A Galway Greeting

  • West Coast of Ireland
  • Saturday 15th December – Wednesday 19th December 2018

    A visit to Ireland is always like home from home…very scenic and green with some beautiful land…similar to that of Scotland.

    As we are here for only a short surprise stay there are a few plans but not too many…a definite plan was to tick of my very first Irish hill, no matter the weather and it was going to be a very special one for various reasons.

    So our flight landed in Dublin airport and from there we headed on a short 3 hour drive to Galway.

    Salthill, Galway

    Galway Bay

    Galway City was pleasantly ‘Christmasy’ and the town centre accessorised well for Santa’s visit!

    Eyre Square

    We spent our first few days with family and friends, checked out the Christmas market, walked the famous ‘prom’ whilst kicking the famous wall and visited the Spanish Arch.

    Tradition states that you must kick the wall at the end of the pier when you walk. If you watch, every single person does this.

    BlackRock Pier

    The Spanish Arch is one of two remaining arches on the Ceann an Bhalla (“Front Wall”). These arches were part of the extension of the city wall built as a measure to protect the city’s quays, which were in the area once known as the Fish Mark.

    We also took a drive out to Conamara and The Ghaeltacht which is what the Irish would use to describe a region whereby people speak the Irish language.

    Here we stopped off at Maam Cross to visit the famous Quiet Man Cottage and Bridge, made extra famous in the movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara…again another childhood movie as it was a favourite of mum and dad!

    Waiting on ‘Big John’ bringing in the cowboy coffee as my dad would say

    Maureen O’Hara could have made a bit of an effort and brushed her hair before our visit!

    We held off for the best day weather wise which was going to be our hill day but the best day did not come as we had chosen a slightly wet and windy few days to visit the Emerald Isle.

    Our last full day arrived so this was going to have to be our hill day and today we had decided to climb Croagh Patrick for various reasons.

    Croagh Patrick is the holiest hill in the whole of Ireland if not the world and if you Google it you will see why.

    The idea of climbing Croagh Patrick has drawn two different flocks of believers. The first being the many believers who arrive in tens of thousands on Reek Sunday (last Sunday in July) and some who ‘faithfully’ still climb to the top barefoot or on hands and knees, as they believe it reduces purgatorial sentence.

    Now all I can say is from top to bottom it was boulders, the whole way, so how they do this or want to do this or are able to walk again I’ll never know but they do.

    There is a pub at the bottom of this hill along with a place of worship…I wondered which would be the fullest before and after the hike in barefoot!!

    Infact its stated that 25,000 pilgrams climb this hill on Reek Sunday (reek being Irish for hill) whereby they honour Ireland’s patron saint by celebrating mass at the top…and guess what…there is actually a real stone church at the top of this mountain.

    This church on the summit of Croagh Patrick was built in 1905, with all building materials being local and it was drawn up the hill on donkey or horseback and at the time of build cost approximately one hundred pounds.

    Then there’s the second group which is a bit like ourselves who simply love a good view point especially over County Mayo and nearby Conamara, who enjoy a good day on the hills, who believe a hike is good for the spirit in general no matter the hill, and mostly because the hill is named Patrick and well…it’s Irish!

    So off we started and within four minutes of walking the heavens opened up and the waterproofs were resurrected.

    The hill was pretty much straight up from the start and very very stoney.

    Most of the way up in my head I was thinking how do they walk up here in bare foot, why would they want to and if they are doing it that way then my god there must be some serious sinners out there!!

    So Andy the serious sinner decided to cleanse his soul and give it a go…I didn’t…but I said a prayer for him as he went on his way…it lasted a full five seconds!

    As we climbed we kept looking up wondering where this church was but we couldn’t see a thing.

    The rain blew in and out and at one point we got blasted by a full on wild and wet wind which made climbing over rocks and boulders slightly more difficult…I wonder if this is the reason we were the only two people on the hill this day.

    Eventually, thank the lord, we were at the top…saw some blue skies and low and behold, there was the church of St Patrick….

