Travelogue: Ireland – Galway

July 2022
Where We Stayed: The Harbour Hotel

The first official day of our tour was a visit to Galway, in western Ireland.  It only took 3 hours to get from Dublin all the way to Galway on the other side of the country.  This is a strange concept for Americans, as you can’t even fly by plane from one coast of the US to another in 3 hours.  Anyway, a few interesting points about Galway…

Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the town became ruled by a group of fourteen merchant families—each taking it in turn to assume Mayoral duties. The merchant family names were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, Font, French, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerrett. Flags in honor of these names fly in the town square to this day.

The Galway area is also famous for the Claddagh ring — which is used a both a friendship and wedding ring. This traditional design consists of two clasped hands holding a crowned heart, and symbolizes love, friendship and loyalty.

St. Nicholas Church was founded in 1320. Local legend states that Christopher Columbus worshipped there when he visited the city in 1477.

Irish, also known as Gaelic, is the primary language of Galway.  And Galway sits in County Galway.  There are 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland — and the word “County” always comes before the county name. Additionally, each county has official colors.  I wish it was like this in the United States — how fun, right? County Galway’s colors are maroon and white.

ALSO. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this until now.  We happened to be in Ireland when the all-Ireland Gaelic Football championship game was played.  It was explained to us that this is like the Super Bowl for Ireland (holy cow). The big game was between County Galway and County Kerry — and County Kerry won.  So it was a wee bit sad to be in Galway the day after the big game — a lot of sad faces roaming around.

All in all, Galway wasn’t my favorite — there was just something about the vibe that I didn’t love. And I know that makes me sound like the total hippie that I am not.

Me… snoozing hard on the bus.
See all the maroon and white flags?!
It was CROWDED. The big game no doubt had something to do with that.
Horrible photo but hey, I liked the colors.
Sean, our angel of a tour guide. Seriously, he was great.
I was continually overwhelmed with how cute everything was.
Even the electrical boxes are cute.
Mike loves old churches, so we had to visit this one!
The overwhelming support for Ukraine was so wonderful to see.
We just don’t have buildings that look like that in the US.. the BRIGHT colors are so delightful.
We stayed at the Harbour Hotel. It was… alright.
Twin beds made us LOL.