A brief visit to Galway this past week was a wonderful change of pace. The city felt like a warm and homey town with vibrant night life. The first evening we arrived, after a walk around the harbour, Joelle and I headed to Tig Coili, a pub on the main street that heaved with live music. It felt good to sit down and get out of the biting cold. The music was very jolly, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We were lucky to have such a sunny, crisp, and clear day to explore Connemara, a beautiful area not too far from the city of Galway. The mountains were spectacular, and we felt inclined to hike off in many directions…the landscape begs to be explored. We stopped at Ross Errilly Friary (founded in 1351), where we wound our way through the many rooms of the medieval monastery and enjoyed views of the green hills extending all around us.
In Cong, a nearby town, I loved the mink’s fishing house, which was set at such a peaceful spot in the river. It was easy to romanticize the idea of living near the river and spending each day fishing, though I imagine their lives were much more difficult than I picture them to have been.
The sheep! Oh, the sheep! They were everywhere, dotting the hills and looking like little pieces of fluff caught here and there.
From amongst the natural and rugged landscape rose Kylemore Abbey, a castle built by an Englishman from 1867 to 1871 after he and his wife spent their honeymoon in the region. In 1920 the castle and land were purchased by Benedictine nuns who turned the castle into a renowned boarding school, with the last student leaving a mere five years ago. It is an impressive and peaceful place, with a Victorian walled garden and beautiful mountain view.
We finished our day with more pints in another pub, The Crane Bar, where we relaxed to trad music and soaked in the boisterous and friendly atmosphere. The mood was very easygoing, and as the night progressed musicians slowly trickled in and joined the circle to add to the music. It was a good way to wind down our short visit to the West coast.
As for settling back in Dublin, everything is going quite well! I like my new place and flatmates, and I am thrilled to be working at a health food cafe. My neighbourhood (and the weather) is perfect for running, and Joelle and I have shared some great meals, including a hearty red wine veg stew. On Sunday I checked out Fusion at the Dublin Food Coop, and was treated to live music, delicious smells and nibbles, and an artsy, friendly, community of people.