Once again it's past 11 PM and I'm just getting around to typing my notes up for today, but unlike last night it's not because I got home early and took a nap. This evening I actually did get back to my room later than usual and when I did so my laptop was still downloading a couple of movies to watch later which took up most of my laptop's processing power. It shouldn't take too much time for me to do today's notes, though.
Today I did most of what I had planned and that was to go to two of the locations mentioned in Steve Earle's song "Galway girl", Salthill and the Prom there and the Long Walk which is right next to the Spanish Arch and the lovely new Galway City Museum.
Since I was driving, I moved my car around front before I had breakfast here in the hotel after taking a shower & dressing. The drive out to Salthill unfortunately took me through the center of town again, and I decided I'd probably just bring the car back here and leave it afterwards instead of parking back downtown at the Eyre Square Centre and just take a cab back into town and back to the hotel again. I got there sometime before 11 AM and parked in the larger parking lot, which is free.
There has been quite a lot of new construction out along Salthill in the 11 years since I was here on my first trip to Ireland, which is not surprising. It really is like Seattle's Alki in many ways, including an influx of new people with lots of money so new housing units and mansions.
I had originally planned on just walking down to the diving platform on the other side of the hotel where I stayed on my first trip here, the Salthill hotel, but that didn't seem very far from where I had parked. Instead I took a much longer walk, perhaps longer than I had intended, since I went along the ocean side of the Galway Golf Club's course before I could turn off the very long pedestrian walkway and get back to the main road before walking back up to the Salthill hotel and the park next to it.
I remembered that lovely little park very well and noticed many small changes since I had been there eleven years ago and which are actually rather recent. In 2014 a small garden and a collection of commemorative stones were added to the landscaping to commemorate organ donors nationally.
I kept on going back past the lot where I had parked to the main part of Salthill itself. I wanted to check out the small, pretty church there but I could tell some event was going on when I got there. Instead I just had a very nice cup of soup and an omelette for lunch at the Galleon, one of the nice restaurants there.
I decided I didn't really feel like visiting the aquarium so I just headed on back here to the hotel instead. As I was following Google Map's directions back here I accidentally turned the wrong way onto a one way street, where everyone coming very nicely let me get turned around and back out.
I was here just long enough to use the bathroom before I caught a cab back to the Galway City Museum. By coincidence, this cabby was actually one who once had given me a ride when I was here last July. I have to confess that I didn't quite remember him so much as I remembered seeing his nameMartin Hayes--on his official taxi license because I had teased him a little back in July by asking him if people ever got him confused with the Irish master fiddler with the same name.
I really like the Galway City Museum, which although quite small is very well done and is one of my favorite city owned museums anywhere. Afterwards I went around the corner to take some pictures of the Long Walk and the confluence with the River Corrib.
For some reason I decided to skip trying to catch the last hop on, hop off bus tour at 3 PM but, since I was right there in the neighborhood and liked it so much yesterday, I went back to An Cupan Tae for some tea and some of their pastries, in this case a slice of chocolate and cake and both were lovely.
It was only 3:30 PM by now, and I really didn't feel like hanging around until I could hear some trad music two hours later, so I hiked back to Eyre Square up through the Claddagh and caught a cab back here.
I had the cabby let me off at the front so I could stop by reception and ask where else they might recommend I could go in the area. Lisa, the lovely lass who's helped me a couple of times before, was on the desk then. She recommended two places she likes. One, the Full Duck, doesn't seem to have its own web page but I was able to find out online that they close at 6 PM. Lisa also recommended either restaurant at Flannery's, another hotel a short walk from the hotel. I was able to find Flannery's and the menu at Frankie's Bar & Bistro looked pretty good so I thought I'd go there for dinner.
I left about 7 PM for the short walk to Flannery's. It was decent weather all day, completely cloudy if a bit chilly and breezy. My hotel, the Connacht, is pretty much at the top of the hill where it levels out so the walk to Flannery's was quite pleasant. It looks like a very nice place, but when I went inside and up to the door of Frankie's I saw a sign on it that said "Hotel residents only" which certainly isn't what the hotel's own web page says"Our lunch time carvery is highly popular with locals and visitors alike" and "When dining out in Galway choose Flannery's Hotel". On the way back to the hotel I stopped at the small grocery/convenience store to buy a couple of small bags of chips. Although for such a small store they have a surprisingly large selection of fresh food and food they prepare I decided I'd just eat here in the hotel's restaurant instead.
I found seating in the hotel's bar/restaurant a bit confusing. I could see wait staff moving around but no one came where I had originally sat down. It turns out that they do not offer table service in that small area after 5 PM, so I moved over to the section where breakfast is served. I had the soup of the day (cream of mushroom with rosemary), the fish of the day (grilled cod), and one of today's dessert specials (mango and berry cheesecake) and all of it was excellent.
It was almost 9 PM as I was finishing and I noticed a musician setting up his various instruments and equipment. I figured I'd just hang out there at my table and read on my Kindle until he started playing and maybe stay a little later to hear what he did, but he hadn't started by 9:30in fact, he had just sat down at a table with a fresh cup of coffee, so I gave up and came back to my room.
As I said earlier, when I got back my laptop was still downloading some movies I had started before I left for dinner so I watched one of my programs on iTunes on one of my iPhones while the laptop finished, and that was around 11 PM.
I'm just about done for today. Tomorrow I catch the 10:30 for Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands, and return on the 4:30 PM ferry. According to Google Maps it's about an hour's drive from here to the ferry terminal and car park. I plan on leaving here before 9 AM to make sure I get there with more than enough time to check in and get aboard. Then tomorrow evening I have a 7:30 reservation for the Moroccan evening here in the hotel's restaurant.
And that is it for today,