Not much to report today. Got up, packed, cleaned up the flat, dropped the keys off, and schlepped my backpack down to the train station. The train from Galway to Dublin was very full, and many of the passengers showed evidence of having had a rather festive Saturday night before getting on the train and heading home.
I killed a little time at Heuston Station in Dublin, because it was raining and I was about an hour and a half too early to go meet my AirBnB host. I took a cab down to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and found my way the block or so to the flat, and got the keys, and settled in.
I’ve been pretty lucky with both my AirBnB stays on this trip. This place even has a washing machine, and one of the first things I did when I arrived was put a load of clothes on.
I also walked down to a grocery store and stocked up on some drinks and some food for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.
Tomorrow is pretty much a free day, and I’m probably going to spend most of the day wandering the neighbourhood. I’ve spent more time in Dublin than any other place in Ireland, and I want to try and get my familiarity back. Tomorrow evening, I go to the Irish House Party, which should be fun. I just hope the weather gets back to the glorious sunshine I’ve been getting most of the time on this trip.
This was my last day in Galway. Tomorrow, I’m off to Dublin for my final week of vacation. So, today I wanted to get to the last few places I’d been putting off.
My first stop was across the street at the Galway City Museum. It being a Saturday morning, it was pretty crowded, and I only managed a couple of pictures that actually turned out.
There were a number of the early sketches for the statue on display, and they looked nothing like the finished statue. Pádraic was on a pedestal, in an impressively serious pose, but apparently they finally settled on something that depicted more of what people remembered of him around Galway – sitting awkwardly on a stone wall, his bow tie very loosely knotted, his hat on back to front, looking adorably goofy.
I love this statue, and I love the evolution that brought it to the final result. I don’t know what was up with the vandalism and decapitation, though.
There was a replica of a Galway Hooker1 that had been built for the museum, and hung from the ceiling fully rigged. There was a lot of stuff about the early days of Galway, and about the 1916 Uprising, and the War for Independence. There was also a fair bit of science stuff about the sea.
After the museum, I walked along the river down to the Galway Cathedral.
I walked back to St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, at that point. St. Nicholas is the oldest still-standing building in Galway. I didn’t get a picture of the outside, because it was surrounded by the street market that was going on with the Galway Early Music Festival2.
So, looking around the street market, I found out that there was a concert this afternoon at the Chapel of the Poor Clares – one of the Early Music Festival’s presentations of medieval ballads and madrigals. I made my way down to Nun’s Island, where the Poor Clares have their abbey, and managed to get a ticket, though it was pretty packed. A wonderful concert, by Simone Sorini Syrenarum.
Now, I’m back at the flat, finishing up this post and getting ready to leave tomorrow morning. I’m glad I took the time here in Galway to relax, and I think I’m going to miss the city. But I’m really looking forward to Dublin, too.
Not much to report today. After being on the move for tours the past three days, I was somewhat lazy today. I didn’t leave the flat until almost noon, walked down to Eyre Square to catch the sightseeing bus, and took the hour-long ride around the city.
After the tour, I went walking along Shop Street to get a couple pictures that I hadn’t managed on my walking tour.
What else did I do today? I found that, one block over from me, there’s a movie theatre, and I went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story. I got to meet my AirBnB landlady1 and found her to be a very charming lady. I got to dodge a number of folks campaigning for either side of the referendum happening today. And I got reminded that this is a university town, so if I want to get into a popular pub on a Friday night to have dinner and listen to music, I better get there early.
Tomorrow is my last day in Galway. I’ve got to get to the cathedral, to St. Nicholas’s church, and the museum. I can try again tomorrow for a seat at a good music pub.
She’d been in London for her nephew’s wedding when I arrived, so I had only met her husband. [↩]
Today was the last of my bus tours out of Galway, down to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. It was another really nice day, weather-wise, though there was a little bit of rain at our last photo stop. I’d been to the Cliffs before, and to the Burren, but the weather was much better this time.
The last tour I’d been on was from a different company1, so the stops were a little different. I was a little said that we didn’t get to the Poulnabrone Dolmen, this time, but instead we did get to see the Aillwee Cave.
After Aillwee Cave, we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which was the main stop of the day.
I also completed one of my vacation objectives here: I found a nice ring at a little jewellery shop dug into the side of the hills.
Lunch was in Doolin, and it was nice to go back there, where I had had such a good stay last time. We came in from an unfamiliar direction, so it took me a little thinking to orient myself, but it was cool to realize I recognized where I was, and where McGann’s was from there.
We stopped along the coast road on the way back to Galway at the Blackhead Lighthouse, which was right in the midst of a lot of the interesting rock formations of the Burren.
Last photo stop was at Dunguaire Castle. Apparently, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong since I read about it. I was calling it “Dun-gwayr,” but apparently it’s “Doon-gory.”
And then it was back to Galway.
Tomorrow, I’ve got a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city of Galway. That’ll make it easy to get around to places like the cathedral. Depending on how things go, I also want to get some more pictures of Shop Street, the main street through the medieval section of the city, and get to the museum across the street.
