Galway is an amazing cosmopolitan city with lots to do and see!
All I knew of Galway was the famous song Galway Girl by Steve Earle (an re-recorded by Ed Sheeran). Needless to say, that didn’t really help me much. So, we went out to explore the city. Since it is the sixth largest city in Ireland and home to a major university, we had high expectations. Galway did not disappoint!
The city is very cosmopolitan. The nice lady at the visitor center told us that 1 in 4 city residents were not Irish. The well-regarded university, ocean port, beautiful surroundings, mild climate, and plethora of shops and pubs draws people from all over the world. We could hear numerous languages as we walked around the city.
Probably the busiest place is Eyre Square in the heart of Galway. We found many interesting shops and eateries. There were also several talented street performers entertaining the crowds. We worked up quite an appetite and decided to find a good pub. Mish found out that today was the Hurling Championship and, coincidentally, one of the teams playing was from Galway.
If you do not know what hurling is, your not alone. This unique sport is almost exclusively played in Ireland. It is of Gaelic origin and dates back to over 4,000 years. That makes the game older than Ireland itself! The sport can be traced to the Celts and has prehistoric origins even. The best way I can describe the game is that it is a mix of lacrosse, rugby, and quidditch. The main difference is that those sports are safer.
Hurling is fast, furious, and dangerous. We sat in a pub and watched the match while we ate and drank. A very nice older gentleman sitting next to me patiently explained the game to us. I had to ask many questions because the game is like nothing I have ever seen. He told me that when he played as a young man players didn’t wear helmets. He got a shattered eye socket one time from an errant silotar (that’s the hard ball you use). Another time he got a hurley (that’s the stick players use to hit the silotar and each other) in the throat. And they play this game why?
I’ll admit, it was loads of fun! We rooted for Galway and toasted their victory. Back out on the street people were still out walking around and socializing. The lights came on and the city took on an even prettier look. Galway is definitely worth a visit when you are on the west coast of Ireland.