Day 3: As we left Dublin fair city and headed to the airport to hire a car (pickup our car rental), I began to get a little anxious for our westward drive to Galway. I'm a pretty good driver back home, but this was going to be the first time I would be driving a car on the left side of the road. For those of you who have never done it before, your brain feels like it is becoming scrambled eggs and you are paranoid that cars are coming from every which way - basically it feels like you are 16 years old again and sitting behind the wheel for the third time ever. I have to say, I did a great job (it was fairly easy since we stayed on a major highway for most of the 3-hour drive), but still, it is worth saying that we more than survived the journey. We arrived to Galway city and immediately headed to College Street to find a B&B. The one we had read about online had no vacancies, so it then became an arbitrary choice for us (one we wished we had made more carefully...) Now we know better in the future to have a few options open just in case our first choice is sold out. Moving on.
Luckily, the B&B was a five minute walk to the downtown area of Galway - decorated with Christmas lights, the main strip was the second thing we came across. The first was a huge Christmas fair with vendors and children's rides (including this beautiful, old, carousel). Of course the rest of the afternoon well into the evening was full of intermittent rainfall, but that didn't seem to bother any of the townspeople one bit. Trying to keep warm, we both decided to get some hot drinks from a street vendor at the fair (I, a mulled wine and Paul, a hot whiskey). Both drinks perfect for the season's chilly weather and both deliciously sweet.
Our next stop was the Tig Coili Bar located in the Latin Quarter of town (further down the main strip towards the river), known for its daily sessions of live music and for "randomers breaking out in song". At first I did not understand what the bar's website meant when I read the recommendation - however after we were there for what seemed to only be enough time for one drink, the band stopped playing mid-song and a fellow at the bar began to sing a tune.
Apparently this is what they were talking about, and whoever feels like singing can make a request to the bartender to hush the band in order to perform his or her own melody. And by no means does the song have to be an Irish tune - one woman later in the evening sang My Way by Frank Sinatra!
We ended the evening with some traditional Irish food from O'Riordon's - I had the ham and cabbage, apparently the true Irish meal, which was very delicious (and extremely filling). On our way back to the B&B, the streets began to empty out (we forgot it was Sunday) plus the rain had returned, but we still enjoyed the picturesqe backdrop of the short-housed shops and cobble stone paths. Beautiful and cold, thank you Galway (and Frank Sinatra!)