A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Galway, Ireland

We took a bus to Galway on the west coast of Ireland. John had mentioned a boat race going on but I don’t think we knew what we were getting ourselves into. The race was the Volvo Ocean Race that was pushing off on the 7th leg that weekend so the entire city was packed. We got a late start to the day and so we arrived after 6pm and were lucky to find the last opening in any hostel at Barnacles on the main pub-lined street. But it was 70 euro a night (our entire daily budget) and then we made the unfortunate mistake to retire early for a good nights rest.

On Friday. At 10pm. Above 3 giant pubs. One with a live band. And hundreds of drunken Irishmen singing at the top of their lungs under our window until 4am. And just when you thought everyone had gone home to pass out, they start cleaning the streets! The garbage man comes at 5am. And the Guiness truck comes at 6am to pick up the millions of empty kegs that were sucked dry the night before. I had used a semi-successful but not completely muffling combination of earplugs and ipod and got a little sleep. Ron tossed and turned all night and was definitely a big grump for awhile. At least until we got our free (read crappy) Nescafe coffee and buttered white toast for breakfast.

We went out to see the race and festivities which really seemed like a lot of standing around and not being sure what we were looking at. Ron’s quote at one point was, “where are the *&#$% boats?” maybe still a little grumpy. And then it started to rain. Not a nice light sprinkle but a hard sharp cold Irish rain. It was coming eventually, all this sun was pretty atypical for these parts. It was sporadic so as soon as we would bundle in our raincoats with our pant legs soaked, a magical hand in the sky would turn off the faucet and we’d be dry again a few minutes later.

That night we decided two things: we want to be where its quiet, warm and relaxing so we are heading to the Mediterranean (hopefully) tomorrow. And two: we are going to join the party and go all out Irish, ie get stumbling drunk. First, we treated ourselves to a giant dinner at a pub: irish beef stew and chicken leek pie that came with free pints (from a coupon our hostel gave us) and watched a soccer match. Then we hit the pub directly across the street. The offending pub that had so many people pouring out the night before we didn’t get a wink. The place was huge. From the outside it looked small but it went back for miles, had two floors, 3 separate bars, and hundreds of galway guys and girls out cruising for the night. Exactly the type of place Ron and I steer clear of anymore.

We had some drinks and then headed to another pub with live music. Mostly covers but the best part was meeting up with a group of older British, Scottish, and Irish buddies out for a stag weekend. They were hilarious and fun, singing along to the songs and jumping around, I just had to join in (video below). We bounced around and drank some more, lamenting to a nice fellow named Paul that we were too broke to get drunk, he bought us a round of drinks. We must have talked to more locals then we had the entire trip. This is the secret of Ireland: drink and be merry.


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