17 February – 19 February
A few weeks back I joined ESN which is the Erasmus Student Network. ESN is a student run organization with chapters at universities across Europe. They host a lot of events for international students in order to form connections and make the most of their time in their host country.
This weekend we embarked on a trip to Galway with 50 other ESN members!
Leaving Friday we arrived to Galway in the late afternoon and had a few hours to explore and grab an afternoon snack and dinner. We stumbled upon this great little coffee and design shop, Coffeewerk + Press. They had loads of postcards designed by artists and the 3-level shop was filled with beautiful functional art and a gallery. I fell in love with this little place and went back for more Sunday morning.
You really can’t go wrong with a good cup of coffee and a thoughtful art showcase.
We took a walking tour of Galway in the evening and our tour guide told us loads of interesting stories. Ireland really loves legends. The legends about Eyre Square, the city square in Galway, includes gruesome stories of uncovering skeletons and scenes of public execution – yippie!
Instead of continuing the party with some of the ESN group we bailed out of the club scene and found a pub with live music instead. I still can’t believe the drinking culture here.
I stayed in a room with 6 other girls – a little reminder of my first night in Dublin only 10 times better since I sort of knew everyone. We stayed at Kinlay Hostel just off of Eyre Square.
Fast forward to the next morning and sliding out of bed at 7:30 am – something I have grown less and less accustomed to… good luck to me when I go back to work this summer.
We all hopped on the bus to get the ferry to the Aran Islands and ended up arriving over an hour early. Let me remind you that it’s off-season for tourism so that meant waiting outside in the brisk seaside morning for longer than any of us would’ve liked to.
It was a quick ferry ride to the Islands and once we got off the boat we were all given bikes to ride around the Island for the day. The island is very quiet this time of year and definitely makes me think that people must have vacation homes here. The island is filled with lots of short stone walls dividing up the land and scattered with pretty little homes.
The 13 km long island is perfect for a day trip and I imagine in the summer is even better. Cycling the 30 minutes to the other side of the island we parked our bikes and went into the heritage site on the island. Dún
Seriously – UNREAL
I’ve never been more in my element. I’ve never felt more at peace and alive and thrilled all at once. It. Was. Incredible.
We cycled back along the sea-side instead of through the center of the island. We met some seal friends and I finally broke out the macro lens.
I really can’t even believe how phenomenal this day was. Still reveling in it.
Please excuse the photo overload. I can’t help myself.
Waiting for the ferry I saw a man sporting a Wisconsin hat – obviously I had to ask. The couple was from Madison and had just moved to Dublin 2 weeks ago for the next year of their lives. I had a nice conversation with them and it’s always surprising how many connections you can find somewhere so far from home.
The day carried right into the night and we grabbed dinner and then the whole ESN crew headed out on a pub crawl. How was the craic Saturday night? The craic was grand! It was quite a social night and our tour guide wasn’t kidding when he said the men in Galway were pushy. I’ll give you the advice he gave us – If a guy asks you to “Go for a ride,” don’t.
We were given a go time of 10:30 Sunday morning so I decided the early bird catches the worm and got up at 8. I wanted so badly to see the city of Galway in broad day light. Galway is simplistic and colorful – filled with cute local shops.
Sunday was the day for the Cliffs of Moher so we all got back on the bus and an hour later were approaching the cliffs. I turned to look out the window and I kid you not it was like flying through a cloud – everything around us was white.
Here’s my experience of the Cliffs of Moher in one picture:
Here’s how I’m making myself 5% less disappointed – nothing would have topped the Aran Island anyway, right?
I’ll see you again in May – make the sun shine for me that day mama nature.