After some debating over whether we should visit the Cliffs of Moher, which are about an hour and a half outside of Galway today or tomorrow, we ultimately decided to spend what was shaping up to be an amazingly sunny day exploring Galway and giving ourselves (and mostly Randy) a break from the car for a day.
We decided to walk the scenic route along the promenade from where we were staying to the center of the city. It was a beautiful walk and definitely didn't feel like Irish weather!
On the way, we came across a memorial to people who had lost their lives during the Great Famine in the mid-1800s. We learned that many people left Ireland from Galway to escape the famine.
As we walked into the center of Galway, we discovered that it was a really scenic town with a bunch of canals running through it. Originally they were used for mills. The water looked incredibly blue, but when you got up close, you could see lots of plant life growing in.
There were horse races going on just outside of Galway, so the town was busy with tourists, locals enjoying the good weather, and people roaming around after the races. (All of the people coming from the races were dressed really fancy!) There also was a bunch of bands and solo musicians playing music in the streets. A lot of the musicians had quite the hippy vibe.
We started off what turned out to be an amazing day of eating with lunch at a place called Dough Bros Dylan had found online. It was pizza, so not exactly Irish food, but it was started and still run by a group of local guys who started making and selling their pizza from a cart and pop-up restaurants. The pizza was delicious!
Suzy and Elin headed off to do some power shopping at a craft walk along one of the canals, while the rest of us headed toward Murphy's ice cream shop! This place had a bunch of Irish-food and drink inspired flavors. I got Irish coffee with Irish brown bread. Cole was really brave and got gin flavored (or should I say flavoured) ice cream and Grayden got elderflower!
We also did a little more site-seeing, checking out the Spanish arch, which was constructed in the 1500s and was originally part of a wall surrounding the entire city.
As we waited for Suzy and Elin to finish up their shopping, Cole, Dylan and I went from bar to bar, looking for somewhere to sit and grab a pint. After finding everywhere full, we eventually came across one that served pints in plastic cups so that you could drink it in the street outside the bar. As a preface to the rest of this story, it's important to note that the local beer on tap in all of the bars is named Galway Hooker. Dylan walked up to the busy bar and ordered "Three Galway Hookers to go." One of the Irish guys sitting at the bar responded, "You'd get arrested if you tried asking for that in New York." We got a good laugh from that.
Eventually we met up with Elin and Suzy at a cheese shop. We got to sample all kinds of local, Irish cheeses, most of which were delicious! (One tasted like the cows we had been driving by smelled, in my opinion though.)
While we were doing this, Grayden and Randy adventured to a nearby sports park, where they got to try and compete in a bunch of different sports challenges. Some were familiar, like baseball and basketball, but they also tried hurling, rugby, and gaelic rugby. They said it was a lot of fun, but also pretty hard.
We all met up for dinner at a place that had been recommended to Elin. It had a slight Swedish inspiration. It's named "Dela," meaning "to share" in Swedish. But it really was all about locally sourced, farm-to-table food. They had a three-course meal special that was too good to pass up, even though we had been eating and drinking throughout the day.
Here are some of the highlights of what Dylan and I ordered: summer salad, lamb pudding with babaganoush (which was incredibly rich and spiced, but delicious), summer risotto, plaice (which is a type of fish), and a dessert plate. I was so stuffed after dinner, but my taste buds were very happy!
I also have to share this cucamelon pic (Dylan's thumb for scale). It was included in Elin's gin cocktail at the restaurant. It was really small, but it looked and tasted like a watermelon!
Also, continuing a theme of interesting beer names, Dylan and Cole both had Woodcock beer from the White Gypsy brewery with their dinner. They really liked it!