    ….and low and behold we could not enter as it was closed for winter! Really!!!

    We stayed a bit, took some photos then headed down which was pretty tricky on wet and loose gravel/stones/rocks without our grippy boots on…slightly prepared not fully!

    Once down we checked out the scenic village of Murrisk which lies at the foot of Croagh Patrick and then we were on our way.


  • A visit to Ireland is always like home from home…very scenic and green with some beautiful land…similar to that of Scotland.

    As we are here for only a short surprise stay there are a few plans but not too many…a definite plan was to tick of my very first Irish hill, no matter the weather and it was going to be a very special one for various reasons.

    So our flight landed in Dublin airport and from there we headed on a short 3 hour drive to Galway.

    Salthill, Galway

    Galway Bay

    Galway City was pleasantly ‘Christmasy’ and the town centre accessorised well for Santa’s visit!

    Eyre Square

    We spent our first few days with family and friends, checked out the Christmas market, walked the famous ‘prom’ whilst kicking the famous wall and visited the Spanish Arch.

    Tradition states that you must kick the wall at the end of the pier when you walk. If you watch, every single person does this.

    BlackRock Pier

    The Spanish Arch is one of two remaining arches on the Ceann an Bhalla (“Front Wall”). These arches were part of the extension of the city wall built as a measure to protect the city’s quays, which were in the area once known as the Fish Mark.

    We also took a drive out to Conamara and The Ghaeltacht which is what the Irish would use to describe a region whereby people speak the Irish language.

    Here we stopped off at Maam Cross to visit the famous Quiet Man Cottage and Bridge, made extra famous in the movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara…again another childhood movie as it was a favourite of mum and dad!

    Waiting on ‘Big John’ bringing in the cowboy coffee as my dad would say

    Maureen O’Hara could have made a bit of an effort and brushed her hair before our visit!

    We held off for the best day weather wise which was going to be our hill day but the best day did not come as we had chosen a slightly wet and windy few days to visit the Emerald Isle.

    Our last full day arrived so this was going to have to be our hill day and today we had decided to climb Croagh Patrick for various reasons.

    Croagh Patrick is the holiest hill in the whole of Ireland if not the world and if you Google it you will see why.

    The idea of climbing Croagh Patrick has drawn two different flocks of believers. The first being the many believers who arrive in tens of thousands on Reek Sunday (last Sunday in July) and some who ‘faithfully’ still climb to the top barefoot or on hands and knees, as they believe it reduces purgatorial sentence.

    Now all I can say is from top to bottom it was boulders, the whole way, so how they do this or want to do this or are able to walk again I’ll never know but they do.

    There is a pub at the bottom of this hill along with a place of worship…I wondered which would be the fullest before and after the hike in barefoot!!

    Infact its stated that 25,000 pilgrams climb this hill on Reek Sunday (reek being Irish for hill) whereby they honour Ireland’s patron saint by celebrating mass at the top…and guess what…there is actually a real stone church at the top of this mountain.

    This church on the summit of Croagh Patrick was built in 1905, with all building materials being local and it was drawn up the hill on donkey or horseback and at the time of build cost approximately one hundred pounds.

    Then there’s the second group which is a bit like ourselves who simply love a good view point especially over County Mayo and nearby Conamara, who enjoy a good day on the hills, who believe a hike is good for the spirit in general no matter the hill, and mostly because the hill is named Patrick and well…it’s Irish!

    So off we started and within four minutes of walking the heavens opened up and the waterproofs were resurrected.

    The hill was pretty much straight up from the start and very very stoney.

    Most of the way up in my head I was thinking how do they walk up here in bare foot, why would they want to and if they are doing it that way then my god there must be some serious sinners out there!!

    So Andy the serious sinner decided to cleanse his soul and give it a go…I didn’t…but I said a prayer for him as he went on his way…it lasted a full five seconds!

    As we climbed we kept looking up wondering where this church was but we couldn’t see a thing.

