We moved on day 6 — the 15th, which also happened to be Heather’s 17th birthday. I can’t say that’s the best time to have a birthday — the day one is taking a train across a country. After we were all packed, the day started ever so slightly painfully in that the 3 cabs we had arranged for did not show up. Once they finally did, about 40 mins late, we raced over to Hueston station with little time to spare to get our train tickets. When we got to the station, it was easy enough to see that our train was leaving from Track 4, easy enough to see right in front of us. I just found out that Jeff got in line to get our tickets — in the line for the men’s’ room! Alas, we got our tickets just in time, and all was fine. Then we ran to the train, had issues with getting all the luggage on, and finally sat together, for the most part. A few kids needed sit with other riders. I sat with an elderly man, and in regular Heidi form, I began to chat him up. Before long, I knew I was now not going to get any reading done on this little train trip. Soon Graham came and sat with us, because I think he was intrigued by the old fellow. As we watched the green countryside go by, seeing lots of cows, horses, sheep, rustic stone walls, and other things Irish, the Irish gentleman spun yarns for us. He told us about his wife, Greta, now dead, whom he call “pal.” He showed us pictures of her, and then pictures of his model trains. He showed us pictures of himself from his boyhood. He made all sorts of wise cracks, and he was not only congenial, but really funny! Then he went to the snack car and got us tea and cakes. He was really quite an incredible man. I know Graham enjoyed his company as much as I did if not more.
As I mentioned, this was a day of travels, that had not gotten off to the best start. There were many instances of crabbiness (on the parts of many of us). It took us awhile, but we finally got transportation to Corrib Village, which is university housing for University College, Galway. Galway itself is a cute town, and the brightly colored houses made us think of Bray, though it is certainly bigger than Bray. The streets are windy here as well, so I am bound to get lost.
Once we got to Corrib Village and got into our rooms, we were delighted to find that the accommodations were MUCH nicer here than in Dublin. The only problem was that there were many Jimmies in our apt’s. Kids were in apt’s in pairs, which meant the two remaining rooms in each apt. were occupied by Jimmies.
So we had to all leave our rooms and get Corrib Village to rearrange our assignments, and we finally ended up in the same building. After we settled in, we went out for a group dinner in Galway to celebrate Heather’s birthday. it ended up being quite a nice evening. We scouted out places for shopping and relaxing the next day, which brings me to day 7…
We woke early and I took four kids on a walk along the river. It was a drizzly Irish morn. Then we had breakfast here, which was a less than appealing breakfast, but it was fine. After some longer writing exercises in honor of Blooms day – I read my favorite passage from Ulysses, we all split up to explore Galway. I shopped a bit, had lunch, made some accommodation arrangements, and watched a bit of a football match in a pub. Making the arrangements was a bit of a cultural adventure, as was ordering a black and tan in a pub – not something the Irish drink. I thought they did. Silly me.
When I was making he accommodations, I was trying to get room on the Aran Island of Inismor. I told the woman at the tourist center that we could also use cots, if the place had them. She said, “The youngest in your group is 15, right?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Cots are for babies.” Apparently, in Ireland, a cot is a crib. Silly me.
Then this evening Molly and Hannah made a multi-course gourmet dinner. It was lovely. Tomorrow we go sightseeing on a tour bus. More to come.