Galway Player almost definitely a virgin says top psychologist

GALWAY: NUI Galway’s top clinical psychologist claimed today that the blogger operating under the pseudonym ‘the Galway Player’ is likely a socially awkward introvert who is “almost definitely” a virgin.

Dr. Sinead Donnelly said: “The author of the blog has clearly based his persona on the type of ‘player’ you often come across in American sitcoms – think Joey in Friends, Charlie in Two and a Half Men or Barney in How I Met Your Mother, there is no evidence of any basis in reality. It is highly likely that far from being a player, a man who feels the need to hold down this level of delusion cannot even sustain an erection.”

She added: “The cloak of anonymity allows him to indulge in a fantasy where all women want him and all men want to be him. It’s like a comfort blanket for a man who has clearly been rejected one time too many – unfortunately, in many cases like this, the line between reality and delusion can become more and more blurred as time goes on.”

Aoife O’Brien, who says she lived with the blogger during her second year of University appeared to back up these claims in an interview today. She said: “He would get up in the morning talking about the bird he pulled the night before. He used to make a big deal of saying he’d sent her on the walk of shame early, but we literally never once saw him with a girl. He’d make small talk with us for a few minutes over a cup of tea and then head away again for a suspiciously long shower.”

Aoife’s boyfriend Pa Holian agreed.”It’s like this – if you’re that much of a stud, you don’t spend your time sitting at your laptop blogging – you’re too busy out getting action” he said, as he glanced somewhat wistfully at his girlfriend of eight months.

A good start is half the battle

My four years at the University of Limerick were among the happiest of my life. I made a diverse group of friends, immersed myself in student culture, took an active part in clubs and societies and wrote extensively for the college newspaper. Some of my best memories are of setting the world to rights over tea in Javas – a favourite hangout on campus, planning events in the clubs and societies office and walking to the pontoon by the River Shannon on sunny spring days.

All in all, I could never say I regretted my experience of university.

The “but” is coming.

I studied New Media and English. Not a bad choice for someone aspiring to a career in journalism, you would think. I thought wrong.

I was 16 years old when I made that choice, and though I read the prospectus, I had only a very basic understanding of what the course would entail.

The English side of the course, to be fair, was exactly what it said on the tin: English literature in all its forms from Shakespearean plays to Romanticism to SciFi. The readings, lengthy essays and tutorial assignments no doubt honed by writing and critical thinking skills.

The New Media side of the course, however, was a massive let down. While a friend studying in NUI Maynooth was learning the ins and outs of media production and another in NUI Galway was gaining practical knowledge of print media, I was primarily studying cultural studies. The New Media aspect of the course was dominated by feminist and race theories, with the occasional module in media theory. Aside from a basic introduction to technical writing, students gained virtually no practical skills that could be transferred to a workplace.

I felt cheated.

As a result, I skipped a lot of classes, preferring to spend the time working with the editors of the college newspaper. I knew I would need a portfolio once I graduated and there was no chance I was going to develop one in class. Interesting though it was, another lecture on third-wave feminism simply couldn’t tempt me back. I pitched articles to local and national newspapers at every opportunity and interned with any newspaper that would take me on. I joined the Debating Union and honed my verbal communication skills.

I’m glad I went to UL. My advice to students picking a course, however, would be to give these vague wishy-washy courses a miss. Alternatives like European Studies or History and Politics will give you just as good a grounding for a career in journalism – perhaps a better one.

I got an incredible education at the University of Limerick. It’s just a shame so little of it took place in the academic sphere.

Fianna Fail topping polls – has Ireland got Stockholm syndrome?

I’ve been reading lately that Fianna Fail are topping polls. It makes me so angry. Angry and confused. Because much as I keep up with the news at home, I just don’t understand. Things are still terrible at home, I get that. People are suffering and looking for someone to blame. And Fine Gael/Labour have broken promises.


But looking at the facts, I cannot fathom why anyone would want to put Fianna Fail and whatever runt of a party they can drag with them back in government. Ireland has consistently been commended EU/IMF for meeting our bailout targets since the Fine Gael/Labour government came to power, the international media has nothing but praise for Enda Kenny and his ministers.


