Galway Faces and Hookers

Galway Travel Blog

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College student with his bicycle
It was Saturday morning and time to move on down the road.  After another delicious breakfast in the hotel's dining room, Des loaded our luggage into the van and I checked out at the front desk.  The weather was again cool and damp and I was somewhat worried about the high winds.  We were prepared for mother nature's nasty mood with warm scarfs and sweaters.   The narrow two-lane country road took us into the town of Ballyvaughan.  Street artists were set up on the sidewalks, sketching the local church and other things of interest.   We went into the neighborhood pub to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.   Scrumptilicious.

Our destination today was Clifden.
One of Galway's senior citizens.
  Only fifty miles or so from Ballyvaughan (if you're a crow), Des had already explained that we had a six or seven hour ride ahead of us, if we were lucky.   Remember, we weren't riding down a six-lane interstate and, of course, we wanted to stop and look and stop again for pictures.  Leigh was intrigued by the numerous ancient church ruins and graveyards, so we stopped several times to give her a photo opportunity.  It was cold and the west wind was unforgiving.  Unfortunatley, she didn't wear a warm head covering and she would have a bad earache by the following day.  I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's get back on track.

We would be going right through the middle of Galway and decided that we should plan on a two-hour break for lunch and a little bit of shopping.
College student enjoying a hot cup of coffee and the warm sunshine.
The Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas was a good place for us to separate.  Being the largest medieval church in Ireland, it is easy to find from any direction.  Right in the heart of Galway's city center and on the banks of the Corrib River, I felt certain there would be no problem making our way back on time.

Galway is a city known far and wide for its youthful vigor and thriving nightlife.  This is due in part to the 20,000 students that flood into the city from all corners of Ireland and the rest of the world to attend one of the seven institutions of higher learning located here.  That explains all the 20-something faces.  The city-center has streets that are closed off to motorized vehicles, making it a nice place to walk and shop with no worry of honking horns and traffic lights.
Galway Hookers. Two of remaining 20 sailing ships used in the 1800's

The Galway Hooker is a wooden sailing vessel with a strong sharp bow and sides that curve outward.  These ships were used in and around this village by the sea in the 1800's before the great famine.   Built largely of oak, it is sturdy, stable and quick, allowing fishermen to navigate difficult passages while hauling their cargo (fish).  The name "hooker" comes from the Dutch word "hoeker" and applies to hook and line fishing.  Galway City is a port town that drew it's wealth from the sea: fishing and extensive trade with France, Spain, and the West Indies.  All this was made possible by a great fleet of ships.  The vessel came to distinguish itself as Galway's signature upon the water and was easily recognizable with it's rust-red, free flowing sails.  Today the remaining boats (believed to be less than 25) gather once a year at the "Gathering of the Boats."  Their flowing red sails make a beautiful exhibition on the water.  They serve as a reminder of the great heritage of this thriving, modern community known as Galway City.
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College student with his bicycle
College student with his bicycle
One of Galways senior citizens.
One of Galway's senior citizens.
College student enjoying a hot cup…
College student enjoying a hot cu…
Galway Hookers.  Two of remaining …
Galway Hookers. Two of remaining…
Galway gentleman ~ plays the accor…
Galway gentleman ~ plays the acco…
photo by: AleksandraEa