More Depressing Irish Poetry [Excerpts Part Five]

Wednesday, 7 March
Sleepzone (Galway)

After cuddling with the reputedly unfriendly cat Daisy, we left Derry this morning for Galway. Today was set to be our high mileage day, as we drove through the countryside of Counties Donegal and Mayo, which most people slept through. The bus is excruciatingly hot. There is no air conditioning. Every time we hop off we die of hypothermia. Every time we get back on we are lulled to sleep by our own body warmth. Otherwise I really don’t have anything against a long drive through the Irish countryside.

SligoWe are missing several friends now. All the ten day tour people have stayed behind in Derry to be collected by another guide. I miss them already, but I can’t complain about the bus being more spacious! It’s great having two seats to myself now that there’s no oxygen. We’re losing Josh the Aussie in Galway and picking up four more. For now I will enjoy the luxury (?). I’m keen to inject that fresh blood to the tour group though. I know it’s Day 3, but we need a little more craic – as they say.

So much for group dynamics.

I don’t remember much before our lunch stop in Sligo. Let’s just say ‘stuff happened’, because probably The Driver told a story, or I saw something out the window, it just wasn’t spectacular enough to remember. Sligo is a very quaint and empty sea-side town with a roaring surf beach. It was hard to navigate the foreshore for the bitter wind so my clique of four Aussies – Josh, Phil the Personal trainer, Sinead from Paris, and Tiahna (the girl who got manhandled in Part One) – and the other Kiwi, Robyn, made for the pub. Over lunch we had a fabulous chat about the Wiggles and a bunch of things only we could understand. The girls are going nuts about the song Galway Girl and Tiahna went nuts when it came over the radio. We all sang along at lung-tops. I decided I’d rather hurl myself into the ocean that listen to that song again, so I went for a walk.

Sligo seemed very empty, but I don’t blame it since it’s still very much Winter. The streets were deserted. I felt like there wasn’t a living soul in any of the houses. While waiting for the bus I did see a few brave men out for a round of golf. Nice to see people can enjoy the sunshine even when one can’t feel it!

We visited out daily cemetery as we drove the windy, hedgerowed back roads to pay homage to the ever tragic William Butler Yeats. Aside from being one of the leading literary figures across the UK and Ireland during the 20th Century, Yeats made a name for himself by being exceptionally tragic. He was obsessed, with a woman named Maud Gonne, some irony there, who rejected his proposals three times and then married someone else. As a classic Irishman, he went on to write a lot of depressing Irish poetry. He is buried at Drumcliffe in County Sligo despite having died in France.

With poems entitled such things as A First Confession, A Last Confession, and A Drunken Man’s Praise of Sobriety I think one get’s a very good idea about what Yeat’s life was like. Sarcasm aside he did take his inspiration from a very picturesque part of Ireland. Walking around the water today has definitely inspired me. Have taken one or two decent photos to remember it by.


Holly drumcliffe sligo


A Dream Of Death

I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand,
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land,
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
She was more beautiful than thy first love,
But now lies under boards.

– W. B. Yeats

Depression contained, we arrived in The Quays GalwayGalway with enough time to do some exploring before our impromptu pub crawl at nine. Sinead and I satiated our retail needs at TK Maxx and I managed the first decent shower in some time. Not the first shower, mind, just the first decent one. We met the new people at the pub. A pair of guys from London and a pair of girls from Germany. I had a welcome chat with them and they seem nice. By the time we got down to The Quays we were all a few drinks down and that made the dancing seem more awesome. The pub itself is really cool and labyrinth like with stairs in strange places. It has two mezzanines opposite each other and one must go down stairs from the bar at the entrance to the floor bar and then climb back up again.

drunk walk home galwayAt half past one (and one beloved blue cardigan lost) we left inebriated enough to sing Galway Girl all the way back to the hostel. Apparently, finding our way back was once again my responsibility. Fortunately my internal compass is always fantastic. We did get distracted by Oscar Wilde’s statue on the journey, however. When we got back I realised I was missing people and ended up waiting up until 3am for the last two (and youngest) to get back. Not worried enough to go out an look, apparently. Turned out they lost us pretty much as soon as we walked out of the pub.

That’s how we roll.


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