I had started to develop a head cold on my second day in Dublin, and when I woke on my first morning in Galway found that it was worsening into chest congestion as well. After my worldwind introduction with Laura the previous afternoon, she had given me a lift to the nearby shopping centre on her way into town so that I could do some grocery shopping. There was an Aldi just across the main road, so I decided to go there. On my walk home I popped into the pharmacy in the shopping centre and bought some cold and flu tablets. I was not going to let being sick slow me down!
Laura had promised to sit down with me that day and help me make a plan of action for my research, however she was feeling unwell, so I did my best to start compiling a list from the information she had given me the afternoon before. Still feeling ordinary myself, I decided not to push myself too hard, and started with the easiest item on my list, a short walk to Salthill to locate the Garda station and the halting site.
On the walk down the hill from the Cnoch An Oir estate is located a halting site, a permanent establishment set up to accommodate for the traveling community. I stopped by the site to take a few photos, strategically distancing myself and hiding behind the wall so as not to intrude. The traveling community are very private, and I did not wish to impose, just snap a few pictures of the site setup for my research. When I continued on towards Salthill, I also spotted a traditional traveler wagon in someone’s yard.
Halting site in Galway
This ‘short walk’ turned out to be three kilometers one way, but every step was worth it. Salthill is a gorgeous seaside area in the city of Galway. It features a promenade walkway along the wild Atlantic Ocean, with breathtaking views out to the Aran Islands.
The Promenade, Salthill
I walked along the main street keeping my eye out for the halting site or the police station. I came across the halting site first.
Halting site, Salthill
It was growing darker and I had walked and walked from one end of Salthill to the other but had still not found the Garda station, so I popped into a convenience store to ask for directions. The store attendant was very interested in the story I was writing. I took his directions and after getting lost once more, I found a taxi driver to reconfirm my directions. Finally I found it, and in the last breath of sunshine I took my photos.
Salthill Garda Station
After finding the station, I had walked so far I decided to catch the bus back home. I got on the bus and asked the driver if he was going to Seamus Quirke Road. he seemed unfamiliar with the route so invited me onboard and figured out where he needed to drop me as he continued along. he asked me where I was from and when I told him Brisbane, Australia, he told me he used to live in Ipswich, west of Brisbane city. A little touch of home! He told me his son lived in Sydney and worked in the mines in Darwin. When I asked him what brought him back to Ireland, and with a wink he told me ‘a woman’.
We ended up in town and he dropped me at Eyre Square where I could catch the bus back to Seamus Quirke Road. Walking back up the hill towards Cnock An Oir, I snapped a few more pictures of the halting site. It was now almost completely dark and I thought I could get a few snaps closer up under the cover of darkness.
Heaving over the congestion in my chest, I arrived home and mustered together enough energy to heat up my dinner and collapse into bed. I had an early start the following morning, a day trip out to the township of Ballinsaloe, to research the notorious St. Brigid’s Hospital, a psychiatric facility.