A Walk Through Galway City

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Jul 25, 2009

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

We began our walking tour at 11 am in front of Galway Cathedral.  Mr. Peadar O'Dowd was our guide.  He is a wonderful man and so full of information.  He is an archeologist and has written over 20 or so books on Irish history, especially about Galway.

(I think more people are coming into Galway to gear up for the big Arts Festival that they hold every year, starting on the 13th.  The streets were buzzing.  The rain held out too, though we did feel a sprinkle or two.)

It was very interesting to hear the history of Galway through the informed!  A portion of the stuff they publish in guide books and such are actually based in legend, not fact.  The most revealing of these is the Lynch family story.  Major James Lynch was said to have hung his own son after being found guilty of murder in 1490.  Apparently, some other fellow thought this would be a great thing to capitalize on.  So, he found an old building in disrepair and added a free standing window above (the supposed site of the hanging).  Research shows that this window is a 16th century piece and his son was a 15th century man.  As Peadar stated, "Hence this became our 1st "tourist trap" of Galway.

The Lynch's continued to dominate the city.  They had a castle, which is now covered over (plaster) except for a few spots on the walls.  It is currently the Allied Irish Bank.  It's a rarity to find many of the original standing buildings.  St. Nicholas' Church is the oldest one in Galway.  Most were partially destroyed and/or plastered over.  Mr. O'Dowd is one of the leading men that have contibuted to the salvage and preservation of many of the sites.  He said that the major restoration efforts in most of Ireland did not really begin until 1989.  That wasn't all that long ago!

He also told of a story regarding one of the original stone walls that surrounded the city.  A man came up to him and asked if he was aware of the fact that they were tearing down the original city wall to put up a new mall.  Peader first had to ask what a mall was.  Afterwards, he hustled down to the spot and stopped work until the matter could be discussed.  The final agreement stated that the builder could continue to construct the mall, but would also have to see to the preservation of a portion of the wall.  This wall runs right inside the existing shopping mall!  Pretty neat.  Old and new, side by side.

I will post a few of the pictures to go along with the areas that I spoke of.  There's just too much to tell.  Nevertheless,  I don't want to bore you.

After the tour we ate lunch at "The Front Door" formerly known as "Sonny's".  I had a chicken sandwich with fries "chips" and a small salad.  Yes, chicken again. ( I really need to branch out.)  We then headed to the phone/internet cafe and I called my family to wish them a happy 4th of July.  Afterwards we booked a tour for tomorrow to the Aran Islands.

We ended the long morning/afternoon with a trip to the grocery store on the way home.  (They charge for grocery bags here.  I guess that's one way to get people to conserve.  They are very into recycling and energy conservation in this area.  The US should take some pointers from them.)

This "Yank" (as the Irish refer to us) was pretty pooped by then.  It was almost 5 pm.  So I chilled back at the apartment and tried to catch up on some paper work.  I also figured out how to use Skype.  That allowed Terry and I to see and talk to one another for free.  Isn't technology grand?!

It's 1:00 AM here.  Still haven't adjusted to Irish time.  My body is not tired because it thinks it's only 8PM.  But, I will finish up nevertheless.

Happy 4th of July all of you Yanks out there!!!
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