Galway ‘summer’, and travelling without moving

I’m coming back to the UK this week to get a bit of sun. That might seem like a massive contradiction in terms, but only if you’ve never spent a summer in Galway. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Galway as a city. In fact, my feelings about the place couldn’t be in much more stark contrast to how Dublin made me feel. It’s a friendly place; the kind of place where you meet people just by being there and if you stand at the bar in a pub for more than five minutes someone will come over and talk to you. It’s all great, except for the fact that my one abiding memory of this last month or so is already in no doubt: the sound of rain pounding off the angled windows of our living room. As for the trip home, it’s inevitably going to rain for the entire two weeks I’m back, of course, but then there’s always time with the family, the chance to catch up with (increasingly few) friends (could they really be much more spread across the country right now? – I guess having been out of the country for all but a month since graduating I can hardly complain) and the small matter of Radiohead live (and a night sat outside tents drinking copious amounts of beer) on Sunday to look forward to too.

The series of articles I’m putting together right now couldn’t be much worse in terms of causing itchy feet. I have a list of 180 continent/ country/ city destinations, and a contract to produce introductory articles on each one of them at a rate of at least 3 every weekday for the forseeable. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve written about Antarctica, Angola, Cape Verde, Burundi, Denmark and who knows how many others that are all conspiring to give me a serious case of itchy feet. So much so that there’ s a new destination every couple of days that I look at the pictures of, write an introduction to and then decide that it’s an absolute must see. Croatia’s the latest – if you’re stuck for something to do (and you probably are, if you’re reading this), check out some pictures of their national parks online. Just incredible.

Back on the ‘home front’, Roisin Dubh is a real lifesaver. It’s a pub with a nightly selection of live music that is very nearly our local, and gives me something to watch/ review every so often. I’m perhaps a tad too music obsessed, and seeing a few live bands (even if a lot of them aren’t that good) is a pretty good way to spend the evening. Certainly better than watching the new premier league season, which so far has been an unmitigated disaster for my team. Though the Ashes more than makes up for it, even if I was relying on BBC text updates in Ireland for ball-by-ball updates in the library. English pubs aren’t quite as prevalent in Ireland as vice versa!

Tess (from Warwick) randomly appeared in Galway the other day, too. I haven’t seen her since perhaps the second year of university, about six years ago, so to go for a quick pint and try to catch up on six years worth of news was definitely and interesting one. She’s been to Galway nearly every year for an age, and says she never remembers it being very wet. I’m not sure I’m buying that.

Final assorted goings on: my new writing website is now fully up and running, complete with a good few articles (and looking absolutely beautiful, even if I do say so myself – though Sean has to take most of the credit for that). I’d love some feedback on it, both in terms of design and content (or design tips if anyone has an intimate knowledge of WordPress), find it here.

Anyhow, that’s about it for now. Trip home next week, I hope to come back with stories of (at least passable) sunshine.

Until then,

James x

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