Do people think that any other combination of parties or independents in Ireland can do a better job? Do you really think any government can keep Ireland afloat without cuts?


Back when Tommy Tiernan was funny, he had this sketch where a young schoolboy was explaining sex to his friends. Too young to understand, his friends were horrified at the thought. The punch-line goes: “Some of the lads skipped back to Father Murphy, singing ‘better the divil you know, better the divil you know’”.


Fianna Fail is certainly the devil we know, but surely that’s a reason to run screaming in the opposite direction – not to skip back to them.


As well as effectively defecating on the economy, Fianna Fail spent the best part of two decades ignoring or shirking issues like abortion, the Magdalene laundries  and the undue influence of the Catholic Church – particularly where the abuse of vulnerable children was concerned. Enda Kenny’s government has bravely faced these issues, while Fianna Fail heckled them from the safety and comfort of the opposition benches. Have they offered alternative solutions? Of course not. Constructive debate instead of cheap point-scoring? That would be asking too much.


Reverting to Fianna Fail when times get tough is lazy.


“This shower is no good, let’s get the last shower back in – things were never as bad then.”


Remember – We’re paying for every year of the boom ten times over now. The closed A and E’s, the cuts in education, increases in taxes – these are the legacy Bertie Ahern and the Fianna Fail tent at the Galway Races left behind. Very shrewdly (and if I’ll give Fianna Fail anything – they are shrewd) – Fianna Fail have made their bed and left Fine Gael and Labour to lie on it. They do have a keen sense of timing.


Here’s what they don’t want you to know: Fianna Fail are absolutely delighted to be in Opposition at the moment. Delighted.


They don’t want to be the bad guys, raising taxes and making cuts. They’ll wait until Fine Gael and Labour are just about to get the economy back on track and that’s when they’ll mount their attack.


And because we tend to have memories shorter than that of a goldfish, we’ll most likely vote them in again. Like I said, it’s lazy.


Go out and speak to your local representatives, question them. Find out what the international media is saying about the government. Ask yourself who did more to get us into this mess, and who has been helping us claw our way out of it. Do a bit of research. Look at the big picture. Be an active citizen – you get the government you deserve, we vote these people into power.


Just don’t vote Fianna Fail back in because it’s too much effort to find out what the alternatives are.


The Secret

Books don’t usually make me angry.

At times happy, at times sad. But it’s quite rare for me to flick through a book and be left with a feeling that I’d actually like to beat the author to death with a copy of it. Not to overreact or anything.

I picked up a copy of The Secret the other day. I have heard a lot about it and knew vaguely that it was about how thinking positively can improve your daily life. That’s a concept I’m on board with. I believe that the more positive energy you throw out in the world the more you get back. That’s why I tell people ‘Have a good day’ as often as I can. More often than not they say it back and you both feel a little happier after the interaction.

Further, you’re more likely to get help from your neighbours/ colleagues/ family/ friends if you are perceived as a happy, well balanced and friendly person than if you come across negatively. You might be thinking, ‘this is all a bit obvious Katie, you’re just stating truisms’. Right. I just want people to be aware that I’m not completely opposed to the idea of positive thinking before I start ranting.

The book

The concept of the book is that the Universe will provide anything you need for you as long as you think positively and believe it. Every single thing that has ever happened to you has happened because of the way you thought about it and the ‘frequency’ you were emitting. The secret is the Law of Attraction and you attract whatever thoughts you’re sending out into the universe.

What really annoys me about this book is that it attempts to sway vulnerable people into believing that they can ‘manifest’ things like a rabbit from a magicians hat by obscurely quoting quantum physicists and using out-of-context quotes from people like Einstein to back up their spurious claims.

Some excerpts:

On ‘The Secret’

P. 27, Dr.Joe Vitale “Everything that surrounds you in your life, including the things you’re complaining about, you’ve attracted”… You’re going to immediately say ‘I didn’t attract that car accident. I didn’t attract this particular client who gives me a hard time. I didn’t particlularly attract the debt.’ And I’m here to be a little bit in your face and say yes, yes you did attract it”

The good doctor goes on to explain that this applies in all cases, including where masses of people have died, because they were on the same ‘frequency’ as the event in their minds. As the doctor says the law applies 100% of the time, we can surmise that rape victims ‘attracted’ their rapists, 9/11 victims ‘attracted’ planes into the world trade centre and this ‘law’ also applies to health so cancer patients, stroke victims etc ‘attracted the illness into their lives.

