…in which we travel from Canada to Ireland, and start exploring.
Out from Montreal at 8PM on Wednesday evening, to Toronto, then an 11PM flight out of Toronto to Dublin. This brings us into Dublin on Thursday morning at 10:40AM local time.
Conclusion #1: sleeping on an airplane is uncomfortable. At least in economy class. But until I win Lotto Max, it’ll have to do.
Once we land in Dublin, we zoom through immigration (no, seriously – Zoom!), pick up our bags, and head for the Hertz shuttle that will take us to our rental car.
Oh, boy. Driving on the “passenger side”, and on the wrong side of the road, too!! This is all new to me, and I’m a little nervous. I think, “Nothing that a little whisky won’t help”, but I don’t have any on me at the moment. Sigh.
Turns out, it’s not so bad, and I quickly adjust to it. Which is good, ’cause we’ve got a 2-hour drive from Dublin to Galway, straight west from the airport.
I always thought parking in Montreal was a pain in the butt; as it turns out, easiest thing in the world compared to parking in Galway!! Oy! Small town, lots of cars, no parking spaces. We contact the guy that we’ve rented to room from, and he meets us at a small plaza where I’ve managed to park the car. We take the suitcases to his place, and then he gives me directions for some parking.
One of the “objectives” with staying in Galway was to experience a typical, small Irish city, with all of its hustle and bustle, pubs, etc. Well – we got it right! Our place is right smack in the middle of the most touristic, pub-infested part of town!! Seriously – I think there’s a pub every 100 feet or so! Guinness. Irish Whisky. Pub food.
Like I’ve died and gone to heaven!
We start at a small pub that’s just kiddy-corner from our place; can’t pronounce the name, but here it is:
Following a refreshing pint of Guinness, we head out on foot to walk around the neighbourhood:
After a short walk around, we head back to our room to unpack a little. We both stumble on the bed out of travel exhaustion and end up taking a short nap.
We head out again, wandering some more around the neighbourhood. We pass Garavan’s Bar, which boasts the widest selection of Irish Whiskies, as well as “Whisky Tasting Platters”. Not intrigued at all, we head inside, where we meet Darren, the assistant manager. We order two of the platter, each consisting of 3 whiskies. They come with tasting notes, and Darren takes the time to go over each whisky. We taste each one slowly, trying to see if we can distinguish all of the aromas. Meh. We’re not so good at it, but it’s fun to taste the different styles of whisky. There are some that we definitely like more than others.
Darren comes back to see how we’re doing, and spends some time talking to us. I mention to him that I like all the nooks and crannies in the pubs, very quiet, private sections where you could chat with your friends. He points out that in most of the older pubs, there is a section at the front that is bigger. “Back in the days,” he explains, “women weren’t allowed in to drink. Their husbands would come in for a pint and some whisky, but the women would all gather and sit at the front, chatting and waiting for their husbands. And the priest had to sit with them, because he wasn’t allowed to drink, either.”
“This was not so long ago, either; we’re talking about the 60’s, here. This is why you’ll also notice that in most of these pubs the ladies’ room is on another floor, because the pubs were not built with women in mind.”
Darren is from Dublin, and has been working in Galway for over a year and a half.
“Galway is referred to in Ireland as ‘The Graveyard of Ambition’,” he tells us. We laugh and ask why.
“Well,” he goes on, “let’s say you’re a chef and you decide to come to Ireland, and the only job you find is 2nd chef here in Galway. You start working, and eventually get an offer as a chef in Dublin. But most people like Galway so much and the lifestyle, here, that they’d prefer passing up the offer and remain here as 2nd chef. The city folk then assume that there is a lack of ambition!”
I get it. I love the small-city vibe of the place; it’s alive with Life, energy, and….Guinness!
After several more whiskies, we are hungry, again, so we look for a pub with food; we come across The Dail Bar. They have chicken wings. That’s good. That’s exactly what I’m in the mood for!!
Wings, and another Guinness. (Wings were awesome!)
Kinda cool – when we leave Dail, we notice that it is literally across the road from our place!!
Tired, now, so heading to bed. More adventures tomorrow.