Thursday, 13 July 2017

GALWAY, a City of Curiosities.

We took ourselves to Galway city the other day, leaving the car at home and travelling by Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail. I have long appreciated the comfort of Irish rail and this dates back to 1986 when I journeyed from Belfast to Dublin’s Connolly Street station on a bog standard British Rail coach with dusty compartments. Boarding the Cork bound train at Dublin’s Huston Station I was delighted to find myself in a sparkling carriage that looked like the inside of an airliner.
Today Irish trains are still as comfortable with wifi, charging sockets and a refreshment trolley service, so we made ourselves at home and settled down to watch the green countryside roll by.

ARD RÍ - HIGH KING

Galway, situated as it is at the head of Galway Bay, is an attractive city with the atmosphere of a coastal holiday town. It has an international flavour and you never know who you are going to see or meet on its crowded streets. There is lot to see in this town within walking distance, which needs to be done slowly for there is much to see above your head, as well as at eye level for the many and varied curiosities can easily be missed.


One of the busy streets.

During the Middle Ages, Galway (Irish: "Gaillimh") was ruled by an oligarchy of fourteen merchant families. Their names were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Darcy, Deane, Ffont, French, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt. These were the "tribes" of Galway. The city thrived on international trade, and in the Middle Ages, it was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France.



Charlie Byrne’s has been a cultural centre in Galway for over two decades, and celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2014. As an integral part of Galway’s artistic landscape, we regularly host book launches, readings, and other cultural events. Over the years, Charlie Byrne’s has hosted some of Ireland’s best-known writers and musicians as well as international literary legends. A great place to browse in on a moist day and chat to Charlie on whatever subject you like.
For more information http://charliebyrne.com



Tigh Neachtain's
A good corner house to sit outside, drink and watch the world go past. 

Tigh Neachtain became a meeting place in 1894 and is the former town house of Colonel Richard Martin 15th Jan 1754 - 4th Jan 1834, who was an Irish politician and campaigner against cruelty to animals. He was known as "Humanity Dick", a nickname bestowed on him by King George IV. Martin succeeded in getting the pioneering Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822, nicknamed 'Martin's Act', passed into British law, which was the basis for the RSPCA. Proficient with both pistol and sword, he was also a serial duelist, reputed to having fought thirty duels. He died in France in his eightieth year .


Plenty of room with comfortable chairs and good company to while away the hours.


It is not just the paintings that are colourful !


Even the Hare has his telescope to view the scene and see the sea.



CLADDAGH GOLD

Many firms make different versions of the Claddagh Ring. Dillon of Galway is the only firm still in existence since 1750 making the Original Ring at 1, William Street, Galway.
The tradition of how to wear this ring is very distinctive. If the owner of the ring wears it with the crown pointing towards the finger nail, he or she is said to be in love or married. To wear the ring with heart pointing to the finger nail, he or she is said to be unattached to anyone.
The notice immediately above the entrance reads:

"This establishment is dedicated to
Fair play and a square deal.
No man should expect less
Nor be given more"




This young woman caught my eye as her outfit echoed 
the paintwork around her. 


Druid was founded in Galway in 1975 by graduates of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Garry Hynes, Mick Lally (1945 – 2010) and Marie Mullen – the first professional theatre company in Ireland to be based outside Dublin.
Druid has been based in a building on a lane off Quay Street in Galway's Latin Quarter since 1979. The lane itself was renamed Druid Lane in 1996 in honour of the company's 21st birthday.
Now known as The Mick Lally Theatre (named in memory of the iconic Irish actor and founder member)



We are not yet done with Galway City there much is more in store to share with you. 




24 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying my visit and looking forward to more.

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    1. Thank you for the appreciation Janet x

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  2. That's a lovely sight. Isn't that the place mentioned in one of Ed Sheeran's songs. Really interesting facts about the Claddagh Ring, thanks for sharing and lovely photos!

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    1. Thanks Blogo ! I have never heard any of Ed Sheeran's songs actually :-(
      Glad that you enjoyed the blog though and have you ever visited Galway ?

