Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Literature in Ireland

« Learning First Hand About Yeats | Main | Visiting Belfast Illuminates Much »

A Day Trip to Galway in Ireland

Nick Whoehler ' 09 - Today’s adventure found our heroes venturing away from the great city of Dublin and travelling to the west end of the country to Galway.  Getting up early, we hopped a tram to the Hueston Train Station and got to see some authentic Irish countryside on our three hour trip.  Having only been in the city up until this point, it was a refreshing to see some wide open spaces (and, of course, lots and lots of sheep).

When we arrived in Galway, we travelled to the downtown, got our bearings straight, and went our separate ways for a couple of hours.  The group I was with sought out the Galway City Museum where we saw exhibits detailing the history of the city, JFK’s visit to the city, and art from various Galway artists.  Afterwards we sought out a cheap, quick lunch at Supermac’s (a chain-restaurant a lot like McDonald’s out here) and all met together for the highlight of our trip, Nora Barnacle’s House.

Nora Barnacle’s House was opened especially for our group (normally it’s a seasonal exhibit, but they made an exception for a group of enthusiastic Joyceans).  There we learned about the history of Nora Barnacle, James Joyce’s wife, and how the story of her first love was poetically rendered in Joyce’s short story “The Dead” (from Dubliners), which we had read for the class earlier in the semester.  I think I speak for everyone when I say that having read the story gave us a much deeper appreciation for the tour as all the little piece of Joyce’s life seemed to be coming together and syncing up with his writings.

After touring the house, we were given more free time to explore the city.  A few guys and I went out to see St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, which was absolutely stunning.  After leaving the Cathedral, we followed the maze of the city and the labyrinth that is suburbia to wind up on the coast.  Just as we got to the beach, it stopped drizzling, the clouds parted, and we got to enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean. 

We walked along the shore for awhile and then began our trek back to the city.  Along the way, we encountered a man feeding swans, pigeons, ducks, and any other local bird the allure of bread would attract.  It was a pretty awesome sight as the birds let us get right up next to them to take their pictures.  We headed back, bought some souvenirs, and then jumped back on the train to enjoy the three hour return trip.