Is there a place on this island that won’t steal my heart!?
My goodness, Ireland might be one of the most underrated beautiful nations in the world. Then again, I haven’t been around too much of the world yet, but I can appreciate this little country for what it is!
I did some chores and work in the morning before a few of us headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin city centre.
This place is truly a masterpiece. Arches, carvings, stained-glass window, stairways, tombs— like a fantasy novel setting! It’s also Anglican, not Catholic, which I did not know!
Then I did homework on Friday night. Lame award of the year. But it was for good reason because I was also packing for a weekend trip to Galway. Even though it was a two day trip, I was more nervous for this weekend jaunt than leaving the US for Ireland. I think it was because this is the first trip I planned completely without my parents’ intervention at all. Just Megan, me, and the good ol’ Internet (← in other words, we had infinite resources at our fingertips).
I woke up at around 5:50 to get in a super quick workout before we hit the road. I did a warmup + 12 minute workout before gathering my things, eating some pb+j banana oats, and walking to bus #1.
We successfully made it to the airport, where bus #2 departed. But we used the airport restroom and found this dispenser, which was…handy?
Megan: “Why can you get toffee from the same machine as your tampons?”
So we ran away to Galway. It was about a 2.5 hour bus ride, and we emerged in the new city (SUCCESS) without a plan until dinner time. First stop: lunch at The Dough Bros.
They had free crunchy chocolate chip cookies at the order counter, so that was our appetizer 😀
And then we shared the “Hey Pesto” pizza, which had homemade basil pesto, goat cheese, smoked semi-sundried tomatoes, balsamic red onions, and fresh rocket (arugula).
With happy bellies, we walked around the streets of Galway city, which were just charming. Our secret mission was to find dessert (I had scones on my mind for whatever reason), so we circled around before finding a little strip of street vendors.
I sampled four different kinds of bread from The Happy Loaf, and then I finally bought a white chocolate blueberry spelt muffin (that he baked right there in some outdoor oven contraption!).
Megan bought a caramel slice from a different vendor, and we brought our desserts to the River Corrib, where we blissfully enjoyed our treats with a view.
the muffin could have used more blueberries, but it was still delicious!
“the garbage swan” ➔ Megan’s unofficial name for this thing
We walked up to the ocean area called Salthill, which offered a delightful sea breeze and a peaceful atmosphere.
We couldn’t stay too long, because we had to catch a bus to Kinvara for dinner. However, in our haste, Megan twisted her (semi-recently sprained) ankle 😦 Darn cobblestone.
Luckily there was an ambulance literally right there where she twisted her ankle, so I asked the EMTs for an ice pack. One guy, Tom, kindly ran around the corner (to who knows where) to get one, while another guy, Eoin (pronounced “own”) came to chat with us and check on Megan.
Not only were these two gentlemen very helpful in Megan’s plight, but Megan and I agreed that Eoin was a darn good-looking and friendly man, who made the situation slightly less stressful. He even recommended a good fish & chips place.
Tom came with the ice (and even an ACE wrap), so Megan was able to elevate and ice her ankle on the 40 minute bus ride to Kinvara (couldn’t have been a better situation, given the circumstances!).
She had to buy a brace once we arrived, but she’s a trooper. We walked a few minutes over to Dunguaire Castle, where we were scheduled for a medieval banquet!
First, we toured. This thing is over 500 years old!
location of the banquet we would enjoy in the evening
super narrow at the top
Then I got antsy and did some weird things on the lawn, which definitely got in the way of some people’s photos from afar.
Megan: “I took a picture of you doing your weird squats over there.”
I was stretching my hips!
At 5:30, our banquet commenced. They served us mead at the beginning, which is honeyed wine. It was meh. I didn’t have much of it, but it was fun to sip it while listening to harp music.
We made a toast and headed upstairs to the banquet! Sorry for the bad quality pics to come; medieval times aren’t generous with the lighting, ya know?
Each dinner course was announced, and our meal/social time was interlaced with lovely singing pieces. The singers were so talented!
smoked salmon + capers and veggies
soda bread with butter (Megan’s favorite food of the whole banquet. It was really good bread.)
potato leek soup from a pitcher (my favorite food of the night, especially with the bread dipped in)
chicken in mushroom sauce + veggies and fried potatoes
apple slice with fresh cream
I had a single sip of red wine. I just don’t like alcohol apparently.
There was a longer performance after our meal was complete. Overall, Megan and I had a fun experience and were glad we did it. We were definitely the youngest ones there, but the couple sitting next to us was super friendly, and we loved talking with them!
So stuffed and so happy.
Our first Airbnb experience was GREAT! Our host, Valerie, was phenomenal. She even picked us up from the castle after I told her that Megan was injured. Her room for us was so clean and cozy, and the bathroom was AMAZING (because any step up from a dorm bathroom is amazing). Also, her dog is the happiest dog on earth.
she left us tea, water, and “buns”!!!
We slept well that night.
Valerie prepared a nice breakfast for us, consisting of brown bread (can’t get enough) with butter and jam + tea + cereal.
‘Twas hearty and filling for the journey back to Galway city. Valerie is the best; if you ever stay in Kinvara, go to her!!
Megan and I meandered around Galway city again once we got back there. We wanted to go to Mass at the Galway Cathedral at 12:30, but we had some time to kill. We visited the Spanish Arch, which was kinda underwhelming, but it’s old and historical!
What we really got excited for was this playground.
“living her best life”
Then we paid 50 cents to use the cathedral washroom before doing our church thing. Prayer, confession, photos, and Mass. The Galway Cathedral is just stunning!
After Mass, we walked to Brasserie on the Corner for lunch. There was a two-course meal deal for €18.95, which was fantastic. Especially because of…
THE SODA BREAD.
we’re slightly obsessed and vow to not eat anymore unless we are served it
I ordered the salmon with pea and bacon cream for my entree. The entrees came with potatoes two ways + steamed vegetables. Everything was so tasty!
I had to eat very slowly, because this stuff was rich. But the dessert compartment stayed open for this peanut butter parfait (not the kind of parfait we’re used to back home…parfait is more of a frozen mousse here, kinda like a semifreddo) with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.
This meal kept us full until almost 10 pm!
And so we just strolled some more until our bus ride back home. We saw a few churches and revisited Salthill to walk down the whole bar and feel the wind in our hair. A very Titanic moment.
what a precarious moment lol
"Optimism is the expectation that things — the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on — will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands...Let's live with hope.” ~ Henri Nowen #DublinMovesAndGrooves #Galway
We barely talked, except for the few times we starting singing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. We just wanted to soak in the views and the breeze.
Megan and I also had a weird obsession with the award plaques on restaurant fronts. We just wanted to touch all of them.
We’re adults. We travel on our own.
And now I’m back at the dorm, gearing up for our second week of classes. It’s funny, because finals are in less than a month. YAY.
But seriously, I am so grateful for this weekend in Galway with Megan and for the experiences I’ve had here in Ireland so far. God is good.
(All the time!)
So tell me:
Have you ever been to Galway?
Do you like Irish soda bread?
Have you ever used Airbnb?
Have you ever had an unfortunate experience, but somehow all the circumstances to deal with it were in place?
What did you do this weekend?