    The rain blew in and out and at one point we got blasted by a full on wild and wet wind which made climbing over rocks and boulders slightly more difficult…I wonder if this is the reason we were the only two people on the hill this day.

    Eventually, thank the lord, we were at the top…saw some blue skies and low and behold, there was the church of St Patrick….

    ….and low and behold we could not enter as it was closed for winter! Really!!!

    We stayed a bit, took some photos then headed down which was pretty tricky on wet and loose gravel/stones/rocks without our grippy boots on…slightly prepared not fully!

    Once down we checked out the scenic village of Murrisk which lies at the foot of Croagh Patrick and then we were on our way.

    So our Ireland visit has quickly and sadly came to an end but a return will be had soon enough to be sure.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    Hi Mary, this all looks familiar, I visited this area with ten other females (friends and friends of friends) we had a great time but not great weather. I seem to remember seeing sculptures at the bottom of Croagh Patrick in memory of the famine, veryy moving. Lovely part of Ireland, Andy’s Mum would have had a lovely surprise when you knocked on the door. Impressed at Andy’s attempt at doing the walk in his bare feet. He definitely hasn’t sinned enough.

    See you both soon Theresa xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there…we never saw any sculptures at the bottom re the famine but that could have just been us rushing to get back to the car out of the dreaded wind and rain!

      Beautiful part of the Country though.

      Yes Andy’s mum and dad were very surprised to see us…their faces were priceless when they opened the door!

      I’m not sure it was worth Andy even taking his socks and shoes off for the limited steps he took lol but at least he attempted it!

      Hope your travels are going well and we will be seeing you very very soon. Take Care x

      Like

  2. Alice Reid says:

    When you mentioned climbing an Irish mountainews my first thought was Crough Patrick so great minds think alike😁 You were very near your Great Grandad’s birthplace which was Runnagry just outside Ballina. There’s another mountain near there too. Think its called the Ox mountains.? Whats the meaning behind kicking the wall? A bit like spitting on the Heart of Midlothian outside St Giles in Edinburgh I suppose !! Glad you enjoyed your Irish break. Have a lovely Christmas. Love/God Bless. Aunty Alice xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi…great minds do think alike and Croagh Patrick it was! Yes my mum said that…I didn’t realise or we could have taken a drive there.

      So yes…the kicking of the wall has almost become a habit which has turned into tradition….you walk the pier, the wall is at the end, you kick it then walk back…that’s basically it really, so had to keep with tradition of course!

      Hope you guys are all sorted for Xmas and have a lovely time whatever you do.

      Lots of love to you and all the family xxx

      Like

  3. Helena Brogan says:

    Another adventure and another hill climbed. Shame Andy didn’t manage to do all the climb in his bare feet or even on his knees😂😂 imagine the church being closed when you got to the top😠 don’t think any burglar would do that climb to nick anything!! Lovely views from the top though. I also wondered about the reasoning behind kicking the wall? Also why the name Spanish Arch? Yes your dad was a great fan of John Wayne and the film The Quiet Man. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas in Kelty and lots of adventures planned for 2019. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes another adventure and even better we managed to squeeze in an Irish hill!

      Yes I was so disappointed in Andy not being able to complete that hill in his bare feet 😂, I really thought he would manage it 😂😂!

      Halfway up I said I bet this church is closed and Andy was adamant it would be open….totally padlocked…kind of rediculous actually as your right who would go up there specifically to ransack a church….and it looked like there was only a large statue of St Patrick inside… who knows!

      Views from the top were lovely and so was the drive to get there.

      If you read my reply to Auntie Alice you will see the simple reason behind the kicking of the wall.

      The Spanish Arch was named as such as this is where Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Armada supposedly stopped of at on their way to discover America!

      Loved the pictures you sent of you guys out for lunch…everyone is looking well.

      Have a great Christmas, enjoy your relaxing dinner, send some pictures and we shall hopefully do the same.

      Love to all the family xxx

      Like

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