An Introduction to Galway

We took advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend in early August to drive out to Galway in the west of Ireland.  We started our walk at Eyre Square where flags from the 14 tribes of Galway rippled in the breeze.
The famous Galway Races were on while we were in town and buses lined up along the square to whisk people to the track.  A horse-drawn hansom cab peeked in on the action.
We stopped to admire these coppery shards in the park before heading out to explore.
These modern red balconies looked a bit incongruous attached to weathered brick buildings nearby.

We stopped at Ard Bia at Nimmos for brunch.
The ingredients on display looked fresh and tempting.

...as did the less healthy desserts ;-)
Wine bottles lined a shelf along the ceiling -- I keep having to remind myself that I'm no longer in earthquake country.  This means of storage would never have been allowed in San Francisco for obvious reasons.
We opted for one savory dish (a chickpea tagine with couscous) and one sweet dish (blueberry pancakes with fresh local honey).  Both were delish.
On our way out of the restaurant, I couldn't help but smile when I saw an empty bottle of Jameson's whiskey on the sill of this bright red window.
We walked through the famous Spanish Arch and headed back into town where we saw another reminder of the main event.
The Latin Quarter was particularly crowded as a result.
We couldn't resist stopping in Griffin's Bakery, a local institution for sweets.
I particularly liked these coffee walnut cakes.  They were amazingly moist due to the sealing layer of frosting.
We continued on to the Galway weekend market in the shadow St. Nicholas' Church. 
Home grown organic vegetables were on offer...
...while a lazy pup lounged nearby.
The market also featured the fresh seafood catch of the day plus various crafts and jewelry.  There was definitely something for everyone.
This plaque on the wall surrounding the church commemorates James Lynch Fitzstephen, a magistrate who executed his own guilty son in this spot in 1854.
On to happier sights...  We saw about a bushel of pears walking around town offering free hugs.  Love it!
We also saw some colorful art along the way including this grizzled gambler...
...this bust surprised me as I was walking by a ground floor apartment.
We decided to take a walk along the River Corrib to work up an appetite for dinner.
There were even fisherman hip-deep in the water trying to nab some salmon.
The sun finally peeked out as we crossed the river near the Galway Cathedral.
Passing through Nun's Island, I saw this doily made of swans.  If it was for sale, I would have definitely bought it!
We capped our day with dinner at Oscars Restaurant.  The venue itself had a fun latin vibe.  The neighborhood was even spicier with a surprising number of "adult" shops on the block.
On the way back into town, we saw this derelict bridge leading to the Fishery Tower Museum.  I guess they aren't expecting many visitors, or at least not many that aren't willing to swim on over...
Rates for hotels in Galway were inflated due to the races, so we decided to stay down the road a bit in Oranmore.  We took a quick stroll around town before retiring for the evening and saw this lovely thatched roof cottage housing a local pub.
Another pub nearby promised "Good Craic" on a handwritten sign.  Based on the delicately placed )(, I'm not sure this was the kind of crack we were looking for...

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Sidewalk Safari: An Introduction to Galway
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