Europe, Ireland

Galway City, West Coast wonder

No Comments 8 November 2010

Galway City, West Coast wonder

During his 2002 trip to the Emerald Isle, the Monkey crossed the country to visit Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland. Originally a fishing village, Galway is a small but lively city renowned for its pubs and folk music scene. It is considered the center of the Gaeltacht, the main Irish-speaking areas of the nation. Care for some crack?

Galway, Ireland
Here, the Monkey pauses for a photo on a dramatic day in Galway City, with the waters of the River Corrib rushing toward the merger with the Atlantic Ocean, the clouds threatening rain, and some colorful waterfront houses bearing witness to it all.

Galway Cathedral, Ireland
Galway City’s Cathedral is a massive, modern building. Finished in 1965, the exterior is the same weighty limestone found throughout the west of Ireland, and the interior features marble floors quarried from nearby Connemara. The Monkey was particularly impressed by the acoustics of the great hall, which complemented the cathedral’s impressive organ.

Guinness in Galway, Ireland
Sláinte, Ap! That’s Irish for “Cheers, Monkey.” The Monkey measures up against a pint of Guinness Stout at Tign Neachtains pub in Galway City. Galway’s pubs are a guaranteed good time.

A pub is as good a place as any to bring up the Irish fondness for crack. As writer Carolyn Farrar explained: “Crack means a good time, a good conversation, an interesting encounter. Common greetings are ‘What’s the crack?’ ‘Any crack with you?’ ‘How was the crack last night?’ People, places and events—the good ones, anyway—are commonly described as good crack, or great crack, or even brilliant crack. Everyone in Ireland wants to have the crack.” The Monkey recommends caution using those catchy greetings around law enforcement in other countries.

Spanish Arch, Galway, Ireland
The Monkey poses in front of one of Galway’s famous landmarks, the Spanish Arch. An extension of the old city walls, the Arch was built in 1582 to protect ships unloading cargo at the quays. With Britain and Spain at war during that era, Spanish galleons trading with Ireland frequently used the arches, hence the name.

Spanish Arch, Galway, Ireland
Another view of the Monkey at Galway’s Spanish Arch, with a low lying November sun flaring the edge of the shot. From this angle you get a better view of a segment of the city walls.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1360 times since the 2010 website relaunch.



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4,156,119 (2008)

Land area:

68,890 sq. km.


Dublin (pop: 495,781; 2005)


In 2006, Ireland ranked 8th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 29th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $52,892.89. Public debt accounts for 24.9 percent of total GDP, while 7 percent of Irish are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):

English, Gaelic

Monkey's name:

The Monkey, Ap (Ah-p)

Fun fact:

Ireland’s 1845-1850 potato famine is an infamous historical tragedy that resulted in some one million deaths and mass emigration. But it is also a travesty. While a blight did wipe out potato crops, a staple food of the Irish peasant, Ireland’s farms still produced sufficient food to feed the population. Unfortunately, much of that food was exported to Britain by colonial landlords. Thus the suffering caused by a natural disaster was augmented by profit-oriented human decisions—an unfortunate trend that continues around the world today.

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