Our First Walkabout in Galway, Ireland

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Our first walkabout in Galway. With no rain in the forecast until later in the afternoon we headed out for our first walkabout in Galway this morning. Our first stop was downstairs to checkout the day tours, prices and availability.

Another advantage of visiting places offseason is the availability of local tours—usually one day in advance and you’re good to go. All-day trips to the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara are both €30 pp. The trip to the Aran Islands is €34.

We’ll probably book the Cliffs of Moher tomorrow (or Sunday) for a Monday excursion. Second will be the Aran Islands followed up by Connemara. We’re staying in Galway for two weeks so we have plenty of time. Our walk around town lasted two hours and we covered quite a bit of territory and never got really lost (we’re not always so lucky). We first visited Eyre Square about a block away from our hostel Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel. The square is home to two important sculptures: *Pádraic Ó’ Conaire (Patrick O’Connor) and the Galway Hooker.

Pádraic Ó’ Conaire Statue – Eyre Square in Galway

Galway Hooker Fountain – Eyre Square in Galway

*After a prolonged saga, a replica of the original statue of Pádraic Ó’ Conaire is to return to Eyre Square following an eleven year absence. The original statue of the famed Irish literary giant dominated the top of the Square since it was unveiled by Eamon de Valera in 1935. The sculpture was a top attraction for visitors to Galway, many of whom had their photograph taken alongside the writer. The other sculpture is the Galway Hooker and it’s not a lady of ill-repute, a Hooker is a traditional Irish fishing boat. The tall bronze triangles symbolically represent the sails of a Hooker. 

Typical Boutique Shop – Centre City in Galway

Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas – Galway

For the rest of the morning we strolled, on cobblestone streets, through Centre City with its myriad restaurants, coffee houses and shopping boutiques. Eventually we found the River Corrib (Irish: Abhainn na Gaillimhe) and then crossed the Salmon Weir Bridge (Constructed in 1818) to the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas (Irish: Ard-Eaglais Mhaighdean na Deastógála agus Naomh Nioclás) constructed from 1958 to 1965 (it looks really old but is in fact a contemporary structure). The morning was overcast but the rain held off as we continued our walk.

Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas – Galway

Centre City Street – Galway

Centre City isn’t all that large and everything outside of it looked pretty commercial. Galway is actually a very small city with a 2016 population of only 79,934 (including suburbs). Precisely at noon the clouds started to spritz us with raindrops so we headed back to the hostel. We cooled our jets back in our room for a couple of hours, I processed my morning’s photos and Joel was doing something on his computer. At 3 p.m. we headed over to Café Express where we had lunch yesterday and grabbed a delicious burger, fries and a pint (16 ounces) of Galway Hooker beer.

Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel – Galway

Cafe Express – Galway

Field Notes: The skies did not cooperate today. They were very overcast (grey and blown-out) and not very interesting. By noon it started to rain and remained rather bleak for the rest of the day. Great walking weather but not so great for photography. Skies can make or break a photo. Only the first two photos show any blue sky at all and it didn’t last. I was shooting with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full-frame DSLR and Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM ultra wide-angle zoom lens (it’s a great lens and I find myself using it more and more here in Ireland). SFD

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