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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This street that starts at the west end of Eyre Square and ends at the mouth of the Corrib changes its name every block or two. First it is called Williamsgate Street. Then it becomes William Street. Then Shop Street. Then High Street. And finally, when we are getting close to the water, the street becomes Quay Street.
The original bronze sculpture of the two Wildes was completed by Estonian artist Tiiu Kirsipuu in 1999 and it sits outside the Wilde Irish Pub in Tartu, Estonia. This replica was a gift from the city of Tartu to the city of Galway in 2004.
This church was built in 1320 and is the largest medieval church still operating in Ireland. There’s a story that Christopher Columbus attended Mass here when he visited Galway in 1477, fifteen years before he sailed across the Atlantic to the West Indies. We noticed that there was a Traditional Irish Music concert scheduled for later in the evening and we returned after dinner to attend this concert. I’ll have more about the concert and tour of the church in a future posting.
Quay Street ends at Father Griffin Road at the mouth of the River Corrib. We turned left and walked along the river walkway called The Long Walk until we reached the Spanish Arch. It’s less than two kilometers from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch and if the streets were empty you could probably walk the entire distance in 5 or 6 minutes. But we zigged and zagged and browsed and ate and drank and dawdled and it took us about three hours.
We then walked back to our hotel via the Riverside Walk that for the most part parallels our Main Street. That will be the subject of my next post which will include more photos of the Spanish Arch and the nearby Galway Museum.
Irish Music Bonus — Galway Girl performed by Sharon Shannon and Mundy and hundreds of others.
The Galwegian sheer joy of life is exemplified in this video where 15,000 people crowded into William and Shop Streets and a few side streets on June 11, 2016 to participate in the biggest street performance of Galway Girl. Locals and visitors alike came to listen to Mundy’s voice and Sharon’s button accordion and one of their favorite songs: Galway Girl by a Texan named Steve Earle. Note that Sharon Shannon never stops smiling in the entire video! The crowd spreads out all over Galway’s Main Street but Mundy and Shannon are standing close to the famous sculpture of Oscar Wilde and Eduard Wilde in front of Lazlo Jewellers.
In previous posts we listened to two songs both called Galway Bay. There’s another song called Galway Girl, too. We will listen to the one written and performed by Ed Sheeran in a future post.