Last Saturday I had to take an unplanned daytrip into Galway. The reason was that I needed passport photos to renew my driving licence, but alas living on an island that has no photo booth (seriously note to self – get photo booth, make a fortune) this warranted a trip to the mainland. Taking a daytrip into Galway on a Saturday from the island is not like nipping into town to do a bit of shopping if you happen to already live in a city! It involves planning.Babysitters, food plans, flight bookings or boat tickets, bus transfers, time constraints, bringing lots and lots of bags or better still a trolley, wearing good comfortable shoes, and having a well charged phone for important phonecalls about any impending incremental weather or how to cook the pasta for the children. You know, the important stuff! And sometimes, truth be known, its just a hassle. Seriously. All that for passport photos! So as I sat on the plane and then on the bus, I thought about all the things I could have been doing at home. But as I sat drinking my cappuchino in the Eyre Square shopping centre just after arriving, I came to the realisation that for the first time in FOREVER, I actually had nothing to actually DO in Galway. Apart from getting my mugshots, I had no other agenda. I didn’t have doctors appointments, I didn’t have to rush around trying to do a million things in the limited time I had. I also didn’t have a baby, either with me or in me for the first time in about 4 years. I had time, me time, and a good chunk of it. And let me tell you, if this is ever the case, then there is no better place to be than Galway!
From the buskers all along Shop Street, right down to the Saturday market which is truly a haven for foodies, Galway just explodes with experiences and emotions. The city has a life of its own. It is full of history. Its poetic. The old fashioned tea shops, the little antique corners, the old pubs, with even older faces sipping coffee and Guinness outside them, the artisan bakeries and the heady aromas from the many restaurants all lend themselves to making Shop Street a feast for the senses.
So I embraced it all. I stopped to listen to the music. I laughed at the entertainer, dressed like a dog lying on a box, that growled and woofed and howled as people passed. I spent time in the market, smelling all the organic herbs and touching vegetables whilst wondering if my garden would ever produce such goodness. I bought comfrey plants. I bought smelly cheese at Sheridans, the most amazing cheesemongers EVER. I drank some tea.I stocked up on all my health food.And not forgetting a few little presents for my babies. Browsing a charity shop I hit the jackpot – a double Foxford blanket with blue edging – for €10!!!! (I LOVE Foxford blankets. They remind me of bygone days! Simple days. Big heavy wool blankets for warmth.) Lunch at Milano’s pizza restaurant was much anticipated and I savoured every bite. A little glass of wine made it feel special, and a beautiful mint tea finished it off nicely. Funnily I never feel odd having a meal by myself in Milano’s. I feel almost cool! But thats what happens to you when you visit Galway, its makes you feel like you belong, like you’ve all the time in the world even when you don’t, and even though I hail from Dublin, I think there may be a bit of a Galway girl within me.