The Irish Gap Year “Gappers” took a trip to the beautiful city of Galway, on the Wild Atlantic Way, this weekend to check out the quirky cobbled streets, the live music on every corner, the electric atmosphere and one of Ireland’s oldest Universities, NUI Galway.
It was many of the Gappers first experience staying in a city hostel and Kinlay house was a rather wonderful introduction to the hostel world, with a very multicultural client base, friendly communal areas and pretty fancy accommodation. The food culture in Galway is fantastically varied and of a very high standard, it was amazing to have so many delicious options after a few weeks in small town Ireland. Everyone took the evening to explore the new surroundings and check out the local nightlife.
Saturday morning brought us on a tour of NUIG (National University of Ireland, Galway) getting many of the Gappers excited about the possibility of University life. The campus was glowing with autumn leaves and quiet enough for us to have a proper ramble about. The original college halls are beautifully preserved and very much still in daily use.
In the afternoon we were treated to a talk with Leo Holding, a world renowned rock climber (and Karl’s new “best friend” ;)) at the Why Not? Adventure Sports Film Festival. Many of us were so motivated and excited by the talk that we stayed on to watch the short films nominated for awards. It was inspiring and awesome, in the literal sense of the word, to see the capabilities and incredible feats of the adventure enthusiasts.
On Sunday morning we braced the open seas to have our own mini adventure on Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands.
We enjoyed a hearty meal in one of the local pubs trying our best to order in Irish as it is a Gaelteacht region (Irish is the spoken language in these areas). With full bellies we biked around the island taking in the incredible views, friendly local wildlife (donkeys) and historical landmarks in the form of Hill Forts and sea stacks.
It was a rush to make the final ferry back to the mainland but the whole crew made it home safe, exhausted and smiling.
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