Galway Lovin’ (Elizabeth Zona)

30 Sep

This past weekend the NUin program took on Galway, Ireland. This was a trip that I was especially looking forward to. When I thought of Ireland before I visited it, I envisioned green fields strewn with cattle and sheep, as far as the eyes could see. SInce we had only really Dublin up to that point, I was thrilled to finally be able to experience stereotypical Ireland. During the three hour bus ride that evening, we could literally see the transition from the urbanized city center to the enchanting countryside we have all grown to love in films and stories. 988708_10151889595783501_740124037_nBuildings began to get smaller and further apart; farm animal sightings increased while human sightings decreased; and everything was a richer shade of green than I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

My first impression of Galway city center was definitely a good one. Not only was it a lot smaller than Dublin, it was a lot easier manage as well. My biggest issue in Dublin so far is getting lost, but in Galway we found that everything we could ever need was along one long street which was very similar to Grafton Street. It still had the Dublin feel to it, being filled with tourist shops and street performers, but you could always tell that you weren’t in the real city anymore. We awoke the first morning in our hostel, and immediately set out  on 40 minute ferry ride to the Aran Islands. The scenery was more than I could ever hope for, complete with quaint little towns and pastures just as I had expected. What I hadn’t expected was all the ruins of churches and monasteries which we also passed on our way. The cemetery we visited on our way to the cliffs was not something I expected either. Everything from the architecture of the church on its grounds, to the designs of the gravestones told the story of the culture of the island. The cliffs were my favorite part, on which we visited the Fort of Dún Aonghasa. Although the lack of railings or blockades from the edge of the cliff was daunting at first, the view was definitely worth the risk. I felt like I was on the scene of a movie where some epic battle was about to take 1229964_10151889574928501_1076223220_nplace; a cliff face literally vertical from the sharp rocks and crashing waves below was absolutely breathtaking (not to mention all the walking we did to make it to the top, that was definitely breathtaking as well).

On the second day our destination was the Cliffs of Moher, though we made a few stops along the way. In Ballyvaughan we saw the Aillwee Cave, in Clare we stopped at Burren and at Doolin we stopped at a fairy circle. Although it was extremely foggy when we finally reached the Cliffs, it was still incredibly easy to tell just how majestic they were. The cliffs were definitely more of a tourist attraction than the other places we visited in Galway. There were droves of people just like us piling on and off of tour buses and vans, although they must have all been as sad as we were at a lack of view.

Our trip to Galway is something that I will always remember. There’s just something about climbing cliffs and visiting graveyards that really brings a group of people together. More so than that, I was able to experience the kind of Ireland that I’ve been hoping to visit for many years now. Galway, its been real, I hope I can return one day if my future travels ever take me back in your direction.

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