Ireland 2019: The Concert at St Nicholas’ Church in Galway

Most people who profess belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ call themselves Christians. And most Western European Christians call themselves either Catholics or Protestants.
But not so for the members of the Church of Ireland. They call themselves Catholics AND Protestants. On our second night in Galway we found ourselves walking to a Church of Ireland church after dinner. This church has been around for an eternity and for a long time it was a Catholic Church, then for a short while Protestant, then back and forth between Catholic and Church of Ireland. To make this even more complicated, members of three different Orthodox communities (most Christians in eastern Europe call themselves Orthodox Christians) come to this church to worship. Now this may sound very interesting to some but others are probably asking why on earth are we looking forward to seeing the inside of this church?

Here’s why:

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Ireland 2019: Galway’s Riverside Walk

Our Tuesday walk began with our morning venture from our Eyre Street hotel to Eyre Square (see here) and continued down Galway’s Main Street (see here) all the way to the Spanish Arch at the mouth of the River Corrib. We then turned around and walked back to our hotel via the Riverside Walk that starts at the Wolf Tone Bridge near the Jury’s Inn hotel. This portion of our walk was for the most part quiet, calm and serene with interesting landscapes and riverscapes at every turn, a high contrast to the hustle and bustle we encountered on Williamsgate, William, Shop, High and Quay Streets.

Our granddaughters explore the Spanish Arch. There actually are two arches left in the wall but the entire wall is simply called Spanish Arch.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

Anglo-Normans founded the city of Galway in the early 13th century and almost immediately began building a wall to surround the city and keep the Irish out. In 1584 an extension of the city wall with four arches was built to the water’s edge. They were probably called the Spanish Arches because of the Spanish ships that would be docked nearby. By this time Galway was a prosperous merchant city that traded with various European countries but especially Spain and Portugal.

Detail of old City Wall with one of the Spanish arches on lower left.

Explanation of nearby plants on terrace between the Spanish Arch and the Galway Museum.

The Galway City Museum is just a short distance from the Spanish Arch.

The Galway City Museum was founded in 2006. A prior museum was housed in the Comerford House next door to the Spanish Arch.

Looking across the Corrib at the Galway district known as The Claddagh.

View from the water’s edge at the Spanish Arch.

View across the Corrib from the beginning of the Riverside Walk near the Jury’s Inn.

The Fisheries Watchtower in front of the New Ireland building is now a museum. The bridge on the left is the Wolfe Tone.

Another view of the Fisheries Watchtower Museum on Nun’s Island. It was built in 1853 to monitor the salmon fishing on the river.

Corrib River scene with O’Brien’s Bridge in the background.

Claire likes swans.

There was water on both sides of our walkway, allowing reflections of buildings on our right.

The Il Vicolo restaurant is ranked by TripAdvisor #90 of 586 restaurants in Galway. I would rank it higher simply for its view!

O’Brien’s  Bridge was built around 1880.

Colorful plants at water’s edge.

Kevin Faller’s poem “Home Town” and the scene he was writing about. One of more than 20 plaques on Galway’s Poetry Trail.

Faller (1920 – 1983) was born and raised in Galway. He lived in Dublin for most of his life as a journalist and scriptwriter but often returned to the locales of his boyhood for the scenes of his poems.

Galway Arms Inn and the dam by O’Brien’s Bridge.

Faller worked for RTE for many years as a scriptwriter and in the early 60s he produced many documentaries for Broadsheet from interviews with the salmon fishermen and others who frequented a bar once known as The Submarine and now called the Galway Arms Inn.

This channel was most likely once a mill race.

Galway Cathedral (Roman Catholic).

The official name of Galway’s Catholic cathedral is The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas. According to Wikipedia, “Construction began in 1958 on the site of the old city prison. It was completed in 1965, making it the last great stone cathedral to be built in Europe.”

My daughter and her family were usually ahead of us on our walk. But this one time we plodded ahead and then I turned around to take their picture.

Isn’t this pretty?

St Vincent’s Sisters of Mercy Convent.

Sally Long’s Rock Bar on the corner of Newtonsmith and Mary Streets.

My daughter and her family continued on their walk but my wife and I decided to return to our hotel to rest for awhile before dinner and concert. So we exited the walkway and walked down Newtonsmith to Mary Street which becomes Eyre Street and soon we were back at our hotel.

I will cover the evening concert we attended at St Nicholas Church in my next post.

Irish Music BonusGalway Shawl by Finbar Furey.

The Galway shawl was popular with the women of west Ireland during the 19th century but went out of style in the 20th century and the old women who still wore them were called “shawlies.”  Then Maureen O’Hara wore one in The Quiet Man and they became popular again!

This song has been around since the 1930s and has been recorded by a host of Irish bands and singers including Dolores Keane, Johnny McEvoy, the Dubliners and Dervish. This video features Finbar Furey, one of the greatest names in the history of Traditional Irish music. Finbar started out playing with his Traveler brothers in the 1960s but more recently is on his own. Sometimes he performs duets with his daughter Aine. Sometimes he sings with his son Martin who used to be a member of the High Kings. You usually find Finbar playing a low whistle or the Uileann pipes but this time he is plunking on a banjo.


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Ireland 2019: The Main Street of Galway

The main street of Galway starts at the west end of Eyre Square and goes downhill all the way to the water’s edge. Tourists go there to eat, drink, shop and people watch. Local Galwegians go there to eat, drink, shop and watch the tourists. Everyone goes to hear the buskers. There’s only one problem here: there isn’t any main street of Galway. There are five main streets.

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Ireland 2019: Galway’s Eyre Square

Eyre Square (Irish: An Fhaiche Mhór) is in the center of Galway and was the center of all of our activities during our seven-day stay in Galway last June. We stayed at the Eyre Square Townhouse two blocks west of the square on Eyre Street and every day we walked to and through the square to get to whatever our destination was that day.

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Ireland 2019: From Belfast to Galway

They say that it’s a rocky road to Dublin Town but we experienced nothing but smooth sailing as soon as boarded our train in Belfast. We began our Ireland vacation on Monday, June 17th, when we landed at Dublin Airport and hailed a taxi to take us to Connolly Station in Dublin. We then rode on the Enterprise train all the way to Belfast Central Station where we grabbed a couple of cabs to take us to our hotel. On Monday, June 24th, we said goodbye to Belfast and more or less traveled in reverse back to Dublin.

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Ireland 2019: Banksy’s Street Art at the Culloden

Can you think of a better anti-establishment symbol than Banksy, the anonymous street artist who has spread his satirical message on walls throughout the world? How about a better pro-establishment symbol in Northern Ireland than the splendid but stuffy Culloden Estate and Spa in Cultra? Would you be surprised to see some of Banksy’s famous prints proudly displayed on the walls of one of the Culloden’s classic lounges? We were.

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Ireland 2019: The Culloden Estate and Spa in Cultra

The tiny community of Cultra is a wealthy suburb located just east of Holywood and is about five miles from central Belfast. As you drive along the tree-lined roads you will sometimes get a glimpse of the stately mansions set way back from the inquisitive eyes of passersby. Cultra is the home of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. And it is also where you will find a five-star luxury hotel called the Culloden Estate and Spa, considered by many to be the best hotel in all of Northern Ireland.

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