Thursday, April 6th, Galway city

Deciding not to go to Inisheer; looking for churches and a small historic cemetery in the area; walking back downhill for lunch at the G Counter before a movie at the theater there; by cab back uphill to the hotel; snack run across the street; exploring more in the local area; Moroccan night in the hotel's restaurant

Mini-apartment at the Connacht Hotel

Silver VW Jetta



It's now almost 11 PM and once again I'm just getting around to typing my notes up for today. I've been back in my room for at least an hour and a half. Earlier today I had been working on updating my playlists of what's been played most recently on the podcasts I keep track of, and had uploaded the most recent versions. When I got back to my room after dinner, I was about to post an announcement on Facebook when I saw that one of my podcasters had just posted his latest show a bit earlier today instead of on Wednesday as usual and I decided to go ahead and add his new episode as well. I was doing so when I was interrupted by a short, unpleasant bout of stomach problems, the first I've had this trip and the worst I've had in a while.

Other than that, I had a very pleasant day and evening. I woke up early enough to leave when I wanted to make it out to the Aran Isles ferry terminal for my prebooked trip out to Inisheer but while I was showering, dressing, and having a Slimfast for breakfast I realized that I really didn't want to take what would be the first long trip of three days in a row, since I also have the Connemara trip tomorrow and have to leave for Dingle on Saturday, and that's a three hour drive from door to door. I plan on making a stop sort of along the way, though. I think I'll make a stopover in Foynes, Co Limerick to see a bit of the town itself as well as the Flying Boat Museum there, which we went to on my 50th birthday trip Mom sent me on. It's slightly over an hour and a half from here to Foynes, and then almost two hours from the Museum on to my B&B in Dingle.

Anyway, this morning I decided I'd just stick to exploring more in the local area around the hotel. When I was here last year, I had found a small cemetery really near by, only a few blocks away, and went over. Many of the pictures I took then didn't turn out that well, unfortunately, primarily because I think I still hadn't quite figured out how to use the automatic focus on the lens that came with the new camera I'd bought a week or so before, so I wanted to go back and take some more pictures.

I've had some interesting experiences with Google Maps recently, primarily with trying to find that same cemetery as well as physically trying to find what Google indicates is one of the churches nearby. When I looked at one of my pictures of the cemetery from last year which was quite clear I could see a sign saying it was the St James Cemetery but when I did a search for that on Google Maps it doesn't come up at all. I did a search in Google itself and found a mention to it on the web site of another local church, Holy Family, also known as Mervue Church which is on Google Maps, so I knew that if I found the church I should be able to find the cemetery somewhere nearby.

Google Maps also lists two other churches nearby, kind of behind the large hospital complex across the street, Bon Secours. I thought it was kind of odd that they're listed as having very similar names, the Church of St Oliver Plunkett and St Oliver Plunkett's church. When you click on the icon for the first one, you do get a real picture of the church but when you click on the second you get a picture of what looks like town houses.

I decided I'd see what's playing at the movie theater downhill from the hotel, the Eye Cinemas, right next to where the G Counter and Rockin' Joe's are located, and saw that the new movie version of "Ghost in the shell"–one of my very favorite anime series, not that I'm familiar with all that many of them–was playing at 2:10 PM. I figured I'd at least go find Holy Family church and try to find the cemetery, and maybe the two Oliver Plunkett churches, before walking down the hill to lunch by 1 PM at the G Counter, which I had really liked when I was there a couple of evenings ago.

Google Maps directions to find the Holy Family church were spot on. Basically they were to go up the hill to the next major street, Michael Collins Ave, and take a left then take a right on St James Place to find the church. I had only gone a short block up Michael Collins and I could see the cemetery on the next corner. I proceeded on to the church itself, which is what I think is a rather lovely modern building, dating only back to the 1960s. The interior is rather unusual in that is octagonal in plan, with the altar area right in the center. It's bright and airy inside, and I rather liked it. I was the only person there other than parish staff or volunteers.

The church's page on its history says that there was a church on the site of the cemetery dating back to the medieval period as well as renovations in the 17th-19th Centuries. On the far wall of the cemetery across from the pedestrian entrance is a plaque memorializing all the victims of the Great Famine who were buried there. I found it rather moving that many grave sites are marked with nothing other than a small stone.

It was almost 12:30 PM when I left the cemetery so I decided I'd better just head on down to the G Counter to have lunch before the movie, and afterwards I'd call a cab to come back up here to the hotel before looking for the supposedly two Oliver Plunkett churches and that's what I did.

I had a lovely cup of soup and the G Counter's version of an eggs benedict, with a brioche bun and spinach, and it was all delicious. The place was much busier at 1 PM than it had been when I came for dinner at 7.

I also liked the Eye Cinemas, especially the view from the second floor out over Lough Atalia. There were very few people around when I was there, and in fact there were only four of us in the theater.

I thought the "Ghost in the shell" movie was quite well done, and very well captured the feel and look of the anime, and of course Scarlett Johansen in a tightly fitting costume is always lovely to look at. My biggest complaint, oddly enough, was the hairstyle she always had which I found rather annoying.

I used my Irish iPhone to call for a cab and after he dropped me off back here I moved my car around from where I'd left it in front to closer to the entrance on the side of this wing. The lot was still fairly busy then, and was also when I looked after dinner, so I had to park down at the far end of the wing (actually almost parallel to my rooms) rather than as close to the elevator as I'd like since I have to haul my stuff down to pack before I leave. After I finish these notes I think I'll go out and see if I can move the car any closer to the elevator.

I then set out to find the two Oliver Plunkett churches, one of which supposedly is closer to here than the other so I went to the closest one first. It's another newer church which I didn't go into because it was pretty obvious there was a funeral service going on either in the church itself or in one of the buildings attached to it since there was a hearse in the parking lot. There is an official connection between the church and the army barracks not far way, which I haven't been able to find any information about online other than its history. It's a rather nice, modern church so I took pictures of the outside and wandered around to take some of the little grotto in back.

I then followed Google Maps's directions over to where the other St Oliver Plunkett church was supposed to be, the one that has a picture of town homes when you click on its icon, and that is indeed what's there when Google Maps told me I had arrived. It wasn't a wasted trip, though, since the walks were in rather pleasant neighborhoods with huge sports parks.

I headed back here to the hotel and stopped off at the Spar convenience/grocery store across the street for some pocket packs of tissues and some chocolate milk. I hung out here in my room and as I said worked on updating my podcasts playlists before dinner.

Tonight was the special Moroccan evening in the hotel's restaurant and it was very busy when I got there at 7:30 PM. Dinner included a delicious soup, a small tray with small servings of four different appetizers, four choices for the main course, and two for the dessert. I had the couscous with four different types of meat and then the pana cotta for dessert.

That's it for tonight. My pickup for the Connemara trip tomorrow is at 8:30 out by the entrance to reception. I also need to get up early enough to drop a load of laundry off before having breakfast. I'm sure Pat & Anne (probably Anne, actually) will offer to do a load of laundry for me when I'm staying at their lovely B&B from Saturday through Tuesday nights but I might as well just have one done while I'm here. When I get back to the hotel from the trip tomorrow evening I should probably send Pat & Anne an email letting them know I should be there mid to late afternoon on Saturday with my Irish phone number and offering to call or send them an email when I leave Foynes (two hours to Dingle from there) so they'll have some idea when I might arrive.

Time to see if I can move my car any closer and finish my small glass of port before bed.

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