We (and by we I mean Sean, Matt F, Alexia, Kelly, Kitty, and Kenzie) caught the 10:15am bus to the London airport on Friday morning, hopped on our plane, met up with Matt Miller in Dublin, and then took a 3 hour train ride to Galway. We arrived in this adorable ocean town around 7 pm and found our place of temporary residence-Claddagh Hostel (ps: Galway is known for the Claddagh ring).On Friday night, we met up with Kira (hoorah!), ate fish and chips at McDonough's, and then headed to the King's Head. This pub was one of the coolest pubs I have ever been to. It was huge (significantly larger than any pub I have been to in Oxford) and resembled a medieval prison. It was dim, two stories high, made of stone, had wooden beams, and had a place for a band to play with a balcony on the second floor. I really liked the atmosphere and the people there actually acknowledged our existence. Matt Miller had had a really exhausting journey which included spending the night in a train station so he was ready to go to bed early. I accompanied him back to the hostel and then ended up talking to Brent the Australian (who unfortunately LOVES vegamite) for 2 hours, it was so great. The hostel split up our group: Kelly, the Matts, Alexia and I shared a room with some strangers and Kenzie, Kitty, and Sean shared a room with strangers upstairs. I'm not really sure why they split up our group, but I wasn't necessarily disappointed because we got to meet new people!
We met 4 people from Australia(who we went to pubs with, ate with, and explored Galway with) who were traveling separately and instead of going to college, felt like traveling to Ireland for a year. Their traveling baffled me(aka it was way too intense for me) because they had no plans, no job (they are all hoping to find a job), and no contacts. I am realizing that I will only meet people who live this intensely in settings like hostels, so I enjoyed all the random conversations that I got to have with strangers. Hostels are so conducive to talking with and meeting new, fascinating people.
This trip restored my faith in my ability to talk to new people...it was so great! People in Ireland are so much friendlier, more welcoming, and more open than the Brits. For a long time, I was really bummed because I wasn't conversing with strangers in Oxford, but after to coming to Ireland I realized that Brits are much more reserved than and not as friendly as the Irish. The hostel was amazing and a huge part of why our stay in Galway was so great.
Saturday in Galway was one of the best days I have had since I've been in Europe. I experienced so much joy, freedom, and contenment. We woke up and had coffee and toast with lots of fixins; then Kira came over and we hit the town. We went to a lovely outdoor market that had tons of traditional Celtic handmade crafts and tons of delicious food.
1. There was a great playground(and I obviously owned it).
After the music finished we went to the pub where our friends were; unfortunately, they had left shortly before we arrived. The good news was that this forty-ish year-old man heard Scott and I chatting and was really excited that we were from America-he had once been golfing in America-so he bought us drinks. He and his friend were fascinated by my teeth:
"You have fantastic teeth-does every one in America take care of their teeth like you do?"
"Oh, yes, I've heard that they all do."
It was hilarious.
Then Adrienne, Scott, and I headed back to the hostel around 2:15...unforunately every one was sleeping but we still wanted to hang out. So we headed to the water where I had been earlier, singing great songs and dancing around...it was lovely. We saw a bonfire on the beach and decided to check out who was there. It was a group of rebellious high schoolers who snuck out of their homes to have a bonfire at 3 in the morning. They were really friendly and tried to teach me Gaelic...I learned how to say poop. Classic. I kept looking around at these Irish high school students and thinking to myself how hilarious it was that I was in Ireland, sitting at a bonfire at 3am, hanging with the rebels of high school. Too good to be true.
It was a delightful introduction to Ireland.