Galway and a lavender nightgown: A tea-flavored blog post experience

Heyoooo people of the world! Today’s post is brought to you by the number 4 (the number of classes I should be reading/writing essays for right now) and the letter O (for “Obligation to do my schoolwork has overcome me  – gonna go read and and finish writing this later”).

24 hours later…

So. This weekend I went to Galway, which is Galways a good idea.

Nope. Can’t do it. That was terrible.

23 more hours later…

Okay. I will write this blog post now. I am siting in my room wearing a lavender nightgown with a bear on it, and my flatmates are having a small party (to which I am invited), but now I am going to write this thing, darn it. Mostly because it’s too much work to put on real clothes and go meet my flatmates’ friends, which is unfortunate. Earlier I was playing mandolin and doing reading for next Monday when I realized it was time to go to class, but then I decided it was too much effort to rush in order to be on time, and if I wasn’t going to be on time I just shouldn’t go. So I didn’t. I have a problem.

Anyway, disturbing entropy of my willpower out of the way… Here we go. Galway this weekend was lovely. I went with my new friend Molly from Mountaineering Club – we took a bus to Galway on Friday night, with a plan to stay in a hostel that night and at an Airbnb the next night. Our Airbnb host contacted me just before we arrived and invited us to meet him and some street magicians staying with him at a bar called Garavans in city centre, so we did.

It was grand. We listened to trad music, drank a pint of Guinness, and watched some really good card tricks for half an hour, and I talked to the younger of the magicians for upwards of two hours about philosophical and scientific arguments for God. All things I enjoy. Molly and I also experienced the magic of curry cheese fries and the weirdness (for me) of listening to a cover band sing “Hotel California” and “Play That Funky Music” in Ireland, with Irish accents, in a cool place called The Quays that looks like the inside of a ship (no photos, sorry).

Our hostel was fine, but nothing remarkable. I slept like five hours (the beds were real weird), ate three pieces of toast and a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast in this kitchen:

That’s Molly getting dishes, and the other 300 people we ate breakfast with are conveniently out of frame

Saturday was then all about the Cliffs of Moher. We walked around Galway’s pedestrian shopping street (aptly named Shop Street) for a while

Bought a CD from this guy
Bought a CD from this guy

and then got on a tour bus at 11:30 to drive to the Cliffs of Moher, which I will now depict in photographic splendor.

hello cow friend on the cliffs
I tried to feed it an apple
Through the electric fence? #lookatyourchoices
… Or naw
Such a majestic beast
Somewhere over here is where they filmed the outdoor cave scenes in Harry Potter 6 (with Dumbledore)
amateur cliff selfie
cliffs 2
and good cliff photo by Molly
12041708_526388077509823_1918776675_n (1)

IMG_20150926_145356886_HDR     IMG_20150926_141751678_HDR IMG_20150926_141916983_HDR

We stopped for a delicious lunch in the little town of Doolin, which our tour guide told us hates buses. Awkward. On the bus, we also saw a fairy tree and a holy well and the largest thatched building in the world and some Connemara ponies and 500 castles.

This one is for sale! Purchase your dream home in County Clare today!
I lost the pictures of the other 498. I’m sorry the text is offset from the photo like this I can’t help it

And the Burren, a crazy limestone moonscape by the sea (ocean)



And generally lots of this as the sun came out on our way back.

I have no memory of taking this but I like it
mmm amber waves of grain


Back in Galway, we ran into some of my Cru study abroad pals and their friends, and got dinner together –  oysters and Guinness, because it was the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, and Guinness is supposed to go with oysters. The only problem was that the Guinness was in a can, and also it turns out that oysters are actually not that delicious. Like, they’re fine, but I don’t want to pay 9 euro and just eat six cold oysters with a lemon wedge and nothing else. I guess they were fresh, though, because there were little bits of seashell and barnacles and stuff everywhere.


We also walked around the pier a bit where the festival was being held, which I thought was mighty nice indeed.

Real nice.
Real blurry.

Aaaand… slept well. I woke up and thought I heard a horse and then thought I was probably going crazy because we were in a residential neighborhood, but I looked out the window and lo! there was a horse!

As per usual, the tiny speck is the animal.
As per usual, the tiny speck in the distance is the animal.

After bidding farewell to our host, Molly and I went into town and walked along the River Corrib


to the Galway Cathedral


where they were doing Mass, because it was Sunday morning, but we waited until they were done and I took a photo. It was actually breathtakingly beautiful when I walked in – the vastness of the space and the solemnity and the incense really hit me. It reminded me of the Episcopalian compline services I sometimes go to in New Haven, which are just 20 minutes of incense and beautiful singing (chanting?) in the dark with candles around. It’s a really beautiful and meaningful ritual, not unlike any traditions in evangelical churches but just a bit more. And service of the Eucharist (which we ducked out for part of) was remarkably similar in wording to the Methodist service. Really cool that we got to visit on Sunday morning.


