Festival city

One of the things we really appreciate about Galway is the tremendous number of festivals it hosts.  As I type, the 60th annual Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival is well under way.  This year they’ve built this huge pavilion on the Fishmarket (apropos, eh?) at the Spanish Arch to accommodate the guests and events.  Today we were having lunch on Quay Street and saw at least two separate parades!

At the beginning of September we had the 3rd annual Oscar Wilde Festival, a celebration of the man and his western Ireland roots.  I have attended one or more of the functions of this particular festival each year because I am a huge fan of Mr. Wilde; this year it was a play written by a local author called “Kicking Oscar’s Corpse”.  Next month we’re going to see two shows at the annual Comedy Festival: Tommy Tiernan and Rich Hall.  The main venue for the festival is the Spiegeltent Paradiso, an amazing looking structure that should lend a bit of panache to the event and the city.

June and July typically bring the most popular festivals to town.  This summer we attended a play and numerous art shows during the Galway International Arts Festival, a huge to-do that brings in artists both famous and no-so-famous, and a showcase play or two starring well-known actors of Irish descent.  This year we were visited by John Mahoney (Fraser’s dad) and Cillian Murphy.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see either of the plays they were in but we hope to rectify that next year.  While we had a chance to attend the Food Festival, we didn’t see any of the films featured at the Film Fleadh (that’s pronounced “flah” as far as I can tell).  The children’s festival, Baboró, is coming up soon too.

Hardly a month goes by without a festival.  Now that I’ve done a bit of research, I find that no months go by without a festival of one sort or another!

— Cindy

PS: New Jamaican restaurant in town, opens in two weeks but they had a “soft” opening today so we got to stop in and meet the proprietor and have some juice and coffee.  Can’t wait to try the food!



The Absurdist Pipe Band


The Absurdist Pipe Band


The Absurdist Pipe Band


Oyster bar


Comfortable birds

great-titWe have a sweet little garden at the front of our apartment – technically a ground floor town home – that we have decorated with our one lonely pink flamingo, a statue of the Buddha, two gnomes, and two bird feeders.  One feeder has seed and the other has nuts, plus we have put out a bowl with fresh water.  The birds have become very comfortable in the garden.  The finches, robins and dunnocks like the seeds while the tits and finches like the nuts.  All the while the blackbirds enjoy the makeshift bird bath. When the weather is nice, as it has been all summer long and now into the autumn, they provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment.

There are a number of them who like to ‘hang out’ in the bush, and when we open the door or step outside they either start scolding us or fly out of the bush explosively.  We also have a few pigeons in the area which we have named Martha, after Martha Stewart, because like her they are both helpful and a pain in the ass at the same time.  They hover under the seed feeder awaiting stray seeds flying down to the ground.  They sometimes try to jump up into the rosemary bush to get closer to the feeder but that is verboten in Cindy’s rules.  We use that plant for food and I’m not about to have dirty birds polluting that bush!  They have actually learned the rule and only the new Marthas break it.  When one Martha is in the garden she tends to shoo away the other Marthas; they’re so funny!  It’s almost like a Benny Hill skit with one chasing the others around!

So the birds are quite comfy with us.  But we don’t mind, they provide a great deal of enjoyment.  However…  The other day I had the doors to the garden open while sitting at my desk working on my computer when for a moment I heard a small clicking sound.  I listened but the noise stopped.  I then heard the sound again.  Something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  I looked up and realized there was a robin in my kitchen, sitting on the floor just looking around!  Quelling the panic in my chest I just sat still.  The bird thankfully hopped back toward the door and I shooed him the rest of the way outdoors.  Amazingly enough, the next day one of the Marthas came inside as well!  She didn’t get very far in before I got her back outdoors too.  I have decided that if the door stays open I have to be sitting in the front room in plain sight so the birdies can see me and know they’re not welcome indoors.

This morning I was sitting watching the birdies and I saw a pretty little great tit on the nut feeder.  I was contemplating how lovely it is to attract so many wonderful birds and how nice a day it was while watching him eat.  All these thoughts were swirling in my head when I looked over at Claude and said, “The tits really like the nuts.”  It took about one-half of one second before I realized what I had said aloud – and burst into laughter!  Couldn’t believe I’d said that!

— Cindy

Crunchy leaves

I can’t believe the leaves are still crunchy this late in the season. It has been unusually dry and warm lately. But the more the merrier, as the return of late summer makes people very happy.

We are off to a play with an American friend this afternoon, the final part of the Oscar Wilde Festival weekend. It is called “Kicking Oscar’s Corpse” and was written by a Galway poet and playwright, Brendan Murphy. Afterward we are having lunch with our companion, then over to the university for an exhibition of motorized boats. Talk about diversity of entertainment!

The garden is full of happy birds and plants. The house is full of happy people. Termination of trajectory going as planned!