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Ireland: The Good & the Bad...and Guinness instead of Limoncello!

Ireland: The Good & the Bad...and Guinness instead of Limoncello!

Sep 13th, 2010, 07:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,188
Here's a little more:

As usual, I put my feet up for a while, get a shower and head out to dinner. It's raining, plus I don't feel like walking too far, so I pick the restaurant by what's closest. Occasionally this doesn't work out very well, but I have tended to have good luck in the past with this method. When I get down to the main drag, I don't go very far before reaching Cronin's Restaurant. It looks promising, and they have a table available, so this good. The guy says I can go upstairs if I want to and would have more room, but the table downstairs looks fine, and I really don't want to go upstairs!

As I'm looking at the menu, I'm thinking that a steak sounds good, something I haven't had since I arrived in Ireland. I order the Spicy Calamari with Garlic Mayo, Chili Sauce & Salad, which is great, and then the Sirloin Steak with Thyme & Pepper Sauce. It comes with baked potato, mashed potato (yes, both!), carrots and broccoli and is delicious. I'm looking over at the couple at a nearby table. She is tall, thin and very attractive, but the main thing is, she has her foot tucked up under her other leg. Makes my knees hurt just to see it! I remember when I could sit that way, but it was a long time ago! Anyway, the dinner is very good, with two glasses of wine, E37.90.

I decide to go looking for some music after dinner. Buckley's doesn't have anything tonight, but O'Donoghue's does. Yes, the same name as the place in Dublin where I had such a good time. Unfortunately, when I go in, there are microphones. OK, so I've still heard some good music with microphones. It's about time for the music to start, but there is a delay because the final game of the Soccer World Cup is on the TV. There's no way they will let the music start until the game is over, and it's in overtime and taking a lot longer than most figured it would.

The seats near the music are all full, but there is another long, narrow, U-shaped area inside the door. I notice that there is an empty seat at the end, so I ask the young woman next to the empty seat if anyone is sitting there. She says no, have a seat, so I do. I now realize why this seat is empty. The TV is directly above my head. It's the only seat where you can't see the TV! Now, I think I mentioned that people-watching is one of my favorite things. I have to say that it's very interesting watching a bunch of soccer-mad people who are watching the World Cup finals. Realize that I don't have anyone to talk to, because they are all engrossed in the game. I'm not really interested in the game, so I'm just watching the people. Directly across from me is a very attractive young couple. Next to them is a woman who is probably in her 60's, I'm thinking she works in an office somewhere, very neat and trim, until I see her picking her nose. Ugh! The woman next to her is a peroxide blonde way beyond the age when she should be doing that, and she is crying. Next we have a very serious woman who looks totally bored. Then there is a woman whose contact lenses are really bothering her. Maybe she should wear regular glasses.

Believe it or not, the next guy looks pretty normal, but he's next to a guy who is constantly rubbing his forehead. All of them are very serious about this game! More people are peering in through the windows and crowding the entry to the pub. The game finally ends, and some are happy and some aren't over the winner. The music starts, and I have to say that it's truly awful! Hearing 1960's US classic rock in an Irish pub by musicians who really don't do it well is pretty bad. OK, so MOST of the music I heard in Ireland was great! I head back to the B&B, and of course it's raining a little. But I had fun!
SusanP is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 58
This is a fantastic trip report and I can't wait to read more. Your descriptions and observations are great - keep it up!
rosaleendark is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 10:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,188
Thanks, rosaleen. Here's some more:

I think Killarney would be a really nice place to visit if it you didn't have pouring rain for most of the time you're there. Very beautiful countryside, what I saw of Killarney National Park looks gorgeous, some good restaurants, good shopping. It's just that if you're mainly there for the scenic beauty, pouring rain doesn't help! I would go back there and hope it wasn't raining so much!

Before dinner, I had asked Anne's husband (sorry, can't remember his name right now) to call a taxi for me to go to the train station the next morning. He tries to assure me that it's not very far and I can walk, and even when I mention that I have arthritic knees and don't want to do that, he seems reluctant to schedule the taxi. I convince him that I'm not going to walk to the train station with my luggage, so he agrees to call the taxi. I catch the train and have two stops on the way to Galway. Again, the Irish trains are very easy, only one step up into them.

