East to West

Friday, June 3, 2016

Good morning Dublin!


It is another beautiful day in Ireland.  What was all this we heard about raining and miserable weather?  (I am sure it will hit so we are very thankful to have these sunny days and are making the most of them.)

The only thing on our agenda today is to get a train to Galway – easy enough.  Breafast, however is the first order of the day and we already had our eye on Queen of Tarts.  When we make the 3 minute walk to the restaurant we see that many other folks had the same idea of a lazy, late breakfast.  It is a 3-day weekend here (bank holiday) so there are more people out and about.


We choose to sit indoors and are given a great table upstairs overlooking all the action.  The menu looks wonderful.  Rich goes out on a limb and chooses the Baked Eggs with Beans and Bacon.  I stick with one of their huge raspberry scones.  Cappucinos all around. It is all fantastic, but Rich definitely wins for his selection.

It is a train to Galway at 1:25.  All we have to do is catch the bus to the train station.  It is all of a 5 minute walk to the bus stop.  I am fine with that until Rich reminds me (for about the 10th time) that I have to lug my huge suitcase…


I know.  I KNOW.  I am a seasoned traveler and really try to pack light.  I can probably manage to pack clothes for a one month trip (2 climates) into just a carry-on.  But tell me, dear reader, where would I put all the shoes??? (I know some of you understand).  Rich has just a carry on, naturally.

As we were walking to the station we passed a bar that according to one of their labels out front looks like it just may have the kind of “hoppy” beer that I like.  I will keep this one in mind…


Bus to station.  3 hour train  westward to Galway.

Before we left I had google mapped how to get from the station to our hotel.  I had “walked” the route on my computer several times so that I could understand it when we arrived.  No one is more surprised than I when I lead us past the Budget Car rental (needed tomorrow) and then straight to our Victoria Hotel!

Budget is blue building

Our hotel is situated right outside the main drag – Eyre Square.  We ditch our things and head out into the thick of the fray.

Absolutely everyone is out and about today.  There are street performers everywhere and music wafting through the air.  I think we are going to like Galway.

I soon spy a large jewely store that catches my eye.  Before we left I had been curious about Claddaugh Rings.  According to Wiki: ”

The Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring given which represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty). The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The ring, as currently known, was first produced in the 17th century.”


I remind Rich that my Christmas present this year was for us to get new wedding bands (he hasn’t been able to put his on since he broke his finger last year).  Neither one of us has been actually looking, but this seems like it might have possibilities. We enter.

They have dozens of custom choices.  We both fall in love with the flat, two-toned ones in yellow and white gold.  Simple and beautiful.  She tells us that they are made right there in the shop and could possibly be ready tomorrow.  Or they can ship.  Anywhere.  We both get sized (just in case) and take all the information with us.

We continue strolling around Galway and head down to the waterfront where young people are lounging all over the grass.  This weather has brought out all the locals to bask in the sun.

It is just about time for a beer.  We scour the streets looking for an empty outside table at one of the many, many pubs all around. We finally snag a little outdoor table and wouldn’t you know it?  It is right across from the Claddaugh Jeweler.  Hmmm.  Maybe I will just race back in and see if they can have rings ready for us by tomorrow (we are leaving Galway tomorrow – it is now 6:00pm).  Rich remains at the pub while I go scout it out.


Rich stays here
I go there

Rich realizes when I don’t come back right away that something is up.  Sure enough, if we can postpone our departure until 1:00pm tomorrow they can have 2 rings ready for us!  Done deal.  I come out and tell Rich – we are both really excited about getting our new rings.  Happy Anniversary!

When we decide to relinquish our outdoor pub seats, Rich starts to make his way through the other tables to pay our tab.  He drops his glasses and one of the lads at the adjacent table pics them up for him and proceeds to replace them on Rich’s face.  He takes one look at Rich, cups his face in his hands, tells Rich he is a “beautiful man,” and kisses him on the cheek! I only wish I had been quick with the camera.  I told you the Irish were a friendly lot…

There are many choices for dinner, but since it is so busy out finding an outdoor table is not easy.  I use my eagle eye and spot one.  We don’t even know what kind of place it is, but quickly snag the table and sit.

The server is sweet, the beer is cold, the food is “meh” but the people-watching is phenomenal! We enjoy picking out the common tourist types: “Mr and Mrs John Deere,” “Matched Set” (this one went to a stag party group all dressed in tacky Hawaiian gear), “Little Fur Family,” etc.

The evenings plans are to go to a pub that I had read about for live music.  Tonight they are having a special event with someone well-known playing the “pipes” (bag-pipe type of instrument) along with a fiddler.  We will have to cross the river to get to the Crane Bar. We still cannot get over all the people just hanging out.  Looks like the river area is a young persons see and be seen place.

Crane Bar is easily found and we find a great little table upstairs right in front of the musicians.  The music is fabulous – your ears almost get tired.  These guys are the real deal.  Tiredness begins to set and so we only listen to one set, but it was awesome.


On our way back we know that we are going to pass through an area that we saw being set up earlier.  There was an entire street closed down and a huge stage set up with a couple of DJ’s.  We are thinking there was going to be a huge event with loud music and a big party.  Hey – let’s walk through there!  When we get to it all we hear are the crowd singing and no background music.  What the ???

As we enter the “venue” we see throngs of young people all wearing headphones and dancing/singing/partying!  We can’t hear the music except for what is coming from those singing along.  It is so cool.  We asked about it later and found out the event is a Silent Disco.  Read about it HERE. The music is blue-toothed into the headphones from the DJ’s on the stage.  Looked like an amazing party. Great idea – wonder if it has/will catch on in the US?

Silent Disco

These fogies are tired and it is way past bedtime.  Tomorrow we will be renting a car and Rich will have to be fresh to drive AND shift gears on the left hand side…




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