So, the season of winter is coming to a close here in Ireland (which we count as November, December and January, which has been a point of contention with many Europeans I’ve encountered before) and as spring rears its sleepy head it brings with it new adventures for a new year. Not that the adventure really stops here in Galway. It’s a mini New-York, the city on the west coast of Ireland that never sleeps (alright, maybe on Sundays). So, what’s in store for the first few months of 2016? Glad you asked!
Although Galway is the hub of activity on the west coast, the other surrounding areas are no slouches, offering up plenty for the voracious traveller to do. The Aran Islands is one such area, only 3 small masses of land that have plenty to offer, that is of course if you can take your eyes off the gorgeous scenery that stretches out in every direction! So the first upcoming event might bewilder some of our friends beyond Ireland, but to us, it’s the celebration of Irishness itself. That event is TEDFEST. The whole weekend is based on the tv show Father Ted, which if you haven’t seen, stop reading and watch an episode RIGHT NOW. I won’t be offended in the slightest if you choose the show over this blog post – it will help you appreciate all things Irish and will be the only conversation starter you’ll need: “Have you seen that episode of Father Ted where…”. Before you watch it: yes it’s about priests. Yes they’re on an island. And yes, the money was just resting in Ted’s account. But give it a chance, it has a festival dedicated to it after all! People dressed as their favourite characters descend on the island between February 25th to the 28th and take part in many themed events ranging from five-aside football (nuns against priests) to toilet duck comedy awards, buckaroo speed dating, lovely girls contest and A Song For Europe. Buses leave from Galway city every day (right around the corner from Kinlay) to take you to the boat for the islands – get involved in the Catholic debauchery!
If that doesn’t exactly make you jump for joy, (but it will) there’s also the Aran Celtic Music Festival on the islands from the 11th to the 13th of March. The festival showcases the best of Celtic music, song, dance and heritage and brings together prominent musicians and artists for a unique occasion. Hearing the music in the surroundings of the islands is how it was meant to be listened to and it will certainly be a highlight on any travel itinerary!
Coming back to the mainland now though, there’s just as much to do without risking a toe getting wet (but it’s Ireland so…). From 1st to the 17th March, Seachtain na Gaeilge (say Shock-thin na Gwale-ga) is in full swing across all of Ireland, with many events dedicated to the Irish language itself. Everything from music recitals, poetry readings, theatre performances and parades take place across the country all culminating in St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March. It’s a celebration of all things Irish; the language, the culture, the arts, the people. Us Irish are more than willing to welcome any of you not lucky enough to be Irish to pretend for a while, we’ll teach you all of our ways! Or you could just watch Father Ted!
Straight after the Seachtain na Gaeilge Galway is invaded by hungry hordes of foodies for Galway Food Festival running from 24th to the 28th of March. From pizzerias to Asian street food vendors, from falafel enthusiasts to lovers of meaty dishes, every taste is catered for. A huge food market set up in Spanish Arch in the city last year and the streets were full of inviting aromas. If you’re the kind of person who travels for local delicacies and great food in general, this is the weekend you HAVE TO hit Galway. Many events surround the actual food tasting itself such lectures from local producers and chefs and many demonstrations – so if you’ve got a dormant foodie hiding in you, now’s the time to unleash them!
And after all that, if you want to sit back and relax or work off all that fine food you’ve devoured, you’re in luck, as during the month of March, Galway Dance Days Festival gets underway. Galway Dance Days Festival (it’s in the name really) is an arts festival focussing on the medium of dance in all its shapes. Companies from all over the world, as well as national and local artists collaborate in presenting dance shows and workshops to the public in an effort to spread knowledge on the topic as well as to show how available dance is to every member of society, even those of you that swear you’re born with two left feet! It’s a fantastic programme of events that whets the appetite for all things creative, as well as the impending summer of arts that’s to follow with Galway Theatre Festival and Galway International Arts Festival . But, you’ve plenty to be thinking about in the coming months without me detailing any more – but rest assured you’ll hear more about them in the future! So, come explore everything on offer in Galway and the surrounding areas and call into us here at Kinlay to see what we can do to help you in your travels!