Today was my trip out to Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands. The tour involved an hour-long bus ride to the ferry, and a 45-minute ferry ride out to the island.
On the ferry ride, I sat beside a 10-year-old boy named Andrew, and we had a nice conversation about colonialism in Africa, the roots of the first World War, the failures of the League of Nations, whether Stalin counts as a war criminal or just a genocidal mad man, and LEGO1. He was a really bright, entertaining kid.
At the island, I got into a tour bus to see the island2. The main thing I wanted to see here was Dun Aengus, a bronze age hill fort. And that was our first stop.
Hiking up, taking the pictures, and hiking down took about 90 minutes, because I am old and arthritic. It was a tough round trip, but I’m glad I did it. I’m even more glad that I don’t have to do it again.
After Dun Aengus and a bite of lunch, we headed off to the Seven Churches.
Our guide also took us to his goat farm, where he raises goats3 and makes goat cheese. Besides meeting the goats4, I got to take a peek at his cheesemaking setup, and now I want to start another batch of cheese when I get home.
Then it was back to Kilronan, the main village on the island, to wait for the ferry.
And then it was back on the ferry, and back on the bus, and back to Galway.
As I sit here writing this blog post, I have come to realize that I might have got a bit too much sun today. Because of course I forgot sunscreen this morning.
Tomorrow, it’s off into the Burren and to the Cliffs of Moher. That should be fun.
He also told me that I seemed nice, and I told him that I appreciate that, because I work hard to seem nice. [↩]
Actually, I got into the first bus, then the driver asked me to move to the second bus because he had four people that wanted to go together. I felt so used. [↩]
Because that couldn’t be inferred from the phrase “goat farm.” [↩]
And I have never met calmer, friendlier goats in my life. [↩]
Today was my bus tour up into Connemara. I took a similar tour1 seven years ago, and that tour was on a cold, misty day, with some rain, at the beginning of October. A spring tour, on a bright sunny day2, was a bit different.
So, that was my return to Connemara. Tomorrow, I go to Inismor, and have to get up early for that. And that means I’m going to bed, now.
Actually, I didn’t. But I was walking around Galway, and I heard Galway Girlcoming 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:
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.
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.
I left Larkinley Lodge this morning, and it was a little bit hard. Toni and Danny have treated me so well both times I’ve stayed there, that I kind of hated to leave. I mean, they even gave me an extra piece of bacon at breakfast this morning1!
Seriously, folks, if you go to Killarney, stay at Larkinley Lodge. Tell them I sent you. You will not regret it.
Anyway, I walked down to the train station, several hours before the train left. There was no one at the ticket counter, yet, but I found someone there who let me check my backpack, then I went wandering around town.
That’s the only picture I took today. The rest of the day, I was on the trains. It was a bit of a challenge to get on the train – the ticket office didn’t open until half an hour before the train left, and I was getting a little panicked, because the automatic ticket machine didn’t have an option for Killarney to Galway, and the option for Portarlington2 was about 30% more than the online price for the whole trip.
But, as I said, a ticket agent showed up, I got the ticket3. The first leg of the trip was the train to Heuston Station in Dublin, and so it was really crowded, and it took some doing to find someplace to sit.
And then a hen party got on the train about half an hour into the trip. And they were already pretty drunk4, and very loud. It made the majority of the trip less than restful.
I managed to change trains successfully at Portarlington, and this leg of the journey was much less crowded. And, of course, it was raining when I got to Galway. I found my way to the AirBnB place I’d booked, and met the owner, and got settled, then went out in the rain to get some groceries. Not entirely successful, as it’s a rainy Sunday evening. But I managed to get a sandwich for dinner, and I can do some proper shopping tomorrow.
Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be rainy again, but then it’s supposed to clear up for a few days. So, guess what day I have the walking tour booked.
Today was a travel day. I was up early to catch the bus to Galway, and then the train to Dublin, another train to Mallow, a third train to Killarney, then a cab to Larkinley Lodge. Now, I found out that Larkinley Lodge was within easy walking distance, but my iPhone had drained its battery while I was reading on the bus and trains, and couldn’t use the GPS to find the place. Now I know how to walk from the Lodge to the station, so that’s fine.
But really what that means is that I don’t have a lot of pictures today. Here are a few little things.
I went for a nice walk around Killarney, found the pub – The Laurels – that they recommended at the B&B, and also found the place to meet for my tour tomorrow.
Short post tonight. Need to get some sleep before tomorrow. Also, nothing much new to report. I’ve spent the day traveling on the buses to get from Belfast down to Doolin. I checked out of the Old Rectory around 9:00 this morning, and got to Doolin around 8:00 this evening. So, not much to show you from the trip – pictures of bus stations aren’t all that interesting. I did manage a few pictures, though:
All the above pictures were taken with my iPad, because I was too tired to dig my real camera out of my bag at the various times. Tomorrow, when I1 take the ferry out to Inisheer, I’ll have my camera with me, and I’ll bring it into the pub for better pictures.
Bedtime, now. It’s about a two-mile walk to the ferries tomorrow, so I need to get started early.