I embarked on my first trip yesterday morning, catching a bus to Dublin and another to Galway, a lovely town on the west coast known as the capital of traditional Irish music and the birthplace of the claddagh ring. When I finally arrived at the Galway bus station after about 5 hours of traveling, I asked the ticket clerk to direct me to my hostel, the Sleepzone, and he said, “It’d be a long walk in this heat. You should take bus 405 at the top of Eyre Square. It’ll drop you off right close.”
Well, the hostel claimed it was within “close walking distance” of the station and the bus wouldn’t arrive for another twenty minutes, so I asked someone else, a young woman working in Tourist Information.
“Oh, it’s just up there past the TK Maxx!” she told me. It truly was close and I was there in no time. Bless the ticket clerk’s heart. He didn’t know I was a Carolina girl, and while the 70 degree weather we’ve been having here lately is disturbingly hot for locals, it’s quite comfortable for me. But he was only concerned about my health.
After checking in at the Sleepzone, which I found to be comfortable and welcoming, I walked down Shop Street and visited the open air market outside St. Nicholas Church. I went inside the church as well for a nice respite from the sunshine. It was a lovely old stone church, but had many signs of an active congregation. The paintings from children’s Sunday School classes made me miss my “babies” at Oakhurst back in Decatur, GA!
I also did some window shopping in the jewelry stores on Shop Street, as I am in the market for a sterling silver, Connemara marble ring. The two jewelers I spoke with made great conversation! When I told one of them that the Connemara marble was “lovely,” automatically pronouncing the o like those in “hoof,” as they do in Northern Ireland, he started.
“For a minute there you sounded like you were from Northern Ireland!” I laughed and told him I had been studying at Queens and must have picked up the rhythms of speech a wee bit. He told me his theory that “The American accent came from the Northern Irish accent. So many Presbyterians moved to American from Northern Ireland.” Considering that I am descended from one such Presbyterian, I certainly couldn’t argue.
I need to relinquish the computer to another hostel guest, but here’s some homework for my readers. If you have an idea for a song I could sing in an Irish bar during a traditional music session, what shall it be? I heard some traditional music last night; as I was by myself, the badhran player at Tigh Coili, a pub renowned for its live music, invited me to sit with the band!! When I told him I was a singer, he promptly pressured me to sing for them, but I was of course too flustered to come up with a proper song. I might return tonight, however, after my day trip to the Cliffs and Moher!
So, what’ll it be? It doesn’t have to be an Irish song, I was assured, but please don’t suggest my hit single “Christmas with the Weasleys.”
I’ll write again soon!