August 28, 2011
There is always a point in my travels where I don’t want them to end. It’s easy for me to grow accustomed to my new way of living and I feel very comfortable as a nomadic being. I love throwing my backpack on in the morning and heading out to a new place I’ve never been. I woke up feeling a bit sad that my trip was starting to wind down and I would soon be leaving Ireland and returning to New York.
Shuffling my way into the kitchen at Rainbow Hostel, I was greeted by our very round and optimistic hostel-mate from Atlanta who was traveling and writing for his college studies abroad course. Rainbow Hostel has fresh baked scones and freshly made coffee for you every morning and this made my morning. Sad to leave Doolin but excited to start up the Irish coast again, we headed out of Doolin and toward Galway.
Giving into Boozy’s complete fascination with what Phunner and I deemed, “Old stone shit,” we stopped at several places along the way that fit the bill. I was relieved to stop at places for two reasons: #1 – I like to look at old shit, too (just not all day) and #2 – Boozy’s driving was ridiculously scary. From the backseat, I caught glimpses of Irish coast as I prayed and hoped we didn’t swerve into a car or please for the mother of God just slow down when you go into a blind corner so you don’t have to slam on your breaks and swerve into side brush. So when we stopped at Poulnabrone, I was grateful for some fresh air and that we had made it to another destination.
Poulnabrone (meaning of the word is literally “hole of the sorrows) is probably one of the most photographed ancient monuments in Ireland. This tomb was in use during the Neolithic period between 3,800 – 3,600 BC, well before the pyramids were built. Originally, the burials were at a different location and were moved to Poulnabrone at about 3,000 BC. The first excavation of Poulnabrone Dolmen was in 1986 and then again in 1988. Over 30 bodies were found buried here.Walking around the stone slabs, you definitely felt some ancient spirits and the heavy air of quiet and death.
This place was definitely a very cool place to visit but we, of course, stayed and lollygagged around waiting for Boozy so Phunner and I played around on the rocks and hopped to and fro along the rock surface while waiting for Boozy to finish his placard sign reading. We hopped back into the car and headed out on the road again.
By the time we got to Dunguaire Castle my stomach was eating itself. I was starving, terrified, and ready for some food and a nap. I also was about to piss my pants. This did not deter me from checking out Dunguaire. It’s a real, full-fledged Irish castle. Dunguaire Castle was built in the 7th-century during the stronghold of Guaire, the King of Connaught, for centuries. There were no “free” bathrooms at the Castle and we didn’t want to pay to see the whole thing so we walked around the courtyard while Boozy attempted to find a “secret way” in. Unsuccessful, he came back around the castle and we headed out on the road again.
We made it to Galway (by some God given grace because Boozy’s driving was driving me insane) and we checked around at a few different hostels to find the best price. Turns out, Snoozles Hostel is your best bet. For 18.50 euro per night and a 10 euro parking for 24 hours, we were home, sweet home complete with a free breakfast and free wi-fi. There was a bright, large kitchen that I decided would be perfect for making our evening meal.
After securing our room, we headed out to explore Galway. Boozy immediately found an old castle with…placards. Sigh. I gave Phunner the stink eye and a look of, “let’s drop this guy for a little while…” because we obviously had different agendas. I took the excuse of needing money exchanged to head to the bank while Boozy continued to read his placards.
Coming out of the bank Phunner spotted Boozy down the street and waved him over. I screamed, “What are you doing?!?” and then shut my mouth (no need to embarrass myself…). Boozy walked over and after a few minutes of trying to make the “let’s check out Galway” and the “let’s read placards and find old stone shit” work for the both of us, it was clear that we needed to separate.
Phunner and I took off to explore Galway and Boozy took off to explore old churches. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and we started exploring Galway on foot.
I love Galways little streets and alleyways. It was fun to get lost in some of the back streets while looking at shops and restaurants.
We followed the scent of amazing pastries and ended up at the Oven Door Bakery on Middle Street. Amazing items to choose from, we picked up a berry tart pie for 2.50 euro for our after dinner dessert. For a snack on the road, we picked up a brown fruit scone and tea for another 2.50 euro. For 5 euro, it was an amazing steal! The scone was warm and tasty with a fluffy interior and a nice crispy exterior… and the tart, later on that evening, was a perfect dessert.
With food on the brain and economical choices a priority, we stopped at Centra Supermarket and picked up vegetables, chicken filets, pasta and sauce for dinner back at the hostel for 9.89 euro. Cheapest dinner yet! Boozy
donated some Rosie’s Wood Cider and we had a great time eating and laughing together. Much needed after some of the stresses of traveling together.
We ended the evening at Murphy’s bar which, ironically, had Murphy’s law poster smacked up on the wall. We watched a soccer game between Villanova and Barcelona while all of us started to feel a little under the weather. Not feeling like the party animals that we thought we were, we came back to our hostel and met our two female roommates from Germany whom we wished a great night out in Galway then we headed to sleep!