As I mentioned, I planned this trip rather spur of the moment. As I'm sitting there on the train, I realize that I never checked with the B&B in Galway to see what floor my room was on. Of course, it will probably be a few flights up! I get a taxi from the train to the Forge House on New Road, over the William O'Brien Bridge, sort of the “Left Bank” of Galway (and I guess an up-and-coming area of the city). When I arrive, the owner, Dolores, greets me and shows me my room, which is immediately to the right when you walk in the door. Great! No stairs at all! I had read about this specific room on Trip Advisor, and the reviews were a little mixed. I think the one said it was a little tight for two people, and that might be true. There are two single beds in an L-shape, not a great deal of room otherwise, but definitely plenty for one person. There might have also been something about the bathroom being small, but it was really perfectly fine. Maybe the person who wrote that review hadn't traveled much in Europe. It was bigger than several other bathrooms I've had in Italy! I like the place, and it's only E40 per night including a full Irish breakfast. Can't beat that!

Here's the thing...I know, even in the taxi ride from the train station, that I'm going to love Galway. You know how I mentioned that when you arrive in Rome or Paris, there's that electricity in the air, that feeling where you know you are in that city (that Dublin didn't have)? Well, Galway has that. Of course, it's different from those two cities, but Galway has its own “feeling” in the air, and it's a good vibe. I head out to explore a bit, with the travel office as my destination. I ask Dolores how long it would take her to walk there, and she says 10 minutes, so sure enough it takes me between 15 and 20. The walk takes me through the center of town, through Eyre Square. Of course, along the way, it starts to rain.

I stop at the tour office for Galway Tours. I had thought I would take the tour to the Aran Islands, but more rain is predicted, and that doesn't seem like a great tour for a rainy day. They also have one for Connemara & Cong, which seems like a better bet. I'm thinking that those places could still be atmospheric in the rain/fog. The girl at the office actually says the same thing, so I book that for two days from now.

I have to go to the travel office to pick up concert tickets. After booking the room in Galway, I had discovered that I would be arriving on the first day of the Galway Arts Festival, so I went to their website to see what concerts I might be interested in. I bought tickets for two concerts and had to pick those up. Turns out that the office is pretty close to the Radisson, where tonight's concert will be held. After getting my tickets, I'm pretty hungry. I had thought I might have an early dinner anyway, since one of the concerts is tonight, but I decide I want it now (I didn't have lunch on the train trip). I go to Foxs Porterhouse on Forster Street at the corner of Station Road and have Fish & Chips and a glass of Guinness. Delicious! E11.50.

I meander back through town and stop at the Treasure Chest, a truly lovely store. I need to go there because a good friend of mine worked there and stayed with the family about 30 years ago when she was in Ireland for a month or more after college. I go in and ask a clerk if the Bennett family still owns the store. When she says yes, I ask her if there is anyone still there who would have been there 30 years ago. She says, well, yes, Mrs. Bennett herself. So she finds Mrs. Bennett. I introduce myself and explain why I'm there. She is delighted! She definitely remembers my friend, says oh, she was such a lovely girl. I assure her that she still is, and ask if I can take her picture for my friend. Of course, she is happy to have me do so and also gives me a brochure for the store for me to give her. Lovely! She tells me that there are 8 or 10 other people still working at the store who would have been there 30 years ago, but they are either out of town on business, on vacation or at lunch.

I go back to the B&B and put my feet up for a little while, then head out to the concert at the Radisson. It's actually stopped raining for a while! The concert is Brad Meldhau, a jazz pianist, part of the Galway Arts Festival. After checking my map, it appears that there is a slightly shorter route than the one I took this afternoon, so I go up by the train station and go left towards the hotel. OK, not a good idea. I'm halfway down the block when an old, very drunk guy tries to get me to give him some money. I just shake my head no and look past him, but he actually moves right up in my face. I can't say that I really felt threatened, but it was certainly uncomfortable. He gives up and I move on to see, a little farther on, three young people sitting there smoking something which obviously isn't regular tobacco. So I would not recommend taking the street directly out to the left of the train station! The Radisson really isn't in the best part of town! This was the only negative about Galway. Just avoid this street and enjoy the city!

No matter, the concert is wonderful! I love jazz, and he is terrific. After the concert, it's raining again, plus I really don't think I want to walk through this area at this hour (close to 11:00 pm), so I get a taxi back to the B&B.
SusanP is offline  

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