Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Oh Sheep! Driving on the Left and Other Adventures in Galway
An excerpt from "Galway Bay" composed by Frank A. Fahey
O ! grey and bleak, by shore and creek, the rugged rocks abound,
But sweet and green the grass between, as grows on Irish ground,
So friendship fond, all wealth beyond, and love that lives alway,
Bless each poor home beside your foam, my dear old Galway Bay.
A prouder man I'd walk the land in health and peace of mind,
If I might toil and strive and moil, nor cast one thought behind,
But what would be the world to me, its wealth and rich array,
If memory I lost of thee, my own dear Galway Bay.
Had I youth's blood and hopeful mood and heart of fire once more,
For all the gold the world might hold I'd never quit your shore,
I'd live content whate'er God sent with neighbours old and gray,
And lay my bones, 'neath churchyard stones, beside you, Galway Bay.
The blessing of a poor old man be with you night and day,
The blessing of a lonely man whose heart will soon be clay;
'Tis all the Heaven I'll ask of God upon my dying day,
My soul to soar for ever more above you, Galway Bay.
Richard & I spent the weekend in County Galway. And considering it has the highest rainfall in Ireland, we really lucked out. Not a drop of rain Saturday & Sunday, beautiful sunshine all weekend. We arrived at the Galway train station after a reasonable 2 and half hour journey. That night we headed out for some local nightlife. Galway City is about 25% students, so it has a great pub scene. And it's well known for it's live music. we headed out pretty late, but were still able to catch one act and check out a few pubs. At King's Head we watched a pretty decent cover band and found the locals sheer joy of "Sweet Home Alabama" a little incongruous. Afterward we got to enjoy a few Irish drinking songs sang by the locals to end the evening.
Well, the next morning we rose bright and early and headed to pick up our rental car. Richard was still too chicken to drive, so I did all the driving. We did get full insurance on the car though! Getting out of the city was a little hairy. I did bump the left mirror against another car, but no damage done to either. Whew! It took half the day, but I did get used to the driving. The scariest part: the skinny lanes and roads. I felt like I was going to hit oncoming traffic constantly. But we survived and made it to Kylemore Abbey for our first stop of the day.
It's a beautiful former home now used as an Abbey and boarding school. There's a stunning miniature Gothic chapel on the premises that the original owner had built for his wife when she died on a trip to Cairo. The interior has floor to ceiling columns made of marble from counties all over Ireland. We drove on to Clifden, Roundstone and back to Galway. It was a great day trip. For more photos, see the slideshow below.
My favorite part of the day was avoiding all the sheep in the road. It was picturesque Ireland all day with rolling, rocky hills, sheep and beautiful blue skies. Here's one of the sheep photos. So that was our adventure. We had great Galway Bay oysters, smoked salmon, mussels, and plenty of great scenery. I think it's safe to say we fell in love with Galway. We're already planning our next trip.
Sunday we met Crystal, cousin Maggie's friend, who owns a restaurant and cafe in Galway City. We had coffee and breakfast burritos at her cafe, Cafe Luna. And they were delicious. Crystal is from California and various other states and knows her breakfast burritos. It was a welcome meal for a couple of Texans who have been missing that Sunday morning tradition. Yum! And Crystal seriously makes the best coffee I've ever tasted. I can't wait to go back and try her restaurant, Blue Moon. They have jalapenos poppers on the menu. Thank you Crystal and we can't wait to see you again!
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.