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  3. Hi Mel - lovely photos and to hear your views ... Galway does sound entrancing and I'm sure I visited when I was very late sprog ... able to drive and travel around with a girlfriend from Cork - she used to live near us. Modernised and I see going to be the European Union's Capital of Culture in 2020 ... that should be interesting to visit. Wonderful to read about the trains ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Galway is truly beautiful and very active, lots of eateries loads of shops etc.
      Thank you for commenting Hilary.

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  4. The hare with binoculars is brilliant!

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    1. It most certainly is Simon and made me laugh too :-)

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  5. It looks like quite a tourist destination, Mel.

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    1. Thanks Gwen Galway has a great deal more to offer than just the normal tourist stuff, it being a seat of learning with a university too :-)

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  6. Another terrific post. You take excellent photos. Those colourful shops, the hare, the ring that bookshop, the drinking plaaces, your commentary. Just hope I can visit one day. Another place on my list

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    1. Thank you L.A. and oh' shucks I forgot to mention a school of ballet - if your tippy toes are up to it ? :-)

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  7. What an interesting post Heron. I have been to Galway some years ago and remember that bookshop well. Also I do remember some colourful characters - but then you can say that about any Irish town or city can't you (country villages too as far as that goes!)

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    1. Many thanks for your appreciation Pat and as for colourful characters, I don't have far to walk to meet a few and have a chat :-)

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  8. I can't believe the multitude of amazing places on that island!! We do have cities like that in Sweden as well, but not with histories like that. It's comforting to see those houses preserved in such a loving fashion. And also the fact that you can both do some shopping and have a pint in the centre of town. In Sweden we are suffering from malls...and I mean suffering. They keep popping up like weeds all over, slowly suffocating the souls of the town next to them.
    I am happy to see that a small town like this one is alive and well, filled with life and people and hope. And to go by train, that is nice. Did you stay over night? I look forward to your next trip and report from the greener side of green!!!

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    1. Solvieg, I am really pleased in being able to share with you the ordinary everyday life style of Ireland. Oh' yes we have malls too. In fact I walked through a very long one which sits close to the Rail station and parallel to the main street - they come in handy if it is raining hard as a place to shelter; it really is up to the town planners to rule on where they are sited and what size. The one in Galway city centre is accommodated and is not very intrusive.
      We did not do an over nighter for Toby our dog needed us at home :-)

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    2. I thought so. And I agree, the planning is crucial and I am afraid the planning is very shortsighted. Good to know that they do it better in Ireland. But I wonder, that red sign saying Druid, is that for real or is it something else????

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    3. Ah' Solveig that red sign that says "DRUID" well that has been left there as a keepsake for that was the earlier name of the Theatre before it was changed to The Mick Lally Theatre. Mick was a wonderful character actor and yes we do all miss him, unfortunately he died in August 2010 after a battle with emphysema.

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  9. Jack L said : Thanks Mel..for the blog on your trip to Galway, it certainly brings back many memories for me… In the meantime, I think you really captured the spirit of the lovely old streets and all the colour, I stayed in a small hotel close to the rain station "The Eyre Square Hotel"..its just a short walk from the university...and yes, I love the Irish trains, they're clean and comfortable.
    So, just a short note to say thanks,..this one really struck a chord, your a great photographer..a good -eye !

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    1. You are very welcome Jack am glad that I stirred a few memories :-)

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  10. You are better than any Irish Tourism Bureau. So many places I would love to visit. One of these days. Thanks for your exceptional posts and photos!

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    1. Thank you Mitchell, I bow low before your superior knowledge !

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  11. Thank you so much Heron for re-awakening my desire to go to Ireland. My father loved Ireland and cylcled round it as a young man. My wife and I had intended to honeymoon there but something ( I can't recall what) prevented us. My first serious love came from Ireland (back in the '60s). So I am ashamed when, in my 73rd year, I say that I have never been. I have just entered it on the bucket list.

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    1. Thank you for the comment and under the circumstances perhaps you had better place Ireland at the very top of your list eh ?

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