“Rise and shine” I mumbled to myself in my sleepy voice as I got up and awkwardly sort of fell climbing down the bunk ladder. Thanks to that I have matching bruises on both of my arms, one from slipping in the bath tub last week. As you may tell I’m the master of self-inflicted injuries. So after a royal breakfast (royal, because I’ve decided to pick beer over dinner that day ha ha, low budget trips, yo) I’ve decided that the second day of my adventure should be dedicated to exploring the city with geocaching! So that meant scouting for random locations in and out of the city centre and because looking weird is part of the geocaching I totally did that as well. I hate to brag, but I’m super good at being weird. I swear that sometimes I think that the whole geocaching thing is like Top 10 places to get tetanus and die. My hand has been in places where it shouldn’t have been. Ever. But it’s super fun! Checking every hole everywhere and hoping there’s no dead spiders (or alive for that matter!). But as I said it’s tons of fun and it often brings you to places you’d never find in a turist guide, let’s think of it as a map of gems, all Indiana Jones style. I spent my day looking for this little buggers all over the place.
When I saw Forthill graveyard on a map a scene from Lion King appeared in my mind – Elephant Graveyard and all that, but when I got there I was quite disappointed with the view as it was, khm, a garbage disposal yard and not a cool place with huge skeletons laying on the ground. Well, I did set my expectations too high with this one. 😉 So huge pile of garbage on one side and … on the other? A lovely path by the bay that led me to the main “chill area” or basically to the spot with colorful houses that you can see on all of the brochures. Excited about the nicest weather ever and lovely city and oh my, everything was so overwhelming.All the birds in Ireland always look and act as they don’t give a flying damn about anything. So I ended up at the Spanish Arch which evolved from an extension to the town walls built to protect the Medieval Docks. And now? Well it’s a meeting point for all the chillers around the area as there’s tons of places to lay or sit down and, well, chill. And for street artists to make some money.
Next stop was National Museum of Galway. It doesn’t take long and it never hurts to get to know the town you’re staying in a bit more. Also, it’s free. Like most of the museums and gallaries in Ireland (Woohoo!). So a quick lesson of the Galway history and I was back on the streets.
Just outside the Museum was this cute little restaurant/pub thing and the sign suggests that they serve “Lovely lovely lovely lunches”. Full of knowledge I strolled to Kirwan’s Lane. What’s so important about this lane you ask? Well, Galway is also known as the “City of Tribes” as there were 14 tribes, families who ruled the town and had different role in the history, so Kirwan tribe was just on of them – “Careful Kirwans”. It’s supposed to be one of the finest medieval laneways in Galway and contains many relics of 16th and 17th century architecture. Basically a really old street.
And now random fact of the day: I love books. Proper books. The ones I can hold and reread and leave traces and marks on them. So Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop was my next stop. From outside it looks like nothing special, but when you step through the door…Wow, just wow. A labyrinth with books from the floor to the ceiling. Books, books everywhere! What else was I supposed to do to than spend some quality time browsing through ALL the books with a big smile on my face. The prices are super awesome as well and you can get great deals on books starting from 1€. Unbelievable!
This is probably how heaven looks like.
After all the book euphoria that I’ve just been through I had to calm myself down with a cup of coffee (ha ha) and on the way saw Lynch’s Castle. You might have already guessed that Lynch was one of the Galway families as well and in that case I have to say that you’ve guessed right! Okay, legend time! So once upon a time there was this mayor of Galway called James Lynch FitzStephen who wanted to establish democracy and was trying to show people that he ruled with justice and all that jazz. So when his foolish son murdered a Spanish man what was he supposed to do? Sentence his own kin to die or let all his beliefs die while his son would live his happy long life? So death was inevitable – he hanged (or better say lynched as the practice became known after this event) his son from the window of his own home to show the people of Galway that he’s not messing around when it comes to justice. Today we can still see the window that commemorates this legend. Don’t be surprised when you realize that the Lynch’s Castle is asctually National bank of Ireland.
Okay, okay. Pop quiz time: Who knows who James Joyce was? A really nice talanted fellow, but maybe just a bit depressed is an okay answer. Well, he married a pretty lady called Nora Barnacle (there’s was much fuss about the whole thing and I have to be honest that I haven’t read the whole biography, oops) and I had a chance to see her house which was turned into a mini museum and has tours two times a day. I didn’t get inside and I’m usually not really excited about houses of famous people (Hello MTV, welcome to my crib!), but this still felt sort of nice. Especially because it was one of the quieter streets, without the big crowd and bunch of American girls saying “Oh. My. God!” every two minutes. Also James Joyce is much wow. 😀
Nora Barnacle’s house
Thing that you may want to see as well is Hall of the Red Earl, which is one of the earliest building, supposedly built in late 1200s or early 1300s. There’s also St. Nicholas Church, which is big and churchy. And there’s quite few random spots of interest. Just walk around, get lost and enjoy the city vibe.
What a cute adress does this make, guys? *awwww*
And if you follow your nose you’ll probably end up at one of many many many Galway festivals. I suggest beginning of April when there’s Food festival, mmmm.Well I followed my funny soul and ended up in the Smallest Comedy Club in Ireland – The Dew Drop. It was my first stand up comedy in Ireland and I loved it! Even though one of the comedians was picking on me throughout the whole show. But I didn’t mind as they were all hilarious and especially when they gave us free pizza, I took it as a kind apology. Great ending of a great day!
All in all it was grand!
Over & Out