Big Trouble in Little Galway
During my freshman year of college, a few friends and I decided that we wanted to visit Ireland during spring break. We had the idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, most of our friends, and most college kids in general go to places like Cancun, or Jamaica. While these places are fine and have a lot to offer, we didn’t want to be like everyone else. And, a second and more important point was that flights to Ireland were cheap.
So, after a lot of talking and planning, we finally bought out tickets, and the trip was set. After landing in Dublin and spending a few nights there (nights which have their own certain personality, which I’ll discuss at a later date) we took a train to Galway.
Now, everyone always talks about how amazing the green fields of Ireland are, how vibrant and deep the color is. Well, I can tell you firsthand that they’re absolutely correct. Maybe my favorite part of the week that I spent on my ancestors’ island was passing through the Irish countryside, seeing field after field, with shades of green that I never imagined possible. Sheep would graze placidly, while being enveloped by verdant masses that simply overwhelmed my eyes.
But, my agricultural tour of the fields and farms of Ireland had to come to an end at some point, and it did when we arrived in Galway. Galway is a city that is totally Irish, in that it has signs and touches of foreign influence that mark all facets of it. Ireland was conquered and settled by Vikings, and then continually attacked by the English for centuries. And, due to it being an island, one can expect that a lot of different sailors and sea folk stopped in the country from time to time. This is evident in the Spanish Arch of Galway. From what I have been told, the Spanish armada was trying to get to England, but was blown off course, and had to dock in the harbor in Galway. So, they stopped there, taking in the local sights and sounds, getting to know the locals quite well. From their stop, they left for the kind Irish people of Galway an arch, simple and round. And, they left the “Dark Irish” or “Spanish Irish” as some call them. Basically, and again, this is up to debate, those people who are Irish or that claim Irish descent that have dark hair, tan in the summertime, and who enjoy flamenco dancing (just kidding) may have some Spanish blood in them. But this, like much of history, can never be truly verified, because it’s all in the past.
Anyways, we got into Galway, and checked into a small hostel in the center of the town. We met up with some Canadian girls from our hostel that night, and decided we would go out on the town. But, since we were poor college students, we didn’t have much money to get a taste of the real old mountain dew. Thus, we wandered over to a liquor store, and bought ourselves a bottle of Southern Comfort, to remind us of home. And to keep us warm that night, of course.
So, we drank our American elixir in the street, and inside the bar, by the ingenious measure of hiding it under our friend Rob’s coat. This would prove to be a grave error.
We were fortunate to have been there the night that The Weightless Astronauts/A.W.O.L was there. They are by far the best Police cover band in all of Galway, and I would highly recommend taking in one of their shows. And much to the dismay of the mostly non-American crowd, our new friends in the band played “Sweet Home Alabama,” while us drunken behemoths danced and jumped and shouted with all of our might. At that point, it was intimated to us that it was time to leave the bar, ad continue our debauchery elsewhere.
The SoCo and the Guinness that we had drank that night made us feel like invincible young men, so as we were walking out of the bar and into the street to continue the night at a disco, my friend Rob decided that he was going to walk in the middle of the street, and basically stand in front of any car that might pass by. However, this wasn’t totally his fault, because the streets were narrow to begin with, and the addition of 5 wide American football players didn’t help.
The moment he decided to step into the street, we all yelled, “Get back on the sidewalk! What are you, crazy? Didn’t that band rock?!”, a police car barreled down the street. Our friend, sensing that his life might be in danger, did the only logical thing: he jumped onto the hood of the car.
And so began the chase. Now, we were all drunk, and even though the situation was pretty serious, we were laughing. Hysterically, like bastards. Plus, we were astonished, because to this very day, I swear I’ve never seen anyone run faster than my friend did that night. He was next to me, and then 50 yards away in about 2 seconds. However, he didn’t know that the alley that he had dashed into was in the shape of a horseshoe. So, as fast as he had jumped over the cop who tried to club his kneecap, he was right back next to us, surrendering.
They hauled him off to the local jail, and we tried to bail him out, offering money. The police said that he was too drunk to be released, and would have to spend the night. So, with nothing else left to do, we went back into the Galway night, hoping that our friend was ok.