Ireland/Britain 1998 day 12: Galway


I slept in really late this morning, no big surprise due to all the door-slamming and copulating going on around me throughout the night (if only the Quay Street Hostel made their guests read this article). As a result I missed the morning ferry to the Aran Islands and was pretty much stuck in Galway for the day. With no major sightseeing destinations in Galway itself, 31 January 1998 became my first vacation from vacation day.

First up, getting my stank clothing cleaned at Pleasant Hill Laundry. Although the window sign said “self-service,” the kindly old woman who worked there insisted on doing all my laundry for me as I watched. I’m sure if it was my maleness or Americanness that made her think I could not launder my own clothing, or if self-service just means something different in Ireland. The best part of the laundry was The Extractor. Between the washer the dryer, she put my clothing in this cylinder-shaped device which forcibly squeezed out all the water.

Next, lunch at AbraKebabra, an Irish fast-food chain that serves disgustingly greasy – and thus delicious – food, with plenty of vegetarian options. Here I learn from the radio that the song I’ve heard repeatedly during my travels is “Dr. Jones” by Aqua and that Larry Gogan is a real person, not just the dog in Roddy Doyle novels. I worked off the fat with a long stroll to Salthill, a scenic seaside suburb of Galway.

Returning to Galway, I popped into Taafe’s pub for an afternoon session of Irish trad. While enjoying the music I chatted with a middle-aged Irish working man. Telling him that I worked in a history museum prompted him to share that he’d been misled by the history he learned in school that wasn’t true, such as that the Irish rebels of the Easter Rising actually won the battle.

Filled with spirits and seeking the Spirit, I attended a Vigil Mass at Galway Cathedral, a lovely structure that is kind of the Camden Yards of Cathedrals because it was built in the 196o’s but given a retro-look the Middle Ages. The Mass was beautiful although I was thrown when all the other congregants recited the Lord’s Prayer in Irish!

That evening, I made a supper of the delicious chips at McDonagh’s (I’m sure the fish is good too, if you like fish). Then I attend my second session of the day in the upper room of a wonderful pub called The Crane. I heard some of the best music yet in my travels, and talked with a nice young woman from Portlaois as well.

Not bad for a day when I didn’t do anything!

River Corrib

The swift flowing River Corrib in Galway.  The dome of Galway Cathedral is in the distance.

Kayak

Not everyday you see someone carrying a kayak through town.

Painting a Boat

Low tide is a good time to paint your boat.

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