Then we collected some Atlantic seashells, touched the ocean, and walked to the little town of Salthill, which was unremarkable but had an aquarium with ice cream. So I got a 99, which is a vanilla ice cream cone with a Cadbury Flake. I have always hated Cadbury Flake since the one time I ate it in high school because it’s just normal chocolate, but messy. Cadbury literally calls it (in a super creepy ad I just found) “the crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate in the world.” How is that a good idea? Who makes foods super messy on purpose? Ugh. I thought it made more sense to put it in ice cream, but it was still the messiest chocolate ever. I’ll stick to Dairy Milk.


After our messy ice cream, we headed back to Galway city centre for fish and chips and McDonough’s, a restaurant recommended by literally everyone we asked, including the Lonely Planet Ireland guide and a tourism lady who said that famous people always eat there. All I know is that their mackerel was the best fried fish I’ve ever had (no chips, just mushy peas and coleslaw, which were both charmingly weird). Molly and I also shared a table with a girl from Berlin, who had some cool experiences to share. I love eating with strangers!


We also went to a bookstore, because come on, it’s me. I managed to limit myself to actually purchasing only one book though (a used paperback Joyce collection).


At this point I must insert a sidebar to inform you that I have run out of tea and now must face the dilemma of either not having any more tea, putting clothes on, or letting all my flatmates’ friends see me in a lavender nightgown. Aaaa

75 minutes later…

My dear Yale roommate Lucy saved me with a video call so I didn’t have to choose. She also suggested just pouring cold water over the teabag I already have, so I am now drinking room temperature tea-flavored water and eating Nutella with a spoon. This is a new low.

Geez this post got really long. It’s longer than the essay I have due in two weeks. Sorry, guys. Just skim for the photos.

That’s basically everything, anyway… we got Chinese seafood Sunday afternoon and ate it in the park at Eyre Square (I got fried Atlantic squid – much better than oysters)


and I bought tarts


and this weird meringueIMG_20150927_182633665

And then we discovered that our bus had already left and we had 20 minutes until the next one so we went to a pub where a trad session was going on and got lil half pints of Galway Hooker, the local ale named for the fishing boats in Galway Bay. It was actually real good.IMG_20150927_184218486

Aaaand then we jumped on the bus and came home. The end.

I’m looking forward to a trip to Kerry with the Mountaineering Club this weekend – learned some bouldering technique today! It’s so nice having a climbing gym on campus where I can go for free and learn from advanced people and not get mugged while walking there.

I’ve been having a hard time motivating myself to do stuff, still – not sure what it is, but I miss having a roommate and taking seminars. Really enjoying my folklore class though. I’ll come home spouting off Irish folktales and drive y’all crazy.

Also Soul Food was great this week – I facilitated discussion and two of the lads made really good pancakes. We talked about the nature of God and it was super cool. It’s been fun to have more natural spiritual conversations outside of those meetings too.

OH I FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. On Friday night a lady asked if we would do a survey about the seafood festival and she thought my accent was Irish. And she was Irish. I’m becoming one of them.

Over and out.

Bonus photos of vertical things:

We didn’t even go here, I just like the sign
A memorial to some Claddagh mariners
Guinness stained glass (this one’s for you, Mom)
Classic Joyce

7 thoughts on “Galway and a lavender nightgown: A tea-flavored blog post experience

  1. Your writing is so creative and fun to read. Here’s sending you a hug, and best wishes for figuring out how to motivate self when needed. I kind of like the slower pace of lounging in pj’s.


  2. All the animals in Ireland are really small except for the huge cow protected by electric fence. Loved the amazing sky pictures, a little worried about the lack of motivation, glad you are having a great time while you’re avoiding the real reason you are there. I have food envy & can’t wait until you are hanging out in our kitchen, speaking Irish! Love you!


  3. Hi there Natalie! Sorry I haven’t written sooner but I have read a few of your posts and found them to be interesting and a bit fun too. But shouldn’t you be studying and such instead of roaming the countryside trying to feed cows and drinking beer?
    I did crack up when I read your sister’s comment, that’s for sure. :o)
    But glad you’re having such a nice experience over there. I’m sure we’ll never get to Ireland or anywhere too far from Wisconsin but at least I can live vicariously through your travels. Stay safe and watch out for leprechauns!

    Uncle Tom


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