Ireland… What have you done to me? And, why did you call me back so soon?
My first trip to Ireland was in February. I spent 12 days in Dublin, and 2 in Galway… It was not enough. I was officially addicted, and wanted more.
Accepting my new addiction, I decided to skip summer in Santa Barbara, California and head to Ireland. I felt pretty good about my decision! All addictions aren’t bad are they? I thought of it kind of like really good chocolate, or a fine wine. I’m quite ok with both of those, so what’s one more?
After landing in Dublin, I jumped on a bus to Galway for my first few days. I felt like I hadn’t spent enough time there on the first trip, plus I also wanted to explore other areas of Ireland. Dublin would have to wait for later in the trip.
So off I went to explore Ireland…
I was in Galway for the International Arts Festival, Galway Fringe, & Race Week.
I went in search of Fungi the Dolphin in Dingle.
I toured the Wicklow Mountains and visited an Medieval monastic settlement in Glendalough.
I had some of the best Irish Stew in Kilkenny.
I took a black taxi tour in Belfast and signed the peace wall.
I walked across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Ballintoy, County Antrim , Northern Ireland.
I saw an improptu Irish Broom Dance at a very traditional pub in Ennistymon.
I hiked and soaked in the pure beauty of the Cliffs of Moher.
I partied like a rock star in Lahinch.
I traveled the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Dingle.
I learned how to pour a perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse.
I achieved the status of Irish Whiskey Taster at the Jameson Distillery.
I traveled through 12 counties in Ireland, including: Dublin, Kildare, Westmeath, Roscommon, Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, and Kerry.
It was quite the adventure. I had seen a lot of Ireland, and wanted to continue to the south. None of my airbnb accommodations. however, were working out. The south would have to wait for another trip. Ahhh… A reason to come back! Did I really need one?
As I tried to figure out where to go next, one place kept tugging at me to come back. It was Galway.
It had quickly become my favorite. I had to ask myself… Why Galway?
Somethings can’t be explained. Sometimes it’s the things you just feel… Sometimes you’re not even really sure why.
Perhaps it was…
The avante-garde vibe that just is… Artists, dreamers, and free spirits will feel right at home there. I felt more at home in Galway than where I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for the past 6 years… How is that even possible?
Live music is everywhere… My favorites were the daily Trad Sessions at multiple pubs around town. The best part is that most have sessions starting at around 5:00 pm & 9:00 pm. You could make it an early night and see the 5:00 session, but most likely you’ll still be out and about for the 2nd round. And while bouncing between pubs, there are plenty of buskers on the street that are very talented, and worth a listen.
The singing in the pubs… Everyone sings! And, they know all the words… Even the American songs. I don’t know all the words, and I grew up hearing them! The funny thing is, it made me think of my Grandma. She was part of a huge German family that settled in Chicago, and back in the day sang in the neighborhood pubs with her brothers and sisters. She would have loved this place! Nobody sings in American bars… I refuse to count karaoke! It’s not the same.
The many Irishmen that gave me Irish dancing lessons in the pubs. I should be better at it by now, but I think I spent more time laughing than learning any steps… Good fun!
It’s a festival town. Who doesn’t like a good party? Galway does it right.
Watching the world go by, laying on the grass along the River Corrib on a sunny day… Yes, they do exist! Everyone comes and hangs out by the Spanish Arch alongside the river on sunny days!
Walking through the Claddagh in the morning, heading for coffee and crepes at my favorite place in the Latin Quarter… The simple everyday things that make you feel like you’re at home.
The people… I traveled solo this time, and no matter where I went, I never felt alone. The people are amazingly friendly.
The Craic… Oh, the craic! I love it! Don’t know what it is? Guess you need to go to Ireland!
So Ireland, what have you done to me?
I have decided not to question it anymore. Sometimes you really don’t need an answer.
Somethings I do know, others I’m not so sure of.
For whatever reason, you have weaved yourself into my heart, and that’s a good thing!