It’s hard to keep track of what day of the week it is. It feels Ike we have been here for a long time, but I know when we are a couple days from returning home, we will all say how fast it went. One the 18th, we made our way via the scenic coastal route from Sligo to Galway. A brief stop for photos and to pee (we have 14 girls; go figure), and we enjoyed the mountains, massive amounts of wild rhododendron, and curvy roads (I didn’t enjoy that part so much). We had lunch in Charlestown!

Everyone loved the look of Galway as soon as we laid eyes on it. Small shops, pubs, and larger shopping centers, restaurants and a variety of street performers made for a vibrant downtown area. Parts of the area are completely blocked off for pedestrian traffic only. The mixture of medieval and modern architecture (sometimes in the same structure) is fascinating.

All the girls wanted to go to Supermac’s … Ireland’s answer to McDonalds … I was unnecessarily hopeful about the prices and the quality of this experience. The meat is extraordinarily dry, the ketchup noticeably different and the drinks laughably small. Despite the disappointment, we all had fun, and then headed out to watch some live music.

It took over an hour or more for the band, Super Sonic, to start playing. But it was well worth the wait. They were fantastic performers. Jim and I were hanging back, and the girls were up by the stage. I could tell the band knew how to communicate with the crowd when i heard the frontman say “this one is for the girls at Eastern Illinois University!!” 🙂

Before long, I made my way up and danced and sang. It was great fun. They played a lot of American music. I heard everything from Mumford & Son, to CCR to Jason Miraz. The best was when they played “I Got Friends in Low Places.” The crowd nearly lost their minds, belting it out as loudly as they could. With so much audience participation in their songs, the lead singer could periodically stop singing and take a drink. The audience kept singing for him!

Yesterday, we had a walking tour of Galway. It was a great walk and learning experience, though it was terribly difficult to concentrate with a marketplace of handcrafted items and carts of spices and breads enticing us away from historical geography. The worst was when we went into a department store to see a historical map hanging inside. I found an epic suitcase (too large for carryon, but reasonably sized checked baggage) that weighs just 2.6 kilos. I can’t wait to find out how many pounds that is. I think it’s 5ish. Brilliant.

The Galway area may be commercial but it isn’t fake. Our tour guide told terrific stories about the area and the history.