The traditional song of 'Galway Bay' has been sung in Irish, and in English - perhaps most famously by Bing Crosby. Many people find it an intensely moving and beautiful song.
When visting at Christmas time however, and listening to Galway Bay FM (the local radio station of course), you are almost bound to hear the words of Fairytale in New York by the Pogues, which mentions the singing of the Galway Bay song. For me at least, the Pogues song conjures up much more easily the atmosphere and craic of the Galwegians.
GALWAY BAY LYRICS :
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay
Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream
The women in the meadows making hay
And to sit beside a turf fire in the cabin
And watch the barefoot gosoons at their play.
For the breezes blowing over the seas from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as it blows
And the women in the uplands diggin' praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know
For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way
They scorn'd us just for being what we are
But they might as well go chasing after moonbeams
Or light a penny candle from a star.
And if there is going to be a life hereafter
And somehow I am sure there's going to be
I well ask my God to let me make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea.
POGUES LYRICS : FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK (Selected verses)
You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on the corner
Then danced through the night
The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing 'Galway Bay'
And the bells were ringing
Out for Christmas day
You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Living there almost dead on a drip
In that bed
You scum bag
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It's our last
Would you have been caught out by this story that follows ? If it had been published on April 1st it would not have raised an eyebrow...but this story was taken seriously in many places, appeared on several 'an finally' TV news pieces. The 'Galway First' freebie newspaper that first published it saw it's website crash when it suddenly had over 2 million hits.
So, here it is :
A man who was found dressed in latex and handcuffs brought a donkey to his room in a Galway city centre hotel, because he was advised "to get out and meet people," the local court heard last week.
Thomas Aloysius McCarney, with an address in south Galway, was charged with cruelty to animals, lewd and obscene behaviour, and with being a danger to himself when he appeared before the court on Friday. He was also charged with damage to a mini-bar in the room, but this charge was later dropped when the defendant said that it was the donkey who caused that damage. Solicitor for the accused Ms Sharon Fitzhenry said that her client had been through a difficult time lately and that his wife had left him and that his life had become increasingly lonely.
"Mr McCarney has been attending counselling at which he was told that he would be advised to get out and meet people and do interesting things. It was this advice that saw him book into the city centre hotel with a donkey," she said. She added that Mr McCarney also suffered from a fixation with the Shrek movies and could constantly be heard at work talking to himself saying things like "Isn't that right, Donkey?"
Supt John McBrearty told the court that Mr McCarney who had signed in as "Mr Shrek" had told hotel staff that the donkey was a family pet and that this was believed by the hotel receptionist who the suspect said was "young and hadn't great English."
Receptionist Irina Legova said that Mr McCarney had told her that the donkey was a breed of "super rabbit" which he was bringing to a pet fair in the city. The court was told that the donkey went berserk in the middle of the night and ran amok in the hotel corridor, forcing hotel staff to call the gardai.
McCarney was found in the room wearing a latex suit and handcuffs, the key to which the donkey is believed to have swallowed. He was removed to Mill St station after which it is said he was the subject of much mirth among the lads next door in The Galway Arms.
He was fined €2,000 for bringing the donkey to the room under the Unlawful Accommodation of Donkeys Act 1837. Other charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.
I guessed as soon as i real the name of the receptionist. Did you ?
Galway City is also known as City of the Tribes' - now gather round for a little history lesson, boys and girls.
There were about 14 'Tribes' who settled in Galway back in the Norman times (1100-1200). They were largely responsible for turning Galway into a profitable trading and merchant port town. Inevitably the families intermarried, as it was unthinkable that an eligible child would marry 'down'. However the Cromwellian armies did their very best to wipe them out in the 1600's.
The Roman Catholic church is still a very powerfull force among the lives of many Galwagians. i write this tip today on Ash Wednesday, and walking down Shop street it was surprising quite how many people had an ashen cross on their forehead... perhaps sackcloth and ashes are the order of the day in this Irish recession.
The week before the start of lent is the time for the 'Solemn Novenas' in Galway. These intensly religious services extend over a period of a week or so and attract many hundreds of worshipers. Rather oddly in Galway the same week is also selected for 'Shag week' at the local university that is located opposite the Cathedral (shag week is not as bad as it sounds - it stands for Sexual Health and Guidance').
Anyway, back to the story. I was walking up past the cathedral carrying a large lastic sack. I noticed what I thought were a couple of burger bar vans in the Cathedral car park. Being a bit peckish I thought I might try one. Having forgot that it was Novena week, I soon realised that they were not selling burgers but row upon row of rosary beads and other catholi paraphanalia. So what was in the bag ? well, I was on my way to help with the aforementioned 'shag week' so it filled to bursting with over 1000 free condoms for students to use. At that point I was struck by a terrifying vision of what might happen if the sack (ver ironic considering the contents) burst all over the steps of the Cathedral as the worshippers exited. Thankfully (as a condom should) the bag held firm and I managed to deliver my load (oo-er misses)
We stumbled on this as we did some "normal" shopping. All kinds of stalls from organic veggies to celtic silver jewellry. Indeed my other half got a nice pendant for her daughter.
The main action tho', was the appearance of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to film a demonstration at one of the stands. The locals came running from all around!
No f... words that I could hear, but the producer (aawfully English) was getting a bit agitated by all the Gaelic rubberneckers!
To be found in Market Street (and surrounding streets), oddly enough!
On our first afternoon in Galway, whilst walking through some of the quaint city streets, my girlfriend asked where we would find Galway hookers...
At first I thought it was some kind of trick question, but didn't quite know how to respond. Her English is fluent, but it is her 3rd language, so mistakes can happen.
Eventually, after some tentative questioning, I discovered that she'd read in her guide book about them. More puzzled, I took a look for myself.
Turns out its a traditional type of rowing boat used for fishing!
Good news is we found some down by the Claddagh, and didn't have to try to find a red light district...
Smirting is a combination of the words smoking + flirting, geddit? It started when people had to go out for a ciggie after the ban was enforced, and got chatting to fellow smokers outside on the street, eyes meeting across a cloud of blue nicotine... ;) So you may just meet a local hottie in this way!!
REMEMBER - Since March 2004, you CANNOT smoke inside bars, cafes or restaurants, or anywhere where people are working (e.g. taxis, offices etc.)
The legislation is officially known as the Public Health (Tobacco) Act, see link to it below for a summary.
You may smoke in outside in the street or in designated smoking areas, but never inside a place where people are working (includes offices, bars, restaurants, shops, shopping centres, taxis, etc)
The irish are very open, so here some tips to pick up girls.
- be careful for the lonely shaven head lads sitting at the bar looking grumpy, they don't like to picking up their irish damsels.
- as families all go out drinking together, find groups of girls or better yet lonely girls.
- check bars if you need a younger crowd.
- be funny and edgy, they like that.
- don't drink toooo much.
The Claddagh is probably our best known custom and also the one that is still practiced today. A large percentage of galway and irish people wear thesen rings and give them to their loved ones. Its probably the least kitcsh tradition to come out of Ireland and one the irish seem most proud of.
Check out Fallers for online selections and they have a great shop in the city
What I noticed at once and observed it as a funny thing, were the chewing gums on the pavements everywhere in the centre of the town. First I thought it is a special stone they make the roads to look dotted, because most of the chewing gums must have been years old ! I wonder since when they produce chewing gums in Ireland, since ages, I would say :o)
Bookmaking is legal in Ireland and we found bookmaking places everywhere. You can bet of football, hurling, GAA games, and horses, dogs.
The Galway Arts Festival happens every year in July. You can see a lot of artists in the streets performing different arts.
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