Remember: Hookers and lots of craic make for an adventurous weekend in Galway! (I’ll explain what I mean by hooker shortly). My housemates and I, plus an adopted member of our family, planned two nights to the West coast of Ireland early this September. What a great way to bond and get to know each other! Our family unit consists of 2 Australians; one from the ‘bad side’ and one from the ‘good side,’ – already you can imagine the friendly disputes and banter that go on between them. A French Canadian and Californian consist of the other half of the pod. For this trip, we adopted a German lad to come along as well. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a diverse group of international friends. I imagined living in a house full of Irish students! At any rate, planning a trip with my multi-cultural family proved to be a learning experience because we knew little about Ireland.
First stop – Nimmo’s Hostel. Right in the middle of medieval Galway city. In fact, we could not have been closer. My housemates can attest to the screaming loud pubs right outside our bedroom window. If you plan on sleeping while on your travels, try to find a hostel a few blocks away from the nightlife. Indeed, once the rock bands stop playing at 2 am and the drunkards stagger home by 4, be prepared for a half-hour of sleep before the street-cleaners rumble by with their heavy trucks. The crunch of broken beer bottles will soon disappear, and you’ll be ready for your day at 8 sharp!
On to the Cliff’s of Moher we went. The tour was absolutely brilliant. Our Galway guide, Gary, spoke non-stop as he took us through the Burren, past ‘The Golden Collar,’ down through Doolin, and up to the Cliffs. Every so often he would let us off at different sites, like at the Dungaire Castle – a 16th Century tower house – for about 15 minutes. To ensure promptitude, he threatened us that if we were even 1 minute late, we would be forced to sing and dance for the whole bus. Everyone was on time!
Care for seafood chowder? Let me tell you the best place to order a piping hot bowl of Irish chowder! O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin (where Gary the driver dropped us off for lunch before the Cliffs), served up a creamy bowl filled with chunks of prawns, salmon, cod, and mussels. On the side, scrumptious brown bread and butter waited to be dipped in the thick sea of heaven. I almost forgot about our next destination!
Ah yes, hookers. While on our drive to the Cliffs of Moher, Gary pointed out some Galway Hookers floating in the water. These unique fishing boats have a jet-black hull and dark red sails. The boat is so named because of the way fishermen caught fish. Long lines with baited hooks dragged through the water to catch the prey. I was stoked to learn about these boats, as I come from a maritime background.
Gary the guide got us safely to the Cliffs of Moher after lunch. My housemates and I trekked along the cliffs, taking in our luck for having such a sunny, clear day. The sights were breath-taking and heart-pounding at the same time. One wrong move and over the edge you could go. “I am about to have a heart attack,” exclaimed one young man, who was watching out for 4 children running around the cliffs.
Safe and sound, we made it back to our new home on the UCD campus after an exhausting and thrilling weekend. I highly encourage planning trips with your housemates, as well as participating in events planned by the International Student Society. In between studies, take a break and get to know the culture and people around you. There is nothing wrong with adding hookers to your list of things to see while in this beautiful country! Expand your family and explore the terrain!