Monday, July 17, 2006

Galway Holiday

On Tuesday morning Lou and I packed the car and headed off to Letterkenny. We were staying for one night at a hostel as a stop-gap between there and Galway and to meet up with Lou's classmates from a course they graduated from last year. It was decidedly overcast as we pitched the tent and any fear of rain soon evaporated [excuse the pun] and the sun came out to play. We picked up a disposable BBQ and chowed down on some burgers, chicken wings and monstrous sized ribs which were ultimately too big for the tiny grill but it filled the hole and readied the stomach for a night on the town.

We met up at a pub called McGinley's which was dead as doornails when we arrived at 8pm but filled up quickly as the Guinness came thick and fast. After a couple of hours lining the liver we moved to a club next door, the name I cannot recall and finished up the night listening to a god-awful girl-group murder some tunes and watch Lou's friend Kathy repeatedly fall over which provided no end of entertainment.

On the way home we stopped at a Chinese for some munchies and I ate the worst gravy chip in existence. If I find out the name of the Chinese I will name and shame it.

Awakening the next morning without too many cobwebs, I set up the stove and fired some breakfast in a can - Mmmmm. After packing up the tent we were on our way to Galway. We left Donegal under grey skies and looming rain but four hours later it was bright blue sky and warm coastal breezes greeting us as we set up base for 2 nights in Salthill. We spent the afternoon and early evening chilling out with a few beers from the cooler and walking along the esplanade towards the town centre. It was idyllic and everything a holiday should be.

When dusk arrived and a chill set in, we moved inside to watch Under Suspicion on the portable DVD player Lou had bought for my birthday. I was looking forward to it because it Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman in a supposed tense thriller and initially it was ticking all the boxes but ended up going nowhere fast and finished abruptly without any firm conclusion leaving us feeling confused and cheated so it gets 2.5/5 for me on this one. Unfortunately the viewing experience was constantly interrupted by our neighbours who had the worst taste in music and played MOR cheesy pop such as Ronan Keating for two hours sitting in their car. Hello, you're supposed to be CAMPING! I occasionally hope there's a music heaven and fans of such ear cancer will spend an eternity listening to 200bpm elevator tunes as punishment for their crimes against music.

The next day we made our way into Galway City which has a truly awful traffic system something akin to Sligo and a pain for any driver especially when you're forced to use their stupid roundabout system. Naturally all the roads are under construction thanks to the seemingly endless EU grants that Ireland receives which adds to the trauma.
Nevertheless it was another beautiful day and after taking a quick walk around some of the shops with Lou scoring an Ireland shirt for the rugby, we grabbed some seats outside a bar and
sipped on a well deserved cold beer. Here's the view from my seat.

There was another clothes shop across the road and I picked up an Ireland shirt myself as I didn't want to be left out. We took a long walk up by Eyrne Square and down to the harbour and by this time we were ready for lunch. I can't remember the name of the place but I had a delicious vegetarian paninni and would certainly recommend the restaurant. After another walk through the streets and checking out some buskers, clowns and those idiots decked head-to-toe in silver paint standing still, we made our way back to the multi-storey and drove back to the campsite for some late afternoon relaxing.

In the evening, we walked along the sea front into town and enjoyed a nice outside pint at one of the many pubs. The place reminded me of a larger far less tacky version of Newcastle. There was a small fun fair and amusement arcade which we ventured into for couple games of pool. There's nothing like a few frames to work up a hunger and we found a nice little café/restaurant where we tucked into some beautiful cod and chips before finishing up in a pub for a long pint before walking back to the tent for another flick, this time Almost Famous which is a great film worth buying - 4.5/5 - and then to sleep.

It was another beautiful day as we made our long journey back towards Belfast and neither of us wanted to leave.


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