CommuteWe had two choices: a guided tour or the country side of Ireland, or Galway on our own.
Here’s my final advice on traveling Europe: stick to a guide when you have limited transportation access.
At 11am we bused from Dublin to Galway, using public transportation. What could be a two hour car ride across the island took us five hours to arrive into Galway. Needless to say I was upset, frustrated, and annoyed.
After the bus ride from Hell, our grumbling bellies settled down at The Cellar. Right off Eyre Square, this cafe reminded me of a sit-down Panera from the States. All stress alleviated once the food arrived. I ordered the Cajun Chicken Ciabatta, a Hellman’s All Ireland Award Winning sandwich. My tastebuds approved.
Full and satisfied, we walked down Merchants Road and out to the Galway Harbor. I felt like we were in Maine, or what I imagine Maine looks like.
The water was a deep blue and sprinkled with swans. Colorful houses lined the bay. Couples sat picnicking on the lawn. Tracking the short hour we disposed in the charming city pained me.
My friends were determined to buy Claddagh rings in the birthplace of the popular hardware. We asked a man about the tradition of these Irish engagement rings and he explained:
“The hands symbolize friendship; the crown loyalty; and the heart, love. To wear the heart pointing inward shows that your heart belongs to someone else. If the heart points outward, than your heart is open and available.”
“So, ladies, I’m available…”
With this in mind, we searched up and down Merchants Road to find a store that was still open. We found a charming jewelry and china store that was about to close, but the neighborly couple kept their shop open for us to pick out rings.
Best Time of Our Lives
We refused the bus back and bought a two-hour train ticket to Dublin. We napped until the last half hour and woke up delirious.
“Let’s Instagram pics of Cliffs of Moher to make it look like we went…”
“And photocopy us in front of the castles…”
“And for tonight, we are having the best night of our lives. You MUST have fun. We’re having fun.”
Though back in the hostel, we struggled to get ready. I didn’t touch my hair or change my outfit. I kept telling my friends I would take the night off.
Once we crossed the bridge, I fed off Dublin’s nightlife. Girls were stumbling in their heels, men drank out of stolen glasses in the middle of the street. Cops were scattered everywhere protecting against disorderly conduct. This is my type of city.
In the first bar we stopped in, a group of men in their late 20s were celebrating a bachelor’s party. The groom-to-be owned real estate in NYC, and the other men worked for Samsung. Before I realized what was going on, I was handed a cranberry vodka. Then a tequila shot. I refused the tequila shot. So I was handed a ginger-ale Jameson. Ah, bachelor parties.
However, most bachelor parties involve drunk, horny men, so I avoided them and made way towards the dance floor.
We ended our celebrating with the future groomsmen and landed at Farrington’s. Classic American hits blasted from the stage. We spent the rest of the night here, listening to music and watching Liz hit on guys. Luckily for her, there is no shortage of attractive men in Ireland.
I’m trying to cut down on late night munching, I really am. But the Burger King we stopped in before the hostel seemed fitting (as it always does after hours of dancing and Guinness.) I ordered my first burger from Burger King (I was a chicken nuggets kid), and cheesy jalapeño bites. They reminded me of the Spicy Balls served at my home university’s dive bar. Not quite as savory, but they sufficed given the circumstances.