29 Sep

Galway is a city that I had absolutely no preconceptions about, so last weekend, when we had the privilege of going, I was excited about what I would see when I first went. Galway is almost a straight-shot west from Dublin. The bus ride, about three hours, was during dusk and was an utterly beautiful view.

Staying in a hostel for the first time is a real experience. You share a room with three to five other people as well as a single bathroom. Being the younger child of only two, I thought that sharing a room with one other person was difficult, however Snoozles proved me wrong. Regardless, staying in the hostel is an experience I don’t regret.

Fortunately, the weather in Ireland has been the best in years, and on our multiple excursions, we have had amazing weather. On the first day in Galway, while one group went to the Cliffs of Moher, my group went to the Aran Islands, Inis Mor. We took a 45 minute ferry ride to a small, quaint sea-side town. There were small cafes and restaurant as well as a large wool-sweater store for which the Aran Islands are famous. A few of us had the chance to start the hike early, so we took it. I really am not accustomed to hiking. There are not many hiking places in Atlanta, Georgia, but the more hiking we do, the better I get at it. We arrived at the cliffs and the view was absolutely phenomenal. I had never seen anything like that view in my entire lifetime. There was silence as the each of us took the time to take in what we were looking at. We then proceeded to take pictures of people falling off of the cliffs, pretending of course. We returned to the ferry (with a new wool sweater!) and from all of the excitement, passed out with fatigue on the way back. Returning to the hostel, we stopped at and learned about fairy circles – Hawthorne trees that are surrounded by rocks, from what I understand. You walk clockwise around the Hawthorne tree while making a wish. It all seems very mysterious to me how these legends come about.


The next day we were on our way to the Cliffs of Moher, but first we stopped at the Ailwee Caves. These caves are large and vast (except for when people bumped their heads on the low ceiling).  There are stalagmites and stalactites everywhere, and they have been forming for hundreds of years. At one point, our tour guide turned off all of the lights. It was so dark, no one could even see their hands in front of their faces. After lunch, we went off in search of the cliffs. Unfortunately on this day, our good luck had run out as the weather was so foggy, it was difficult to see more than ten feet in front of you. Regardless, we hiked forward and were rewarded with an amazing, though limited, view off of the cliffs. The view and height at which we were at were phenomenal and terrifying.


The next day we had the morning to roam around, and what I found was a city filled with lively people and lively places to see. Everyone was awake and ready to go see their friends, open their stores, or grab a bite to eat. We found a river that runs through Galway, and the way everything seemed to move around it was stunning.


Overall, the trip to Galway took my breath away with the amazing sites and the amazing liveliness that they all beheld. While Dublin is still my favorite, I’m happy to have experienced another part of Ireland and to have been able to see all of these sites that many people never even dream of experiencing in their lifetime. 

Amanda Duong


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