Land of the Mad Lupin Lovers

Ramblings from a geek

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Ireland part 3
Dorian
linda_lupos

Saturday July 11
A late morning for me (well, 9 o’clock) since I woke up with a dreadful cold! So yesterday’s sore throat hadn’t been because I’d drunk too little. Sad consequence of travelling from a heat wave in the Netherlands to 14 degrees and rain in Ireland (not to mention being on a plane and staying in a hostel). Thankfully I’d had a somewhat easy day planned.
My first order of business was to get a bus ticket to Galway, as that was where I’d be heading the next day. I could get a return ticket at the hostel counter. Pickup was at the other side of the Liffey. Easy peasy.

I then walked to the tram stop at Abbey Road (no, not the Beatles one) and took the tram to Suir Road – a trip of about twenty five minutes. A clear sign that my destination, Kilmainham Goal, was nowhere near the city centre! Even then, I had to walk ten-fifteen minutes to the Goal, and I already had a cold and the weather was humid-turning-to-rain... Blech. Fortunately I had brought my earphones and some music. :p


There was a queue for the museum, but I managed to arrive just before two touring buses arrived, so I didn’t have to wait that long. Kilmainhaim, a famous 18th century prison, is only open for guided tours, which are timed, but thankfully I didn’t have to wait an hour for my group to leave – only 45 minutes, much of which could be spend in the small museum about the history of Kilmainhaim and about prison reform in the 19th century. Quite interesting, really.
Our guide was called Peter. He led us through the prison corridors, telling us all about the history of the building and some famous people who were imprisoned here. It can’t have been nice – even in July it was cold and damp, and I don’t want to know what conditions must have been like during winter. Peter told us that in the older parts of the prison the windows had no glass, meaning no isolation at all, so prisoners would literally wake up in the morning with ice on their blankets. At least they would have been able to huddle together with their cell mates – Kilmainhaim was originally build for 500 people or so, but at its height (the Irish Famine) it housed nine thousand people! Including women and children, since many Irish figured it was easier to go to prison, where you’d get two meals a day, rather than starve in the streets.




The most famous bit of Kilmainhaim is the Victorian wing, which has also been used in films. It does look quite nice, having been build according to Victorian prison reform principles, with lots of light. Each prisoner had his own cell and would stay there for 23 hours a day. Although the cells were quite roomy... I think I’ll pass.






All the iron railings made it look almost like filigree.




Oh right, it's a prison...

The next stop was the execution site, where the leaders of the Easter Rising (and some of their family members, for added emphasis) were executed by the Brits. Very sobering to see and hear. And then quite weird to see a small bit sectioned off for use as a set for a tv show. :p





The black cross marks the spot where James Connolly was executed. He had been so badly injured during the Easter Rising that he was expected to die in a few days anyway, but the British so badly wanted to set an example that they loaded him in an ambulance, carted him in through the doors on the right, tied him to a chair on the marked spot since he couldn't stand upright in front of the firing squad, and shot him.
Needless to say, this didn't exactly endear them to the Irish...

Once outside (freedom!) I walked to the nearby bus stop as I didn’t want to walk all the way back to the tram stop. Unfortunately the bus didn’t go as far as Collins Barracks, my next destination. He did take me part of the way, but even so it was quite a walk, sniffling and blowing my nose along the way. I eventually passed a tram stop and did the last bit by tram. In hindsight I should have walked to Suir Road anyway... oh well. At least I more than deserved a cup of tea and some cake now!
Collins Barracks, a former military barracks (hence the name...), houses the Irish Museum of Applied Arts. A large part of the collection had to do with Irish military history. Not really my area of interest, so I had fairly quickly decided I’d seen enough of that. The exhibits ‘Curator’s choice’, with a selection of interesting artefacts selected by the museum’s curators, and ‘The Way We Wore’, about Irish fashion history, were much more my cup of tea. It was fun to see everyday objects, sometimes displayed in a setting the object would have been used in (a sitting room, for example). The fashion exhibit was of course my favourite. :p They had a Worth gown!


Whoo!

And an Irish revival gown from the early 20th century which looked more like a renaissance fair dress. The Irish were by then seriously trying to get rid of the British and drawing back to their own heritage out of patriotism.


After about an hour and a half I’d had enough. I went back to the tram stop, where the tram just pulled in – convenient. Sadly it was packed with Italian teens, quite annoying. I got off at Abbey Road, which was by now quite busy, since it was Saturday afternoon. Lots of shoppers. I added myself to their number and visited a few stores. One of them was Lush, where I tried a perfume called Death & Decay, which turned out disgustingly chemical on my skin. Figures that a perfume called Death & Decay would smell bad, but... ugh. :p
Back to the hostel after that, for half an hour of putting my feet up and knitting. At 18:00 I headed back into the city, finally using the Ha’penny Bridge (it wasn’t that special) to the Irish Film Institute.



The Ha'penny Bridge, so-called because back in Ye Olden Days you had to pay a half-penny to cross it.

They were playing Song of the Sea, an animated movie by the people who’d also made The Secret of Kells. I’d already seen the movie (let’s just say that the internet is a wonderful thing), but I wanted to see it on the big screen ánd support the Irish film industry. Funnily enough I was one of the younger people in the audience – most already had grey hair!
It must have been because I had a cold, but the movie made me tear up. On the big screen, you can see all the tiny details even better. The story is based on Irish myths and legends, especially that of the selkie. It felt really special to see it in Ireland, and I noticed some graphic elements I’d seen in the museum of archaeology and at Newgrange. Really great movie. Go watch it.
I walked back to the hostel through a crowded Temple Bar (Saturday evening...). Once back, I packed my suitcase, took a shower, then had an early night.
Galway tomorrow!


