Galway Girl

Today was pretty much a giant blur full of sunshine and bus rides. We woke up this morning and after a sub par breakfast at our B&B we headed out to Eyre Square, which is the main park area in Galway, to meet our tour guide for our Galway walking tour. The guide was a historian who studied the beginnings and history of Galway. Originally, the city was run by the Norman’s and they built walls all around the city. One of the original towers is preserved in the middle of the city and much of the architecture featured in the medieval quarter of the city is still visibly from the Norman era. We walked up the river that runs on the outskirts of the city and the guide told us that it is one of the best places in Europe to go fishing for salmon. On Sunday’s, people pay 150 euro to take their boat out for an hour. What makes that even crazier is that 90 percent of people don’t catch any salmon. This is because the fish are making their way upstream and in the migration they do not eat, but rather just starve themselves until they die. Therefore, the fishermen are trying to use bait to catch a fish that does not want to eat. That’s why is people do catch a fish, it is a huge deal and they can easily sell it to a local restaurant for 200 euro. At the end of the tour we took a group picture before heading off to Galway Bay FM radio station.

Street bands in city center
Street bands in city center

When we got to the radio station we realized that we had accidentally left one of our group members behind as she ran into a local hotel to use the bathroom when the rest of us were getting into the taxis to go to the radio station. Even though she headed back to the B&B as there was no way to get her to the station on time, we had a little chuckle and we all know our professor will tell all of his future short term students this story for many years to come. At the radio station we were able to be in the room for the afternoon sports broadcast as well as the beginning segment of the afternoon radio show. The man who is in charge of hosting the afternoon broadcast talked to us about the media and radio industry. In a career where people are very unsure about how to handle the change, this guy was quite positive. He told us that we should never be afraid to learn how to use new technology and that asking questions is a positive attribute in the industry. He also told us to treat the microphone as a person and be ourselves because, ultimately, your voice is reaching thousands of people, not an inanimate object. After talking to him, we went up to talk to the news director who spoke about the initiative and target audience of their station. The age range this station tries to reach is from 22-55 years old and since it is the local station for county Galway, they focus their time on local news. They do pay a smaller organization in Dublin for their national news, but the most important stories are always the local ones. From there we went up to talk to a woman who deals with the advertising and commercials. In Ireland, in order to keep a radio license there can only be a maximum of ten minutes of commercials for each hour. The woman we talked to is in charge of planning out the commercials for each day, making sure they do not exceed the time limit and that there is a diverse type of advertisements. Continuing with this, we moved into a conference room and chatted with the director of sales for the station. He told us a lot about the money side of the business and how Irish radio regulations are much different than American regulations. For example, Irish stations are not allowed to take any money from politicians so therefore, there are no political advertisements on the radio in Ireland. In addition, everyday, part of the scheduled broadcasting time is dedicated to death notices. This was something I found to be so different from American culture as death is something families deal with personally and I’m not sure how people would react if that information was broadcasted on the radio. The man told us how one day they accidentally read the death notices from the year before and when they called the families to apologize, they were actually very thankful they made the mistake as they saw it as a remembrance. Everywhere we go I get a sense of how tight knit the whole island is regardless of the fact that they come form different areas and obviously don’t know everyone. This is one of my favorite aspects of the country and why, as an American, I feel so comfortable each and every day. I look forward to walking around, seeing people and just being able to feel confident in my abilities as a traveler. After leaving the station we boarded a bus to head to Killarney. We had to take three different buses as they overbooked one of them so we could not fit on it, but the four-hour journey wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be. I tend to get carsick on buses, but after putting on some John Mayer and wrapping my jacket around my eyes, I took a much-needed nap on the way there. Once we got to Killarney, I was immediately sad that we would only be spending one day here. It is quaint and cute and our hotel is right in the center of town, which is the first time that this has happened. Hangry, a combination of hungry and angry, has become the new term of the trip and this definitely hit all of us so my group of friends and I spontaneously headed to a restaurant across the street. After accidentally ordering lox at a restaurant the other night when I thought I ordered cooked salmon, I was craving a quality seafood meal and this restaurant definitely delivered. I got a plate of calamari and seafood chowder and after sharing some laughs over our dinners, everyone headed back to the hotel to go down to the bar to listen to some traditional Irish music. After the day of walking and traveling I called it an early night and headed upstairs to get a good nights sleep so I could be awake for our hike in Killarney National Park tomorrow afternoon.

All Photography by Emily Houston


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