Exploring Ireland as a Galway Girl

IMG_2954We didn’t keep a strict schedule once we entered the Burren. Instead, we watched the weather and tried to plan our day trips accordingly.

Our first day we had awesome weather so we spent the day exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrone, Doolin and other highlights of Co. Clare.

Our second day was cloudy with some spots of rain, but we still enjoyed exploring Kinvara and Galway.

I had been to many of these spots before, but it was my first time on my own schedule/in my own vehicle and it was Brian’s first time entirely. It was a nice leisurely day.

Kinvara was still asleep when we arrived. We parked along the water and walked around downtown, popping in a few shops that had just opened.

I loved the beautiful colors of the storefronts and pubs that really lit up when the sun hit them just right. We walked toward Dunguaire Castle and discovered an awesome VW bus along the way.

I nearly died reading the stickers on the back window– you can rent them and use them to tour Ireland!! If I had only known!!

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The sun had a few breakthrough moments as we walked the castle grounds, admiring the vegetation and wildlife. There were several swans and geese feeding along the banks and they didn’t seem to mind our noise or the other people walking around.

From Kinvara we drove north along Galway Bay to Galway. We found a parking garage right downtown so we were on the main streets in no time. There were tons of people shopping and grabbing lunch.

We walked through Eyre Square, visited St. Nicholas Church,  and walked down to the Spanish Arch, which was under construction. We ducked in a little restaurant to get out of the rain and enjoy some lunch, and we also popped in the famous Tig Coili.

We were the only tourists and therefore the only people who didn’t know everyone else inside so we grabbed seats along the back wall and watched the afternoon unfold. A group of older men had a large table in front of the window and individuals would pop in off the street every once in a while just to see what was going on and who was inside. One woman came in with her dog for a while–everyone was just enjoying the craic!

We also headed along the water to the Galway Cathedral and ran inside just as the rain started up again. Although it’s a newer structure, built in the 1950s, it’s enormous and very impressive. I was captivated by the organ and we were lucky enough to be there during a rehearsal.

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One area I hadn’t explored before was the Claddagh district so we walked down to Galway Bay to take a look around.

I looked at Claddagh rings a couple of places– I bought a silver one 10 years ago in Ireland that’s been repaired multiple times and has seen better days.

I thought I might invest in a new one from the area where the ring originated, but everything was silver here as well and not quite was I was looking for so we didn’t make the purchase.

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The wind and rain were picking up so we decided to head back toward our car.

At the entryway to the nearby street was a marker showing Galway’s sister city on a large stone with several plaques.

Imagine our surprise to discover the sister city is Seattle!

The partnership was formalized in 1986 and apparently there is a similar marker in Seattle. We will have to find it!

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It was a pretty laid back day and the weather didn’t fully cooperate so we decided to head back to our great house early. We had booked dinner at our house so it made sense to head back and get ready to join the other house guests for a cozy night in.

As we were leaving we saw one of my favorite gents on the street corner. He was making music, his leprechauns were dancing, and every once in a while he would launch into peals of laughter.

Quite the way to end our day!

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