Off to the Races

As kind of a last minute idea, a group of friends decided to go down to Galway to be part of the famous horse race festival. Now, I’ve been to Galway twice already, and I was aware that it was a party town. Nothing prepared me for a crowded, massive event like the races.

We stayed in an AirBnB place that was right in the middle of town. Now, with AirBnB, you are actually staying in someone’s real house/flat/etc and they are going somewhere else for the time you are there. The place we stayed was on Kirwans lane, and was seriously central to the pedestrian area of Galway, aka Party Central. We headed there on Friday July 25th after work, and a coworker (who was heading home to Galway anyways) drove me, Gina, and Brittney down. He didn’t stay with us, but I was able to meet the flat owner and get a key and tour of the place. I’m spoiled with my apartment in Dublin, but this was a neat place. A little weird because it has to be super vertical with being in the city center. To flights up to the door, another flight to the living room and kitchen, then another flight of stairs to a bathroom and 2 bedrooms. There was nothing race-oriented that we could get to that night, so we waited for Ciaran and Gary to get to the apartment and we decided to go out. We tried to go to the Radisson, where the big part was, but it was already closed to new entry when we got there around 11.. The Irish and their cut off times…

Went back into town, which was fine, because we were so close to the apartment! Had a relatively early night, because the next day was the day of the races. Oh, and there was a samurai sword in the apartment that we all posed with .

Sara and the Sword

Sara and the Sword

learning to Irish Dance!

learning to Irish Dance!

the Girls out in the Skeff

the Girls out in the Skeff

Woke up and put ourselves through the paces of getting ready to go to the races. Now, this is a classy affair. You have to have a hat or a fascinator… please see below for the fascinator that I borrowed from a coworker:

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Reminds you of the royal wedding, right? I must get one to bring them in style to the states. It’s like a headband that I wore, and it didn’t matter what the rest of my hair did! It was amazing.

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Take aways from the race:

1. Betting is serious. You had to bet with a specific bettor, and then if you won, collect from that same one. They are yelling at you, the prices change per horse, and it’s stressful! I won a little, but some friends won hundreds of Euros! It’s a skill…

2. No matter where I go, someone will play Wagon Wheel. This is probably the fifth time I have heard the song played here, and everyone knows the words! Its amazing. I tell people- “I’m from the land of the pines!! This is North Carolina!” and they don’t know what that means….

3. If you think your hat/fascinator is ridiculous, it’s not. I felt like I had a plate on the side of my head, and I wish I could have taken pictures of the crazy things that I saw.

4. It’s Ireland, so it will probably rain. It did, but there was a cover for us.

5. It’s Ireland, so even though it’s July, you need a jacket. I did.

Me and Maeve

Me and Maeve

Gina and Brittney

Gina and Brittney

After the races, we finally made it to the Radisson, and it was a let down compared to the stories we heard from the night before. Next year, we know what nights to go to the hot spots! I came out of the races even with my bets- which I consider good. I hate betting and losing money… But I’m envious of my friends that came out with more money!

Gina with her winnings!

Gina with her winnings!

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Funny story to demonstrate how small Ireland is, especially in each town… On Friday night, we got in a cab with a driver from Africa that Brittney talked to the entire ride from the Radisson back to the pedestrian area. On Saturday after the races, we got in a cab after waiting about 45 minutes for a cab large enough to take all 6 of us… and it was the same driver! Things got a little hairy when he took the back roads, but he saved a lot of time. Good thing he liked us from the night before!

Is July over yet!?!?! Phew!

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