I find this concept, which is repeated throughout the book by various doctors and believers, to be utterly offensive.

On attracting abundance:

P.99 Rhonda Byrne “The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts… All the money you require exists right now in the invisible. If you do not have enough, it is because you are stopping the flow of money coming to you.”

The chapter goes on to explain that if you start visualising cheques coming in the mail instead of bills it will happen. You just have to really believe in the Universe.

If only children across the Developing World knew the secret. If only they knew if they would quit whining about being starving and focus on abundance, money, food and clean water would be theirs. Or does ‘the Secret’ not apply to the Developing World. How elitist of it.

As if to prove a point, p 107-108 states “the wealthiest people on the planet are the greatest philanthropists. They give away vast amounts of money, and as they give, by the law of attraction, the Universe opens up and floods vast amounts of money back to them – multiplied”

I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. Philanthropists like Bill Gates give away significant amounts, but tiny in the context of what he earns. The money that floods to him is not the Universe’s reward to him, it’s the result of building one of the most successful countries in the world.

On health

P 128, Michael Bernard Beckwith “The question frequently asked is, “When a person has manifested a disease in the body temple or some kind of discomfort in their life, can it be turned around through the power of ‘right’ thinking? And the answer is absolutely, yes.”

Again, this makes me angry. Firstly the idea that the disease you have is nothing to do with genetics, your surroundings or just plain bad luck – you manifested it yourself through thinking ‘wrong’. Secondly, the idea that any and all diseases, aches and pains can be cured by the power of positive thinking – backed up by a succession of reader stories that claim it to be true. It’s just not fair to sell this idea that you can cure yourself of anything by thinking about it a different way. Many readers will be vulnerable people who will grab any kind of hope they can – and Rhonda Byrne and her contributors are taking advantage of that.

The book also says you can consume as many calories as you want and not do exercise and you will stay skinny as long as you keep picturing yourself your perfect size…. I wish!

I realise most people will say ‘It’s so obviously ridiculous Katie, that you shouldn’t even get worked up over it’, but people do believe it. People change their lives and make huge, irreversible decisions based on this absolute nonsense!

I could rant about this all day, I’ll leave it there for now.

Not Your Average Friday Night

Burlesque. Asian girls that are boys. Music. A midget. Champagne. Cabaret. Thai food. Acrobatics.

In all fairness, what more could you ask for a Friday evening’s entertainment? The Lady Boys of Bangkok is an evening of fun and frolicks featuring, you guessed it, Thai lady boys.

I’m not going to lie, we weren’t quite sure what to expect going in. At 24 squid a ticket we had high hopes, though the male contingent looked nervously around the largely female queue ‘there doesn’t seem to be a lot of men here’. Would we see any lumps, bumps or bulges? Would we think they were attractive? Would it be entertaining? Would it be very sexual?

The show did not disappoint. Displaying varying degrees of femininity, the Lady Boys took to the stage with classic performances of YMCA, Tina Turner and references to pop culture favourites Corrie, The Sound of Music and Sister Act. Combining this with the theatre that is Lady Gaga and a very literal rendition of Rihanna’s S and M made for a thoroughly lively performance.

Elements of comedy broke up the performance nicely, with the exception of some well handled if unexpected technical issues towards the end of the first half! The inevitable but ever-amusing moments of audience participation had every man in the place shrinking back in their chairs, lest they be brought upon stage, half-stripped and given a lap dance by a Lady Boy [scared they’d enjoy it too much, I expect!]

The most impressive act of the night for me was by one of the male performers. He arrives on stage, which has a newly acquired pole. Oh, a male pole dancer, you think, wonder what this will be like. Instead, he puts on this athletic, acrobatic feat that I can’t even put into words. I’m sorry – you had to be there for this part. But picture this, he did completely horizontal chin ups on the vertical pole. That’s upper body strength!

