Three Churches and a Museum

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.

This is a statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire, a poet of Galway from the early 20th century. It used to sit in Eyre Square, but it was subject to repeated vandalism, culminating in a decapitation, so it was moved to the museum.

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.

This was my favourite display. It was a bunch of Styrofoam heads and cups. The heads started at the size of the white one, then kids coloured them, and they were lowered into the sea, and compressed by the pressure of the depth. There was even a little video showing it happen.

After the museum, I walked along the river down to the Galway Cathedral.

The Galway Cathedral is actually The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, but that’s too long to say every time. I stuck my head inside, and it was absolutely gorgeous. But there were First Communion services going on, so I didn’t linger to take pictures. You can see some pictures of the interior here.

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.

Outside the door of St. Nicholas, there were a couple of ladies playing harp and fiddle. They were doing Si Bheag Si Mhor, and it was beautiful.
This is the inside of St. Nicholas. They’re setting up for the concert tonight. I had a nice chat with a fellow named Andrew, who I am pretty sure was the vicar, and a nice look around. I love those columns.
The stained glass window of St. Nicholas.
At the back of one of the church wings is this screen with icon-like paintings that I thought were very lovely.

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.

  1. That’s a sailing boat, FYI. []
  2. Which was the first I had heard of it! []

Lazy Galway Friday

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.

This is a view of the Galway Cathedral, down along the Corrib River. I thought we would be stopping there, and I could go see inside, but I was wrong. Have to walk down there tomorrow.
This is the Salthill Promenade, as featured in the ubiquitous Steve Earle song Galway Girl. It’s a nice, long walk along the shore of Galway Bay.

After the tour, I went walking along Shop Street to get a couple pictures that I hadn’t managed on my walking tour.

This is a cool example the kind of re-use and recycling of architecture. The owner of this building, when renovating the windows, damaged some of the plastered-over walls, and found some pieces of medieval architecture and decoration. It has a decidedly Spanish/Andalusian feel, as Galway did a lot of trade with Spain.
Okay. Remember, I said back here that I had a story about the weird little carving on Lynch’s Castle? Here’s a better picture of it. The story is that a previous house owned by the Lynch family caught fire, and a child was saved by a pet monkey, so they put this carving on the new house they built. One clever critic said the artist must have never seen a real monkey before. The local folk maintain that he must never have seen a child, either.

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.

  1. She’d been in London for her nephew’s wedding when I arrived, so I had only met her husband. []