Day 48 to 56
10.03.2013 - 19.03.2013 7 °C
After spending a week in Dublin we boarded a bus in freezing weather (about 0 degrees) to head west to the port town of Galway. After 2 ½ hours, we arrived. The bus terminal was conveniently located next to our accommodation. Our hostel in Galway (Snoozels) was the best hostel we’ve stayed in so far. We had our own room and bathroom, there was a clean kitchen with lots of facilities to cook our own food, and most importantly the people were lovely and more than willing to help with anything we needed.
Galway is a lovely town; lots of tourists both international and local. Most of the Irish travel to the west coast to holiday. We walked around a lot spending most of our time on Shop Street which as you may have guessed by the name held the shopping district.
After both being sick (we think it was food poisoning) in Dublin we were craving some home cooked food. To our surprise, a guy that regularly stays at the hostel for work cooked up a big Irish roast beef one night for anyone who wanted some. It was so good to have a great home cooked meal. We bought along a bottle of Australian wine (Wolf Blass) whilst another guy, from Spain, bought along a Spanish wine. We spent some time comparing the wines and the styles from Spain and Australia, making for a very enjoyable meal.
After our lovely roast beef dinner we headed out on the town (Galway isn’t very big so there are maybe 4 or 5 pubs open at night) with some of the people we had dinner with. We went to a pub called the King’s Head (there are lots of pubs called this all over the UK as well). We were in luck as on Wednesday nights they have traditional Irish music accompanied by traditional Irish dancing (think Riverdance). It was great sitting there having a drink and watching/listening to the entertainment.
Cliffs of Moher
Whilst in Galway, we took a day trip to see some of the sites on the west coast, in particular the Cliffs of Moher. They run 8 kilometers along the coast; their highest point is at 240 meters above sea level and their lowest at 210 meters. It was also amazing to see the sea birds landing on the small ledges on the side of the cliffs adding to the already impressive experience. As with many tourist attractions you get silly people who push the boundaries, literally. There were fences along the cliffs; however, people looking for a thrill (and there were quite a few) jumped these fences to try and get photos close to the edge. Henry in particular was not impressed at the stupid behavior.
After 4 days in Galway we were once again on a bus to the town of Cork, the rebel county in southern Ireland. Cork was a lot bigger than Galway; however, we were surprised by this as on the map they appear to be the same size.
Rein really wanted to check out some Gaelic sports whilst in Ireland and being the St Patrick’s Day weekend, Cork was hosting a double header. Cork v’s last season’s champions Donegal in the football followed by Cork v’s Munster provinces rivals Clare. An adult ticket to the game was only 13 euro! It was like going to a VFL game. The crowd that night was over 7,000 with the seats being full but plenty of standing room at either end. The little leagues played at half time whilst a local marching band entertained the crowd. There was no merchandise for sale, limited hot food and most surprisingly, no beer! The Guinness banner was around the ground but we saw not one pint! We were lucky enough to see Cork come from behind at half time and win the football game. Hurling is like no other sport you would have seen, dating back thousands of years the players have wooden sticks that they use to hit a baseball type ball around. It’s similar to LaCross; however, they are able to catch, pick up, carry, and throw the ball with their hands as well. They all wear helmets (which diehard fans and players dislike) due to the high danger of the sport. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be another Cork win as the Clare team was too good. After two games of sport sitting out in the elements at night, we were more than ready to head home to the warm as both of our legs were numb from the cold!
St Patrick’s Day
Whilst we were in Cork it was St Patrick’s Day. Three of the main streets in Cork were shut off in preparation for the parade. Lined along the main area for the parade were lots of food markets and stalls selling all kinds of Irish wares. After some great street food (gourmet burger and pulled pork roll) we found a position to watch the parade. Leah remarked that this was one of the times she didn’t mind being tall as there were many people on the parade fence. The parade went for an hour and involved all kinds of things. There was the military, fire brigade with their sirens, marching bands, school children dressed up as all kinds of characters, people dressed in traditional outfits representing the various cultures in Ireland, and much more. Once the parade had finished we bar hoped for the rest of the St Patrick’s Day afternoon, finishing at the Mutton Head, one of Cork’s oldest pubs which is alongside the old English Market.
All in all, we both really enjoyed Ireland, even though at times we did not feel the best. We are now on the ferry back to London and will then be spending 4 weeks in Frome, having a break from our constant traveling.