We’d already been in the Galway area for two nights, but we’d yet to actually explore the city itself. So that was the mission on this day. Goal #1: Get Doris a Claddagh ring. Apparently the ring had to be purchased in Galway, since this is where the ring hails from. (Technically, it comes from a fishing village named Claddagh, which sits just outside of Galway, but whatevers.)
Once that was out of the way, we were free to do as we wished with our day. The first thing I noticed as we walked around the city was the number of buskers that lined the streets. Every day is Buskerfest in Galway. There were pre-teen girls playing the violin, teenage boys playing Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl,” and old guys doing whatever the hell this is supposed to be.
If you’re ever in Galway and you love a good bookstore, I would highly recommend Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. I challenge you to walk out of there without a book in hand. Doris somehow scrounged up the willpower, but I sure couldn’t. I bought a book called Modern Gods by a Northern Irish author by the name of Nick Laird. Can’t tell you if it’s any good or not, because it’s now waiting for me back in Canada. Doris took it home for me. (Along with nine other books we scrounged up. More on that in time.)
Galway proved to be a teaser to what we would experience in Edinburgh–both cities had their respective Fringe Festivals running while we were there. We had some time to kill before catching the show we had bought tickets for, and so we did what any self-respecting person with time on their hands would do in Galway: We went to Salt House.
The play itself was interesting, but it wasn’t what the summary described it as. It was about a young misunderstood boy who often found himself in trouble and a girl who lived in the dreams and fantasies in her head because they felt more real to her than the real world. It was very Bonnie and Clyde. However, we expected the play to revolve more around the pressures of teenagers living in a pop culture, social media, and technology-driven world. There wasn’t much of that at all.
Still an interesting play with a well-designed method of storytelling, though. Despite the play only featuring four characters for the most part, there were a dozen actors onstage, most of them dressed all in black. The majority of them were a sort of collective well-choreographed narrator that danced around the characters like invisible ghosts that haunted them.
The young man did a fantastic job of playing the Holden Caulfield-type. The entire story rested on his shoulders, and he carried that pressure well.
After the play, we headed to Chris and Mona’s. They were our hosts for the evening. They were also our two new favourite people in the world. Have you ever met somebody so genuinely kind-hearted, cheerful, and friendly that you found yourself thinking, “This person is too good for this world”? That’s Chris and Mona to a tee. Doris and I joked to each other that we should sell all of our belongings and buy up the house next to theirs just so we could be their neighbours.
Sadly, our game of Cards Against Humanity was cut short, as their dog had not returned from her day out, and it was now dark. Mona and Christian drove around the neighbourhood, while Doris and I walked around closer to the house. Our searches came up empty, and everybody understandably called it a night.
Thankfully, at about 2 or 3 in the morning, Doris woke me up screaming in a whisper, “Uri! The dog came back!” And sure enough, there he was. Pup spent the rest of the night sleeping beside our bed.
The following morning, I heard Mona getting ready for work, and I rushed outside to tell her the news. She cupped her hand to her mouth to cover her face. She was overwhelmed with emotion and relief. She came in to call the dog out of our room, but pupster was still exhausted from the adventures of the previous day, and wasn’t quite yet ready to get up. Eventually, Mona just came over and picked up the dog herself, carrying him upstairs to share the good news with Chris, who had apparently been distraught all night.
It’s great when stories have a happy ending.