Sunday July 12
Another early morning – although considering that Ireland is an hour behind the Netherlands, it’s not that bad. I got up at 8, had breakfast, then packed the last few things in my suitcase. I said goodbye to my roommates (they were moving on as well), checked out and walked to the bus stop. My bus was leaving at 9:45. I didn’t want to miss it since the next one would be leaving at 10:45, so I’d set out at 9:25... and was of course much too early since it was only a five minute walk to the bus stop. Oh well, better too early than too late. The weather wasn’t exactly inspiring, cloudy with some drizzle. But I’d be spending two hours and a half on a bus so rain didn’t really matter.
The Dublin-Galway Citylink bus was a direct connection, meaning no stops in between and lots and lots of highway. Really boring. So I knit and listened to music and otherwise just got through the travel time.

I arrived in Galway at 12:15. My hostel was close to the bus station, very convenient. Less convenient was that I had to climb two stairs to get to my room – although the guy behind the reception had to deal with a broken foot so it could always be worse! The hostel was quite new, it seemed, with lots of white and bright orange. It was above a pub, so I hoped it wouldn’t get too noisy, especially as my bed was right next to a window. Oh well, the dangers of staying in an Irish city. :p Sadly the room didn’t have a bathroom en-suite, but I did have an outlet near my bed! At the foot end of course, but still two meters closer than in Dublin!
Since I’d arrived so early, I had the entire room for myself and could pick any bed I wanted. I took my time settling in and had just put my suitcase in its ‘cage’ when two roommates walked in, two Canadian girls in their early 20s. After packing my backpack for the day, I went downstairs again. I got a map of the city at the reception desk, then headed out.


My bed; the suitcase cage is underneath it.

Galway was crowded. Okay, it didn’t help that I was walking through the main street on a Sunday afternoon! Loads of tourists (big surprise) and loads of street artists. And of course loads of souvenir shops! Mainly knitwear, which was fun. I didn’t buy anything – feels a little silly to buy a sweater when you can knit them yourself. :p (Plus they were very expensive.) I also came across a craft market and a medieval church dedicated to St Nicholas.



An 800 year old pub! (Yes it says 1649 but the building itself is even older.)

A fifteen minute walk brought me to the end of the shopping street and near the Galway harbour. I had a cup of tea in a lovely little tea shop called Cupan Tae. The servers wore cute little aprons and they had mismatched cups and saucer sets, and my cup of blue flower Earl Gray came with an hourglass for the perfect steeping time! Drinking tea is Serious Business.




Since the tea shop was close to the famous Spanish Arch, I decided to take a look, since it’s recommended in all the tour guides. It was... a stupid arch in part of an old medieval wall. Whoopie. The harbour it was next to was quite nice though, with lots of people just lazing about.






The city museum was next to the Spanish Arch and it was free, so I decided to visit that, too. It was small but interesting. Turned out that Galway was an important trade city in the middle ages, and traded a lot with Spain, hence the name of the Arch. Apparently Christopher Columbus also visited Galway and was supposed to get his inspiration to sail to the New World here. Whether that’s true..?


The ceremonial cudgel and sword of the mayor of Galway.


A Galway hooker (no really, that's what it's called.)


... this seems a bit of an inconvenient superstition in Ireland...
(Note that it's in English and Gaelic!)

Once I’d seen everything, I walked back through High Street and Shop Street (gee I wonder why it’s called that? Haha) to the hostel. Along the way I passed an indoor shopping centre, which also served as a shortcut to the hostel. Which I how I stumbled on part of the city wall which had been incorporated into the modern shopping centre! Really nicely done.


Back at the hostel I turned out to have acquired five roommates, three Canadians and two Americans. All in their early 20s – I’m beginning to feel old! At the reception, I booked a tour to Connemara and to the Cliffs of Moher for tomorrow and the day after that. After that, I went out in search of food, which wasn’t as easy as it sounded – apparently the nearby pubs didn’t do pub grub, at least on Sunday. I ended up at an Italian restaurant. The other patrons were noticeable younger than me. Overall the atmosphere in Galway is much ‘younger’ and more... Irish than in Dublin.
After dinner I went back ‘home’ again. I spend the rest of the evening reading, and I booked a ticket for Tunes in the Church (got to love smartphones), a concert of Irish music in St Nicholas Collegiate Church for tomorrow evening.
Connemara tomorrow!
Tags: ,

  • 1
that they loaded him in an ambulance, carted him in through the doors on the right, tied him to a chair on the marked spot since he couldn't stand upright in front of the firing squad, and shot him.



... and that right there is one definition of evil. WTF. :(

And an Irish revival gown from the early 20th century which looked more like a renaissance fair dress. The Irish were by then seriously trying to get rid of the British and drawing back to their own heritage out of patriotism.

That is really interesting. I'd never known about that.


The hostel was quite new, it seemed, with lots of white and bright orange. It was above a pub, so I hoped it wouldn’t get too noisy, especially as my bed was right next to a window. Oh well, the dangers of staying in an Irish city. :p Sadly the room didn’t have a bathroom en-suite, but I did have an outlet near my bed! At the foot end of course, but still two meters closer than in Dublin!

I kind of like how... attic-like your hostel looks. But yes, I'm sure the window made it cold at night...



Actually, they even had to tie his head back because he couldn't keep it up and it obstructed their view of their aim: his heart...
And they also shot the younger brother of one of the others.
And one of them got to marry the evening before, then got shot at dawn the next day. :(

It was quite attic-like, yes! The window could fortunately close, so I had little trouble from the noise and the cold. :)

  • 1
?

Log in