Exploring Galway | My Second Week in Ireland

"Galway officially ranked top three on my favorite cities I've ever visited. I didn't really know what Galway was going to be like to be honest, but I definitely did not expect it to be what it was."

Hi friends! I just finished my second week here in Ireland, and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who read my last blog post. I got a lot of engagement on it, and I am so glad that you all enjoy reading what I write! If you missed last weeks post you can read it here. Last week I left off on Tuesday which was just a relaxing day following my exciting weekend in Doolin.

Due to the busy weekend in Doolin, Wednesday was reserved for the studio and the studio only. I ended up riding my bike over to the college around 11am and ended up staying till about 8pm. I will say though there is definitely something nostalgic about riding a bike through the Irish countryside. On the way home a farm dog even chased me a little ways demanding to be pet. Anyway, I got several transfers done that day and even experimented with some transfers on wood blocks! I have been hesitant to share exactly what I am working on until I completely finish my series, but I will share that through polaroid transfers I will be exploring the fragility & fluidity of memories. I promise I will share a much more detailed post about my work once my residency is over, but for now you can follow me on Instagram @selfdiagnosis if you want to see more of my work as I am creating it.

On Thursday morning we had a lecture with Dr. Eileen Hutton. She talked to us about her studies in art and ecology while introducing us to several new forms of scientific photography. Although I am no scientist I found her work to be very interesting, especially her work with soil during The Soil Project Residency 2021. After lunch we visited with Patrick McCormack, who is a local poet here in the Burren. He was kind enough to take us on a tour of his beautiful farm and talk to us about life in the Burren as a farmer, Irish history, and even some advice on life. Throughout the tour he stopped to recite several poems to us, mostly about the beauty of nature. He was an incredibly wise man, and I appreciated his opinions on conservation and the blessing behind existing within nature. Towards the end of his tour he showed us the barn and even sheered a sheep for us! That was a super interesting experience, and we learned that the price of wool has gone down exponentially to the point where it's not worth very much at all. Patrick also told us that once a sheep is newly sheered the rest of the pack will not recognize them and they will all try to fight it; I guess you learn something new everyday! At the end of the tour Patrick invited us into his home where his lovely wife has made all of us homemade scones and tea; which I might add were absolutely delicious!

Photos from Patrick McCormack's Farm

By the time we got home from the farm we were exhausted; I had the absolute worst headache. However, we all had to rally and pack for our weekend trip to Galway. We woke up early on Friday morning and were out of the house by 8:30am ready to walk a mile into town to catch the bus to the city. Galway is directly across the bay from us so it took about an hour to get there. The bus ride was fine and it went pretty fast, but there was this one part that was absolutely hilarious. I guess as we were going through the narrow winding roads the bus lost a mirror. And without announcing anything to the passengers our driver puts the bus in park in the middle of the road and starts running away. I had never been more confused, but now I have a silly image of an old Irish bus driver running down the road burned into my memory. The best part was he got back on the bus like nothing even happened!

We arrived in Galway around 10:30am and from there we were completely free to explore the city! Being back in a city felt as though we were re-entering civilization again. We hadn't seen this many people walking around since we were at the airport; not even Doolin had this many people or things! To understand our level excitement I can say that Gabby was simply excited to find a pharmacy so she could get a new contact case, because there are absolutely none in Ballyvaughan (we've looked!). After we separated from the group we went to our hostel to drop off our bags. The hostel we stayed at was the Kinlay Hostel, and it was just a typical hostel not bad but nothing special either.

But with that said we headed out to explore the city! We looked around the all of the shops. We went into a couple tourists shops and then explored some more of the artisan stores as well. We even checked out the local art store so I could get some supplies for my series. I went to a claddagh ring shop and bought my sister a new one since she recently lost hers! We also checked out the mall that was in the center of the city too! Around 11;30am we found a nice place to eat lunch called Finnegann's. The food there was pretty good; I got a chicken wrap and a pint of Orchard Thieves. After lunch I was on the hunt to find a wool blanket in one of the shops. I did find several, but I decided to wait to buy one until we go back to Galway at the end of our trip. Later we got some ice cream at Scrumdiddly's. I got one of their cookie ice cream cups and it was absolutely delicious! We ended up taking our ice cream to the Eyre Square and watched all of the people going by. We even saw this pastor skate boarding with some bright blue Doc Martens and a tour group who exclusively were wearing blue jeans; both of which made us laugh.

After our time in the park we made our way back over to hostel to check in and get ready for the night. Since we have been living in rural Ireland we have not gone out very often; so this was super exciting! We decided that we would go to several pubs and just have a good night! We started at the The Front Door and got a couple of ciders there and then after about an hour or so we set off to a new pub.

We wandered around for a while until we found The Kings Head. This is where we ended up staying most of the night, and I might add this place was huge! There was three separate bar areas and a whole restaurant attached as well. We drank some more ciders here and got some appetizers at the restaurant in the pub. Later in the night we made friends with a couple guys from a bachelor party or what they like to call a "Stag Party". It was definitely fun mingling with actual Irish people because we are a bit secluded just being at the college, but I will say they were a bit hard to understand sometimes with their accents! Overall we had a great time at The Kings Head and around 9:30pm we lefts our new friends Tom {Cruise}, Mark, and Danny to head to the next pub.

Next we went to Nova and had a cider here! We didn't stay too long here but the vibe was cool! Nova is one of Galway's most popular gay bars. There were not a lot of people here though, but I do believe there was a bachelorette party happening upstairs! The music was also super fun at Nova! They played a lot of Brittany Spears and I think at one point they even played some Hannah Montana. After getting a drink we decided to head back to the hostel for the night. However, on our way back we stumbled upon a pub called Seven. We saw that they had a live band through the window and stopped to dance for a couple songs! After Seven we finally made it back to the hostel for the night. We all had grand plans of playing pool, but the minute we got to our bunk beds it was over.

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hostel. From there we all split up for a little while. Mandy and I went to the farmers and craft market on the main street, and we both ended up getting new rings there. We also got a couple other souvenirs for other people too. We also took the time to take a some pictures of each other too. I think that is one thing that we tend to forget to do especially when we are traveling in a big group. While we were on our own we also grabbed a second breakfast because the food at the hostel was pretty bad, and we didn't eat a lot of it. Around 11:30am we met back up with everyone else to get some groceries since we only have small grocery store back in Ballyvaughan. Then we got on the 1pm bus back home. Once we arrived back we had to do the dreadful mile walk back with our groceries. Needless to say by the time we got back to the Bungalow we were beat.

Photos from both days Galway

However, that pretty much sums up my second week here in Ireland. Galway officially ranked top three on my favorite cities I've ever visited. I didn't really know what Galway was going to be like to be honest, but I definitely did not expect it to be what it was. It was a very charming city architecturally as well as socially. I found the pubs scene to be great, and I especially loved all of the shops & performers. This is definitely a city I hope to visit again in my future travels! I hope you all are enjoying hearing about my time here. Like always feel free to drop a comment if you want to know more about anything! Until next time!

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