I lost my heart to Galway…

The lovely Cathedral and Salmon Weir bridge (donnasheets via Flickr)

This was supposed to be part of a series of diaries, but like most of my series, I did never finish it, or even continue it. Some thoughts on moving to Galway. Appeared in Sin on September 26 2011. 

Do you remember how you felt on your last day of primary school? Or for that matter, the day you finished your Leaving Cert? When you think back on the day, wasn’t it sunny? Isn’t some appropriate hit of the time playing in your head? You felt alive, young, full of promise, delicious fear at what lay ahead. It was the start of the summer.

That feeling hit me all over again this May as I finished my last ever exams in UL. Some friends would be staying on to do Masters and even PhDs in my alma mater; others hit the emigration train. Some even got jobs (though rumour of paid employment is unsubstantiated and may in fact be an urban legend). But I moved to Galway.

I had four very interesting years in UL but I was absolutely sick of the place. Fourth year was a long slog as my QCA at the end of third year was pretty awful. The library staff knew me by name and I hardly went out, but it was all worth it when I came out with a 2.1.

Just enough to get me into NUI Galway and well, here I am. My first proper visit to Galway was just over a month ago. I fell in love. It’s hard to define what exactly is so great about the city, but its busyness has to be a factor. Going shopping in Limerick city centre is a rather depressing exercise, wandering past countless “For Sale” and “To Let” signs before packing it in and getting the bus to the Crescent Shopping Centre; Galway’s city centre is vibrant and alive. I loved the walk to the college from town, passing the gurgling Corrib and the striking Cathedral into the beautiful Victorian university itself. I love that it’s quicker to walk to the bus station than wait for a city centre bus. The difference with UL could not be more pronounced.

Any complaints? Well, there’s the unbelievably bad weather and the chaotic traffic system, and the lack of orientation for us Masters students. On the plus side, there’s terrific nightlife where everyone is up for the craic, the high standard of guys (you’d be lucky to spot one looker in three nights in Limerick), the friends I’ve made already and the fact that I’m doing something I really enjoy.

I think I might have that summer feeling all the way through September.

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