad dash on his bicycle. He popped his head into the tourist office, said, “Walking tour?” and about a dozen of us nodded. “Jaysus,” he said, “Give us a moment.” He ducked back outside to lock his bike up.

Apparently, he was having a bad morning. The chain had fallen off his bike on the ride over in the rain, so he was running late. And, as the rain intensified on the tour, he pulled out an umbrella which turned out to not open.

But he was a great guide, with lots of knowledge of the history of the city, and insight into the economics and art scene of Galway. The tour was supposed to run about 90 minutes, but it lasted about two and a half hours.

Because it was raining, I didn’t take any pictures. After the tour, which ended literally right across the street from where I’m staying, I grabbed some lunch to eat at the apartment. It had stopped raining by the time I was done, so I grabbed the camera and went out to get some pictures.

This is Wooden Heart, a toy store run by a German family, named after the Elvis Presley Song. It’s interesting because it’s essentially a 1580 building that was rebuilt in 1980. See, after Oliver Cromwell’s visit to the city, the place basically became a post-apocalyptic wasteland. So much of the city was rebuilt from scavenged ruins right up until the 1970s.
This bank is one of the few buildings surviving intact from pre-Cromwell. They call it Lynch Castle, even though it wasn’t a castle, per se. More of a town house. See that weird little carving below the coat of arms by the flag? I have a story to tell about it when I manage to get a better picture of it.
Down a little alley there’s an archaeological dig called the Red Earl’s Hall. It’s a 13th-century ruin that was discovered in 1997 when they were digging a new foundation for the custom house. That cross-shaped thing in the floor is the seat for an anvil that was added in the 16th century.
This is one of the central columns of the Red Earl’s Hall.
The buttresses along the wall.
Okay. So, the Red Earl’s Hall was a used by the de Burgo family to control the shipping in Galway as it was coming into it’s strength as a post-Viking trade port. It was a combination of feast hall and administration centre. It had a bunch (hundreds, according to the guide) potsherds. This thing on the wall is a giant replica of a piece of a wine bottle.

There are still some spots that I need to get pictures of: St. Nicholas church, for example, and the museum that is literally right across the street from where I’m staying1. I’m on bus tours for the next few days, but I’ve got a couple of free days at the end of the week to catch up on this stuff.

I will say that this AirBnB thing is working nicely. It’s pretty relaxing to have the place all to myself, not have to get up at a specific time for breakfast, not worry about coming back during the day for a rest, stuff like that. I took some time to pick up some groceries this afternoon, too, and it’s nice to have some non-restaurant food, including fresh fruit, ready and available while traveling.

  1. I chose well for this location. []

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