Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Music of Galway, "It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive"


Our first bad weather came in Galway, however, that gave us a chance to experience the music, pubs, and people of this wonderful city. Whether it be the Traditional Irish music at Cranes Bar, the buskers (talented musicians and singers on the streets), or world music of the Fringe Festival at the University, Galway is a musical city.

 Galway has the touristy Latin Quarter, with dozens of pubs and its requisite youthful inebriation and noise, but it blends in well with the joyful love of music and living. Bruce Springsteen's lyric in the post title fits nicely here. 

I was invited up for a rendition of "Thunder Road" at a pub,
 (did ok) and for the 4th of July went to a Springsteen Tribute Band. The Springsteens sounded great and it was a real pleasure to hear our favorite songs with the Irish who love Bruce. 
We closed down several pubs at 3 AM.  We were glad it was raining so we could sleep in.

BINGO, or finding the Galway  "Pot O Gold"

We  decided to see what an Irish Bingo Hall was like and we ended up each winning 2 times. $$ :-)

The odd thing here is they don't shout out BINGO!, they just say "check" for someone to check their numbers to see if they won.  Perhaps the Irish reticence for boasting makes it a more humble winning. Not Us, we BINGO!! FOUR TIMES, I think they were glad we are not regulars. We of course went to a pub and celebrated our Irish Luck and returned the euros to the local economy.

 An oft repeated quote about the Irish, "there are no strangers, just friends we haven't met yet" (Yeats and several others).  It is very much the feeling of how friendly and nice the Irish can be. Like many of you reading this, we now have our "met some locals in a pub, and before long we were singing and dancing and rounds of drinks being ordered, and stories and laughter filled the night" experience.  A wonderful night. This is not to mention the number of times directions were asked, meals were ordered, or conversations started whereby we felt the warm smile, the lovely lilting kindness in a voice, a lyrical turn of phrase, that can only bring a smile to your face.  Even the bleeting sheep seem to be welcoming us. "Happy Out"


If I had to live in Ireland, I would choose Galway - so I can live in South Park...

...not really, I just found it vibrant and relaxing.  The town is close to the national parks and just a few hours into Dublin... it was so relaxing, I went back through my pictures and didn't find many to share - or maybe we just spent way too much time in the pubs...
...There are sand beaches and salmon fishing in town - not that I am a fisherman - but those men sure look relaxed.  Fresh salmon was plentiful in all the restaurants - so my omega 3 requirements have been filled for the rest of the year.

Galway is known for it's organic food and since it is on the River Corrib which leads out to the Atlantic - there is plenty of seafood available, especially salmon, and the fresh Atlantic Salmon is probably the best I have ever eaten (no salmon farms here)  Besides seafood we ate herds of lamb.  We celebrated Mandy's birthday dinner here with lamb 3 ways (bottom right).  John Dory(bottom left) was delectable!   The middle picture with the fries is fresh cod au gratin with broccoli - that richness was worth every kilo I gained that night!

How to make a perfect Irish Coffee by Killian at the Pins Bar and Bistro Restaurant.
(Of course I already knew how - but what the heck, he's cute and I love that Irish accent.)
1)  Warm up the glass with hot water  2) add a shot of coffee  3) add a shot of your favorite whisky  4) spoon of brown sugar  5)  add hot water  6)  top off with whipped cream and  a few coffee beans  VOILA!
Next stop Dublin!