Last weekend was another co- curricular trip with our summer students. We set off bright and early from Dublin on Saturday morning, bound for bohemian Galway. Known as Ireland’s cultural capital, Galway is more of a town than a city, with large pedestrian areas, parks and is located right on the sea. The students stayed in a city centre hostel, just off the main Eyre Square. After checking in the hostel, we headed for lunch to at a local Galway restaurant. Fish and chips were ordered all round, and there is no better place in Ireland to get fresh fish than Galway!
After our delicious meal, we were met by our guide Liam, who gave us an excellent summary of Galway’s history, society and economy in about 90 seconds! For the next hour and a half, Liam guided us through the narrow medieval streets of Galway, bringing us to all the main sites and getting us to act out the stories of history. I was not impressed that I got cast as Nora Barnacle's Grandmother! A really excellent tour, we were left with a good understanding of Galway’s origins, tribes, merchants and the all-important Claddagh ring. (A few may have been bought after!) Free for the rest of the evening, armed with a map of Galway and a list of Galway’s best music venues, the students were able to experience the real culture of Ireland.
Sunday morning we headed west out of Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way towards the Cliffs of Moher. We stopped at Dunguaire Castle for few photos before continuing into the Burren region. Our local bus driver Brian, gave us lots of information about the areas we drove through; the landscape, the history and a few local stories about J.R.R Tolkien coming on vacation and of course the famous Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival. Despite our prayers and finger crossing, the weather refused to improve by the time we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. The group braved the elements for a few pictures on the Cliffs, which in fog only looked more impressive! Thankfully, there is a visitor center built into the cliff (it looks a lot like a hobbit house) where we were able to dry off after. After a quick lunch stop in the village of Lahinch, we headed back to Dublin, lots of sleepy heads on the bus!