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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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