Day 5- Galway, Ireland: Part 1

*Picking back up on some trip recaps! See Days 1-4 in my Travel link on my site’s homepage menu.

Wednesday, March 16

The plan for Wednesday was to do a “Galway day”. Galway is a very cute, very popular city in western Ireland, which is about 1 1/2 hours south from my sister’s house. It also happens to be the place my sister studied abroad in Ireland in college- and where I visited her on my first trip to Ireland back when I was about 21. ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather looked good, so my nieces played hooky from school, and after breakfast, we set off.

Note blue skies…yay! A good day for an outing. The kids played around outside for a bit while we got ready to go.

The Drive

There were 9 of us going, so we had to take two cars; my sister + all the kids and I went in her van, and my dad, mom and Ivan went in the rental car.

Apparently, it can be a little tricky to drive in Galway (just some confusing streets, a bit of traffic, etc.), so my sister was a little concerned about my Dad being able to stick with us without getting separated along the way. (Remember, my Dad is not used to driving on the left, to start with, and no one had functioning phone service or GPS in the other car…). I think Ivan screenshot some of the directions on his phone, but for the most part we figured (hoped) they could just follow us.

The drive started out nice, out through their town (see cool bridge below- bad picture, though) and through a couple other cute, small towns.

After maybe….30 minutes or so (I don’t remember exactly, but it wasn’t long at all), we got to a bit larger town, with a bustling little city center area. Following her planned route on the GPS, my sister turned left. My dad was lagging a little behind, as he had to stop to let a pedestrian cross, and couple cars got in between us.

My sister said, “Uh-oh, I hope he saw me turn left….”

To which I replied, unconcerned, “Oh, I’m sure he did. And if he didn’t, I’m sure Ivan (who was acting as co-pilot) was watching. Don’t worry.”

She pulled over to wait for them, watching in the mirror for him to hopefully turn the corner….and then said, “$#*^! He went straight!!” (She saw him breeze right past the street we were waiting on.)

UGH. Now what?! We sat there for a couple minutes, not sure if he even noticed we turned and would come back (if he could even turn around, with all the traffic…).

Eventually, we decided we’d try to “go look for them”, if you will. After circling the whole town 2-3 times, we saw no trace of them. (And remember, they didn’t have any phone service, so no way to contact each other.) We had no idea where they went.

It was honestly almost comical that we literally lost them in the first real town we came to. ๐Ÿ˜‚ So much for caravanning the whole way…. She’d been worried that we’d lose each other in (much bigger) Galway, not a mere 30 minutes from home! Whoops.

We spent probably a good 20 minutes sitting in a parking lot, hoping they were circling around looking for us, but they never did. Finally, I said, “I think we should just keep going.” My sister was a little worried that maybe they had just turned for home, but I said no way. I knew neither Ivan nor my Dad would give up that easily. I said, “I’m sure they’ll figure out how to get there. They know we have to end up at the Galway Cathedral. They’ll make it somehow….”

So, onward. We drove the rest of the way, never crossing paths with them. As we approached our destination, I half-joked to my sister, “Watch, they probably beat us here.”

Galway Cathedral

Eventually we pulled into the parking lot, and lo and behold, the first thing I saw was Ivan standing and swiping his credit card at the parking lot meter. WOOHOO!! They made it!!

As we pulled into the lot, Ivan gave me a sort of smug look and pointed at his watch like, “What took you guys so long???” ๐Ÿคฃ Thank God. I am not sure what we would have done if they hadn’t showed up…. or how long we would have waited around before just going off to see the city on our own! #momanddadlostinireland

After our little “omg thank god you guys are here/ what happened” reunion, we started out with the Galway Cathedral.

It is a very “new” or “young” cathedral, as far as European cathedrals go, built in 1958. It is beautiful, though!! So, so pretty!!

There were a bunch of very dapper looking couples entering, clearly part of a wedding group or something. We thought it might actually be closed for the ceremony, but turns out it wasn’t, at least not yet. I guess they were all just starting to arrive for the wedding, so we had time for a quick look-see first. ๐Ÿ™‚

I loved the look of this cathedral!! It really impressed me. Something was just very unique about it. I think it was all the stonework! And none of the typical gold decorations that you see in many Catholic cathedrals.

