…My favorite part of Ireland is the Galway area. As I started to see the beautiful scenery of the west coast of Ireland outside the bus window I felt that I had finally arrived in the Ireland of my imagination, or the closest thing to it. John Wayne filmed a movie there in the 50’s called ‘The Quiet Man’. You have access to some amazing day trips or you can just hang around the town itself. The Gaelic culture is preserved there along with authentic Celtic mythological symbols, celtic music, art and crafts. Lots of lodging options abound as well, ranging from cheap hotels, to guest houses to hostels. I stayed in a Hostel after my rude awakening via couchsurfing in Cork, still very much on a tight budget.
Overall I felt enchanted by the smiling Irish faces and the overcast, hygge style of coziness I felt there. I was entertained by a love triangle of swans in the town square, I was challenged by a local Irish man in the pub to a fight during a soccer match. I looked him in the eye, shrugged it off and kept walking. I have seen these kinds of brutes before in the southern US. They want to fight if you merely make eye contact with them. Its a territorial thing but I would not fall for it. He was drunk. I had fish and chips at a fine dining establishment. We do it better in America…the Cod tasted like cardboard. I enjoyed Guinness and spirited Irish music in front of a roaring fire. I ate ice cream on the waterfront, watching a parade of ginger-haired people walk by, with every shade of brilliant red you can imagine.
From Galway you have a several excellent options for day trips. The most popular options are: ‘The Cliffs of Moher’ (aka ‘The Cliffs of Insanity’ from the Princess Bride), Aran Islands and Connemara. I chose to take a ferry to Aran Islands and booked a hostel there. Aran Islands was magical, mystical and mysterious… they are referred to as, “THE ISLANDS OF SAINTS AND SCHOLARS”.
Something magical happened for me while I was there. I checked my email from the tattered PC in the hostel community room and discovered that I had been hired for a really great tech job at a PR firm in the Manhattan flatiron district that I had previously applied for. Starting date was that coming Monday, true story. So I took a train across country and flew back to NYC pronto. When I arrived in New York I had only $250 bucks to my name…lol. I was in such a remote place and my situation was not looking good at all. But it all worked out! The job lasted over a year and I was propelled into the world of Social Media from that work experience.
“Sometimes you just gotta say, WTF…”
On a final note, after learning about my Northern Irish ancestry in 2017 I made a return trip, this time to Belfast, Northern Ireland and surrounding areas, staying at an airbnb and a farm house styled inn. I may cover this experience in a future post, but the Galway area remains my favorite part of Ireland. Northern Ireland has a violent, tempestuous history with endless protests and fighting between Protestants and Catholics. Its been going on for at least 500 years. I was so unimpressed with all of that. You guys should read that Bible of yours again, you missed a few important parts – you have been thumping your Bible so much instead of reading it. I think your Bible must be missing quite a few pages with all that thumping. I actually cut my Northern Ireland trip short….did not feel the magic this last time around. Just saw a bunch of fast food chains, shitty malls and Christians fighting with each other. No big whoop.
One last tip – at the time of this writing you can still get an amazing deal on a round trip flight out of Newburgh, NY to Ireland on Norwegian Airlines versus flying out of NYC. If you use the calendar feature on google flights you will find the best deals. You could save hundreds of dollars like I did.