April 30, 2008
We’ve arrived! I’m sitting in our room at the SleepZone hostel in Galway. The plane from Dulles was.. interesting. There was quite a bit of turbulence ascending out of Dulles, and then again about midway through. It was enough to make my stomach turn a bit, and I don’t think I did much more than doze off for about thirty minutes. Katie and I grabbed a bagel when we landed, found our bus, and were off across the countryside by 8:20 AM.
Everyone talks about Ireland being tremendously green - and it is. The trees are many shades, and the grass has a full, green vibrancy to it that somehow conjures images of homely men lifting pints and greeting each other with a hardy “Failte!” But my very first impression was actually the sky. The cumulus seems to hang low over the whole island, and it comes in a diverse spectrum of whites and grays equal to the greens of the grasses and the trees. The air has a pristine quality that, when coupled with the closeness of the cloud cover, gives the impression of altitude and mountain scenery. The countryside is divided into little blocks by stone walls and lines of trees, and many of the fields are populated with sheep or ponies.
By the time we arrived in Galway, it was about 8 AM back home and there hadn’t been much extra sleep on the bus either. The constant stops and rattling of the interior ensured half-consciousness the entire way. Libby met us at the bus stop, and we found our hostel a block past Eyre Square. Since the room wasn’t ready yet, we threw our luggage in a locker, and went to Taafes Pub on Shop Street for a quick lunch before walking down to the river Corrib.
The river is beautiful, bordered by Quays all the way down to where it slips into Galway Bay. Various canals, locks and tributaries join it throughout the city, making for a wonderful walk surrounded by cascades and rapids. We spotted a little restaurant on the other side of the river with a small outdoor space surrounded by water on three sides, but by the time we got there, it was too chilly to sit out. Instead, we dined surrounded by ancient stone, brick and overhanging timbers.
Sleep the first night was very, very welcome.
Pictures here. More coming as I can.