Loved the combo of the stained glass + the grey stone + wood
More stone. The style felt very “modern Irish” to me, if that’s a thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’d love to go to church there. A wedding would be so beautiful, too.

Checking out the town

From the cathedral, we headed toward the main area of town. It’s situated on a river, and the views were really cool with stone bridges and the water.

There was a path along the river that we walked down.

Asher holding hands with one of his little cousins ๐Ÿ™‚

I was feeling so happy that it was SUNNY!! In IRELAND! Yay. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was not particularly warm, but that’s okay. Everything just looks prettier when it’s sunny, so I’d take that over heat in this case.

The whole town is very cute and quaint and very Irish feeling. I, of course, took a bazillion photos. ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the start of the pedestrian mall
All lined with shops, restaurants, pubs, etc.

Lunch at The Kings Head

Once we got to the pedestrian street, we could see there were definitely plenty of people out and about. It was fairly “early” for lunch, but we had a pretty big group. So, we opted to grab lunch before doing any more sightseeing.

I loved the look of this pub. It said, “Since 1649” on the outside. That’s a pretty old pub!

The inside was very cute too, especially the bar/ snug area.

We sat in the bigger restaurant side, though- which was also very nice. The boys and my nieces colored and played around, and the waitress brought us all Guinness “St. Patrick’s Day” hats to wear (it was March 16th, so St. Patty’s was the next day).

Some people got pints (of course…never too early for a pint in Ireland?). I went with tea this time.

A good choice, because they brought me this adorable little pot.

Ivan and I split an absolutely delicious cheeseburger and fries. No picture because I devoured it. Side note: THE MEAT IN IRELAND IS SO GOOD!!!! It really is amazing. Soft, flavorful, juicy…it’s just perfect. I had it a few times and every time it was wonderful.

The pub started to really fill up as time went on, including some people that seemed to be from a bus tour. We were really happy we decided to eat right away, as we beat the main lunch crowd.

I love this picture! The pub is the red building behind them. There were lots of street performers playing music which gave the whole area a really fun vibe.

I think I will stop here for now! It’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint, to type up these recaps. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Based on how much I love my New England trip blog book, though, I think it will be worth it to preserve these memories.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Galway!!

5 thoughts on “Day 5- Galway, Ireland: Part 1”

  1. That cathedral is gorgeous! The architecture reminds me of the churches in Paris. The cathedrals there don’t tend to have lots of gold elements – it’s more stone and stained glass windows which I prefer. I love how the ceiling is glowing blue! So pretty!

    Being separate sounded stressful but I am glad it all worked out! It’s like traveling back in time before cell phones. We did not have cell phones when I studied abroad in Australia and I have memories of a group trip we took to an area south of Brisbane. We were split between 3 cars and it was tricky to figure out where everyone us/to trust everyone would make it. At that time, there was no google maps or mapquest either! We had mapquest in the US at that time so I just assumed I would have that option in Australia and NZ. Nope. I went to NZ for 1 week with 3 girlfriends and I look back and wonder how we found out hotel accomodations as we were literally using paper maps to get around! I guess you can be resourceful even at age 21!


    1. I know, it’s crazy to think how we did things before smartphones and GPS!! I think in our situation, if they’d at least had paper maps along it would have been different- but they didn’t have anything really at all- and of course totally unfamiliar with the area/ driving style. I can imagine in your Australia/ NZ trips it was pretty complicated too making that all work with multiple cars- the whole “follow the leader” thing always seems to go awry no matter what! But, I suppose we didn’t know any different back then. People were probably definitely much more resourceful than now- we can be pretty lazy with our GPS and goggle telling us every little thing. lol!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. That cathedral is stunning. I love European architecture!
    And there is something so cozy and yet “cultured” about matching tea sets. I drink out of heavy mugs and brew my tea right in the cup…but it does always taste a bit better when it’s done the traditional way and china cups do always make me feel…elegant?


  3. Haha, I had to laugh about your caravaning debacle LOL this happens to the best of us and I am glad you realized that they would make it to the Cathedral on their own.

    Speaking of the Cathedral: stunning! And Galway looks like such a cute town!


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