Monday, March 19, 2007

Galway Wins

After our tour of various differnt Reidy Points of Interest, we headed back to Kilmurry but stopped in Kilrush again to get something to eat. We went to Crotty's Pub but they stopped serving food at 4:00 but we liked the atmosphere of the pub too much to leave, so we picked up a couple of pizzas at the pizza/pasta take out joint across the square. We realized early on that two pies wouldn't cut it so we quickly ordered two more.

Guinness, pizza and loads of laughs were great and what topped it all off was the soccer game on the telly. Milan FC vs. Liverpool as I remember and we watched it at Crotty's until half time, then headed back to Kilmurry and a pub in Quilty for the second half. When a couple of pints and the game turned into a nice long chat with the bartender just before he tossed us out after closing, Joe decided now would be a great time to hike out to the castle ruins visible from the Donnellan's house in Kilmurry.

A late night walk sounded like a good idea, especially since it was so clear, but we were faced with a couple of disadvantages in our quest to get to the castle. We had no flashlight and it was extremely wet. We found a path thought to be the quickest way there, but I stopped when the muck we were walking in started to reach my ankles. Joe, as a resident of Portland, Oregon, pressed on fearlessly into the dark, wet, muck. I had witnessed Joe in this unstoppable state before on our 2004 trip when he went out for a walk in Cashel in the pouring rain and came back some time later, soaking wet. It wasn't long before he returned, having discovered a dead end and even more muck. He decided to try a different route as I changed my course back to the cottage and my warm, dry bed.

The next day, we headed out for our next adventure, Galway. Of the three destinations that we would attempt outside of Clare, Galway and Dublin were left. There was the very cool idea of catching the train for Dublin in Limerick to Dublin, but the fact that we were all still operating on Central Standard Time prevented us from getting to Ennis or Limerick early enough to catch the train that would get us there in time to make a meaningful visit.

That was that. Galway won. There would be no complaining once we got there, though. In fact, there was really no complaining on the way either. It did help that we had a nice drive through country called "The Burren" , an area of limestone hills.

Castle tower framed by limestone hills in the Burren

Another look at the Burren down a lonely lane

Galway is one of the largest cities in Ireland and we managed to time our arrival right at rush hour. Fortunately, both cars stayed together and we found a spot to park relatively quickly in order to hunt for a place to stay. The Eyre Square Hotel was the second blip on our radar screen and had a good enough deal for us to stop looking and start enjoying the city.

After a great meal in a restaurant called McSwiggan's that was just out that way, to the right, down the road a bit, and then it'll be on your left, you can't miss it ( I think we got identical directions from two entirely different locations, there are few 90 degree angled streets in Galway) where everyone who didn't get the apple pie had a awesome dessert, Joe and I headed for The Crane Bar for a session while KGMB headed back to the hotel to enjoy the end of "Rag Week".

"Rag Week" is sort of a "Spring Break" for the University students who have just finished finals. It tends to involve overindulgence in adult beverages and can be very loud. Thursday was the last night and it promised to be the loudest.

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