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Adorable Chick

UK & IRELAND diary : Day 16 - 26th April 2017

Similar in style to Kilkenny town, the Galway city is a part of western Ireland and is one known to be highly populated. It is referred to as the cultural heart of the country, owing to its various celebrations and Art festival. The city is soaked in traditional Irish music and dance, which is displayed in all streets, pubs, festivals and events, throughout the year. Irish language is of great prominence here. The closest city to this is Dublin, which is nearly 200 kms away. In October 2020, the city was ranked as the FRIENDLIEST among all European cities -as published in the IRISH MIRROR. The famous CLADDAGH (finger) RING, originated here. The " two hands holding a heart with a crown" design of this ring is said to signify, friendship, love and loyalty.

We got to visit this simple place, as a part of Wild Rover day tour from Dublin City, after visiting the Atlantic coast ( read CLIFFS OF MOHER and BURREN). It was much after noon. The city indeed was highly populated. The narrow, busy roads, filled with active shops and restaurants on either sides poured in that oomph of energy, which we easily felt when we got there. Despite seeming so busy, the lifestyle seemed relaxed. People all around were smiling and greeting us. Our tour guide didn't waste much time. We walked from the parking lot , through the streets to reach a building. The first of the stories began at the LYNCH'S CASTLE.

The LYNCH's CASTLE is a stone building, occupying a corner, at the junction of SHOP Street and ABBEYGATE street. The Lynches were a powerful and influential tribal family for generations. Nearly 84 members from this family served the post of "Mayor of Galway", over a period of time. They were occupants of this four storey building since the 16th Century. It was built as a fortified castle to gain protection from attacks and raids. The so called castle still wears the 16th century look. What came to our views is the striking facade slab, sculpted with ornamental mouldings and carved structures. This building is said to have out beaten all the others, during its times, for having the most number of such sculptures.

Tidy Desk

Today, the ground floor of this building serves as a bank (AIB). Few of the panels in the bank also sing the glory of this castle and detail its history and architecture. One can read it if interested, during the working hours of the bank.

The group was led by the guide to, moving further down the Abbeygate street and taking a left into Market street, for the next story. We were asked to gather in front of a strange place, where stood a stone wall with a window on top of it. It was called the LYNCH'S MEMORIAL WINDOW.

We listened to the guide in rapt attention. The story goes as follows : James Lynch, the then Mayor of Galway, had a son Walter Lynch who was involved with a woman named Agnes. Walter suspected of her affair with a Spanish man and in a fit of rage, jealousy and revenge, murdered the Spaniard. The Mayor was forced to put law and justice above his sentiments, resulting in him sentencing his own son to be "hanged until death". On the scheduled date , with a heavy heart, he himself pushed Walter to death from the window of their house, after kissing him goodbye and looping a noose around his neck. He also held on to the rope till his son was no more, to prove his sense of justice to the public. This wall, is the only salvaged portion of the house in which they lived and today serves as a MEMORIAL to the world.

The Adjacent building to this memorial is the ST. NICHOLAS COLLEGIATE CHURCH. It is a medieval , 14th century Church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, who was known to be a patron of children and Mariners. It is said that in the 15th Century, Christopher Columbus offered his prayers here, before his voyage.

His successful tour and discoveries, set a trend for Mariners to offer prayers here before beginning their voyages, ever since. We were attracted by the simplicity and cleanliness of the church's interiors. The large painted glass, on the wall right at the centre, reflected sunlight into the Church. The pillars were made of stone upto half way their length. These roundish stoned pillars, arched upward to connect with each other. These arches were probably an effort of recent reconstruction, as per our observation. The church also had many interesting memorials and monuments. One such memorial, in the name of Major Arthur Neville Wayne, caught our attention. He had apparently breathed his last in Jallandhar, India. Some Indian connection there :)).

The long story telling, finally came to an end. We were given enough time to explore the city on our own, before we headed back to our tour bus. We were now on our way back to Dublin. We reached Kinvarra in 40 minutes time and suddenly, we had a surprise stop. The guide directed us to view the DUNGUAIRE CASTLE from our seats. Architectured in the early 16th Century, this fascinating, relatively small built castle is a tower house. It overlooks the Galway bay on the South eastern side. Such Tower houses were built during the Middle Ages in remote or relatively inaccessible areas, to plan defence for strategic points, using reduced forces. We were able to capture the essence of this beautiful castle, before we got on our way to Dublin City.