Day 3: Galway Girl
I had been wanting to go to Galway ever since we met some friends in Ios, Greece from Ireland that always listened to the song Galway Girl by Mundy w/Sharon Shannon.
So this is basically my 3rd day of no sleep and we are off on the Go Bus to Galway. We didn’t have any serious plans for this day trip, but I wanted to fit in the Cliffs of Moher somehow. Problem: Any Cliffs tour takes almost the whole day and our bus was headed back at 6 pm. We get to Galway and we are immediately approached by a tour group that said we could do a half-day tour to the Cliffs of Moher and be back in time to get our bus. Problem 2: Its 10 am and we have to be there for the tour by 11:30. Can we see a bit of Galway and get back in time to do it? We are absolutely starving so we head to a little coffee shop right as we are heading into town. My heads still spinning from Fitzsimmons the night before so I get some carbs – everything bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese, and some caffeine. We head into the town of Galway for a quick look around and immediately my heart drops – its just as adorable, if not more, than Kinsale. Twists and turns of old city shops and boutiques go on for blocks. We head into a store so my mom can get a traditional Irish wool sweater (we never had a winter, so not sure when she is going to wear it, but it was a must-have).
Then we hit the roadblock: a Claddagh store. I love Claddaghs, their symbol of love, and how the direction you face them says whether or not you’re
taken. If you’re going to get a Claddagh, get it in Galway, where they originate. We ended up spending the last 30 minutes there picking out rings (thanks Pops!). Then, we decide we really need to take advantage of the tour because my brother was a bit stir crazy and was not going to handle a full on shopping day. Next time: I want to spend a good two days to explore the rest of the city and get to know the people in the town – 45 minutes is not enough time.
Immediately after the bus tour starts we are relieved we made the decision. It was a great change from our previous hustle and bustle days and showed us exactly what you’d imagine Ireland to be like. Green rocky hills, castles, SHEEP! (so adorbs), and small country roads. We even got to see a Donkey hiding behind a Bull! After about two hours on the scenic tour, we pulled up to what looked like ‘Teletubby Land’ – all the shops for the Cliffs were built into the hill. A five minute stair climb and we are at the Cliffs, a few miles long and overlooking the sea – absolutely breathtaking – LOVED. No more words. From the Cliffs we stopped for lunch at an Inn in Dungaire. Finally, we had some traditional Irish food: Shepard’s Pie. Delish. Yum Yum. On the way back to Galway, we unfortunately did not get stopped by sheep crossing the road as you see in the movies, but got to see the coastline. Apparently the water there is always freezing, you can’t stay in for more than 30 min to an hour without starting to get hypothermia (says the tour guide).
Back on the Go Bus to Dublin, I’m trying to get a nap in so I can fulfill my promise to my brother for a full night out (it was a Saturday) in Dublin and party rock until 4 am, but to my luck – the bus was full, so I didn’t get a double seat to myself, AND we had a group of Galway ladies drinking behind us on the bus preparing for their night out in Dublin! Sheesh! Note: They were extremely polite and tried to keep it down, but five girls with a case of beer does not = a nap for Sweet D.
When we got back to Dublin, we hit up Arlington Hotel bar. This was my whole family’s favorite bar of the weekend. Early on in the night there is Irish dancing on stage, then an Irish band. The bartenders are hilarious and very accommodating, and it is a great environment for
a range of ages (my 21 year-old sister to my mother). From there, we hit up Porterhouse brewery, which had fabulous live cover bands that were HOT! However, the weather and lack of sleep got to me and I had to head home. Luckily, my sister took one for the team and had a great night out with the bro. The only thing they could tell me from the rest of that night is that they went to Abrakebabra, Ireland’s kebab fast food chain (it took me until the third day we were there to realize it was an excellent play on words!) which I had been dying to try. Next time I say.
Day 4: Dublin
Sleep!!! We slept in until 12:30 pm on Sunday in Dublin. Much needed and it was so nice not to rush to anything (or so I felt at that moment). We headed straight to the Guinness Storehouse for a self-guided tour and lunch. The Storehouse was beautifully structured, but there wasn’t too much to the tour. We were starving, so we didn’t really care about the tour, and we headed to a little cafe on one of the upper floors. Irish food part 2! I got a ham & chicken pie (much like Shepard’s Pie) and the bro got beef stew. Once our tummy’s were fed, we headed up to the Gravity Bar for our free pint of Guinness. The best part of the Storehouse – you get a 360 degree view of Dublin. AMAZING.
We get out of Guinness and its almost 5 pm. UGH. How are we supposed to get in all our shopping in 1 hour? Stores close at 6 pm on Sundays. We did NOT think this through. We made it in time to Carroll’s, the Irish souvenir shop to get all our must-haves for friends. Sadly, I did not get to do my intended personal shopping spree on O’Connell and Graft Streets. Next time.
We head to dinner at a tapas restaurant, Market Bar, which is built within an old factory. The food was fantastic, the wine was flowing, and it was a great last meal to our whirlwind trip. Two thumbs up.
We had to make one last stop at Arlington Hotel Bar, and let my mom get a bit ‘Irish,’ which she hadn’t done all weekend. We then headed to the Czech Inn with our bartender friends for a night cap and called it a night.
Up again at 6 am to head back. All I can say about the Dublin airport is make sure you are there at least 2.5 hours ahead of time. We almost missed our plane. :*(
To Go Back, or Not To Go Back?
I would definitely go back. There is so much more to see that I haven’t and I’d like the trip to be more leisurely. This was definitely a tourist vacation. In an ideal world, I’d go back and do: 2 days Dublin – Shopping and Casual Dining/Drinking, 2 Days Galway, 2 Days Kinsale , and 2 Days up to Belfast to see the Giants Causeway and see what the North is like. Everyone I met the whole time was so incredible, you learn something new in every conversation. How can I not go back?