Ahoy! This weekend we took our first overnight trip in Ireland to the coastal city of Galway which is a bit over an hour North of Limerick. I hadn’t heard much about Galway prior to being here, but we met a few Irish folk from the area before we left who recommended it, and the rest of the group was very interested so off we went.
We left early Saturday morning by train from Limerick city station on route to Galway. Unfortunately at this time I’m battling a decent cold that I am continuing to downplay to my parents. I’m constantly coughing, my throat is brutally raw and I struggled to hold down food this morning. Is that too much info? I don’t care. Now, I’ve been on a train before so it wasn’t t exciting, but the landscape through the countryside certainly made it a bit more interesting. Once we arrived in Galway we headed to our hostel to drop off our baggage. I couldn’t manage to fit everything in my backpack so I brought a carry-on suitcase. Never again. Hostels are a little bit sketchy and dropping off my luggage in a living room made me pretty nervous. Did I mention this was my first hostel ever? Yea, I was a little nervous.
To start we went to the Galway Cathedral (told you I like churches!) and toured around it for a while. We then ventured into the city for some window shopping and lunch. we went to a neat little pub called the Front Door, which apparently has great trad music at night. The main city centre was close to the Spanish Arches which I guess are a big deal, but I have yet to look into the history and close to the harbour. I was the most excited for the harbour because I love the ocean and boats and water and boaters and woah I’m excited just talking about it. I didn’t really get to see many old-style sailing boats, but I was content. We later met up with Joe, a friend from UL we had met at Stables in first week who showed us to the market. He treated us to Boychik’s doughnuts which were the best doughnuts in my entire life. Warm and gooey and sugary and delicious. It’s a must if you ever visit Galway. He also took us to the cutest little bookstore which was great, except it was so silent and my coughing was far from silent.
In the evening we went out to a few different pubs for some drinks and to experience the nightlife, but I had to cut it short because I felt terrible, which was too bad.
In the morning we left the hostel and went out for breakfast at this cozy little two story cafe. Following that we trekked to the University of Ireland, Galway just to check out the campus, which was beautiful and had a few neat old buildings covered in vines and leaves.
Later in the morning, we took a trail down along the river bank and did a little bit of hiking. Near the end of the trail we looked across the river and saw ruins of an old castle and I immediately decided that’s where I wanted to be. Google maps made it seem like the river ended and we could cross, so we tried. We ended up in a swampy field with some cows before we decided this wasn’t going to workout. On our trek back we stopped at a rugby pitch where there was a game and watched that for awhile before making our decision about the castle. 3 of us decided we’d make the journey and see what was over there. It took a good hour if not more to hike back, cross the bridge and then take the road to the trail which lead to the castle. Once we got there we climbed up and around the castle which was super impressive. I spent at least half the time picking wild blackberries from inside the castle and eating them.
When we finally decided to make our way back to town we attempted to follow this trail that appeared to be a shorter route than the road we took on the way in (my idea-not my best). We spent at least another hour (maybe 2 or more) hiking and bushwhacking around in swampy, grassy mud and marsh before turning back to try and find the trail. Did I mention I was wearing jeans and white converse? They are no longer white, if you’re wondering. We had just over an hour to get to the hostel and catch our train, and it was at least 2 hours back to the hostel if we didn’t get lost again. Fortunately we came across a farmer who was feeding his horses and asked how to get back to Galway. I dropped the fact that our train was leaving in under and hour and he offered us a ride into the city. Irish people are great because otherwise the 3 of us might have been lost another two hours at least.
Exhausted, wet, filthy and hungry we got to the train station, got some food and slept the whole way back to UL. It was a fantastic weekend with some even better friends and now I have an awesome story to share.