Whether it’s stopping for a scone at Griffin’s Bakery, attending service at St. Nicholas, perusing the Saturday market, meeting friends at a pub, or tossing a handful of change into a young street performer’s guitar case as he strums away, I adore this city and its people. My second month in Galway has been just as crazily wonderful as the first, if not a bit more blustery and damp. I continue to enjoy classes, spending time with other students, and embarking on weekend adventures.
Highlights of October include excursions to the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher, afternoons of craic with the Archery Society, NUI Galway’s fall play in which my American friend Meghan rocked the lead role, karaoke night at Fibber McGees pub and other evenings in town, and the Galway horse races. Moments like biking through the gorgeous Aran Islands practicing Irish with our program director (“Tá sé go hálainn, buíochas le Dia!”—“It’s beautiful, thanks be to God!”) or trying to explain cheese curds to my Irish friends and Alaskan friend are pieces of the everyday turning into cherished memories.
One of the biggest differences I have experienced between Irish and American society is the pace of life. Unlike American society, with strict start times and life structured around a clock, Irish people choose a more relaxed schedule. For example, in the beginning of October, I traveled with a group of my American friends to the charming town of Killarney in County Kerry. Before going to dinner, we stopped into Gaelic Gelato to ask the clerk what time they closed. The girl smiled and shrugged, “Oh, between 8:00 and 9:00.” We paused, then asked, “So….8:30?” The girl grinned. “Sure!” Similarly, I have been to society meetings that supposedly begin at 8:15 but don’t get around to starting until 9:00. Yet this provides the opportunity to chat and make more connections with people.
In the doughnut man’s words to me as I waited for his oil to warm up at the Saturday market, “you can’t rush a good thing.” So while my time in Ireland is flying by much too fast, I’m taking the Irish approach and savoring every moment. Slán!