Trip To Galway – Alex Dfouni

8 Oct

Growing up within a close proximity to New York City, I have never been much of nature-lover. The trip with N.U.in to Galway surprised me in that aspect to say the least. The actual drive toward Galway from Dublin confirmed the rumors that claim Ireland is full of cattle and grasslands – both of which were amazing sights to an urban-raised person such as myself. When we arrived in Galway itself, it felt like a tighter-knit Dublin; the comfort of being in a city returned. Even more so, Galway was smaller. Having the city center near the hostel in which we stayed for the weekend was extremely convenient. Compared to the week it took me to get to know my way around Dublin, I was able to feel right at home in Galway after a single night.

The next morning we immediately set off on our coach bus toward the dock in which we would board a ferry toward the Aran Islands. I can count the number of times that I have rode a ferry on one hand so the ride to the Islands was a thrill in itself for me personally. Upon taking in the breathtaking scenery whilst arriving on the islands, I instantly noticed how undeveloped the civilization was. In respect to the total population of 900 people, each little town (if they could even qualify as that) had 3 businesses at most – all very friendly to the common tourist. The majority of our exploration of the island was in the form of a tour only lasting several hours. The group visited the island cemetery, the one graveyward in which every citizen on the island was buried – a very eerie feeling. Plenty of history is left behind, scattered throughout the islands in the forms of ruins, potato plantations, and monasteries. Toward the end of the tour, we had the pleasure of visiting the Fort of Dun Aonghasa – the cliffs within the fort were the icing on the cake to an amazing and unique experience.

The agenda for our second morning in Galway had an equally thrilling destination in store for us – the Cliffs of Moher. On the way to the cliffs, our culturally enriched tour guide recommended stopping at the Aillwee Cave. Even more exciting, this was the first cave that I had been into, personally. As we explored the dark, wet path with a guide, bats could be seen in the distance flying around near the roof of the cave – yes, I instantly threw my hood on. Unfortunately the weather on our second day in Galway was the foggiest weather that I had experienced as far back as I could remember. Once we arrived at the cliffs themselves, it was tricky finding vantage points in which we could see the water crashing into the sharp rocks below the cliffs. However once I finally found the courage to look over the edge themselves my body was instantly numbed with adrenaline. I can still close my eyes and see the tremendous drop below myself as my head peered over the edge of the cliffs.

Galway was definitely a surprising experience for me overall. Although I had expected to be disappointed by losing a weekend in Dublin, I believe that without the memories that I have in Galway now my experience in Ireland would not nearly be as authentic. The biggest surprise of all was my love for the amazing scenery – something that I had never cared for back home. This first visit to Galway, Ireland will definitely not be my last.

 

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