If you were wondering about my questions above – no, we didn’t spot any lumps, bumps or bulges. Some of the performers had masculine looking jaw bones, eye brows and thighs in my opinion but despite some very risque moves we didn’t see any you-know-whats! Some of the performers I would swear down were women, and very attractive ones at that. The performance was suggestive and fun but not overly sexual!

And yes, we were very, very entertained!

“I’d like to thank my Mom… and God…”

Whaddya know. I got nominated for a Reader Appreciation Award from sosassyandsingle! I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that I had to Google it to find out what it really means.

Basically, bloggers form a community when we throw our writing out there for the world to see. Most of us are a bit narcissistic, we love when people ‘like’ or comment on our stuff, and this award is essentially a way to thank people that follow you, encourage you and give you feedback!

With that – I’d like to pass the award on to the following friends of mine on the blogosphere! Put it up on your own blog and pass it on.

Making memories – my British bucket list!

It’s easy to fall in to habits. Some good. Some bad. Some simply apathetic.

You get home in the evening after a long day at work and all you want to do is grab a bit of dinner and watch Corrie… the weekend rolls round and all you want to do is have a few drinks and chill. We’re all guilty of it!

When I lived in the United Arab Emirates I somehow managed to go almost three years without going up Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – despite passing it on numerous occasions. I was always too busy or had something else on or couldn’t afford it. I regret that. It’s like those memes that get passed around say – you regret what you don’t do more than what you do.

So here I am in England. Only across the water from home really yet with so much to explore! But unless I start making real plans and following through on them, the same thing is likely to happen again. How to go about this? A Bucket List for my time here in England. Summer is coming, the Euros and the Olympics are on, it’s an exciting time to be here!

So – you guys tell me – what is the best way to spend my time? Here are some of the things I’m thinking about but I’ll need your suggestions!

Matthew Street, Liverpool: I was well in to college by the time I realised how

Imagemuch I loved the Beatles. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in; happy, sad, lonely, just wanna dance, in love, out of love – there is a Beatles song that will encapsulate it. The idea of visiting the Cavern Club where they played in the early days genuinely excites me, walking the streets where those four boys walked – definitely Number One on this ol’ list of mine!

London: I tried to make this one more specific but I can’t. I want to see a show in the West End, stroll Imagethrough Covent Garden and explore Piccadilly Circus. I want to shop London-style. I want to get a picture inside an old-school red telephone box. I want to go to an underground club where acts play before htey get discovered and forget their humble beginnings. I want to picnic in Hyde Park and go to Hamley’s Toy shop. Heck I want to go full-tourist on this one, camera round the neck on an open bus tour, saluting the changing of the guards! Hmmm, I think London’s going to require more than one trip!

Cornwall: We Irish are only getting used to holidaying-at-home again since the recession, but
Imagethe Brits have always been fans of it and from what colleagues have told me, there’s good reason why. Cornwall comes most highly recommended, with apparent fun-for-all-the-family as well as a decent nightlife for us young’uns. And LOOK, it’s so pretty! Could that not be somewhere in the Mediterranean? Just a couple of hours away, I’m dying to get down here for a weekend over summer for a change of scenery and some fun and frolicks!
I guess that’s it for now!
As I said, England’s an exciting place to be at the moment. Exploring it has to be top priority. Where else do you fine people think I should go and what else should I do?

Oh go on you saucy minx, you know you want to.

Well good evening,

Thanks for stopping by.

Might I say, you’re looking particularly dashing this evening – have you been working out? Or is it someone new in your life? Whatever it is, I have to say you’re positively glowing!

On a completely unrelated note – I have a bit of news! Remember back in January I made 12 New Year’s Resolutions? Well, one of them was to try and do a bit of fundraising for charity – and here I am in June actually doing it!

I’m taking part in an event in a few weeks to raise funds for a hospice that provides end-of-life care, mostly for cancer patients. It’s a great cause, so I’m getting involved in their 10 mile Midnight Walk. If you want to help me out you can donate safely by clicking the link below.

Donations of any size are hugely appreciated – even the price of a pint will get me that step closer to my goal!

So go on, click the link and do your good deed for the day. You really are looking fantastic, you know!

“I Mean, You Can’t Even Have Morning Sex”

I have a confession to make everyone.

I strongly recommend that family members close the page now. [Don’t say I didn’t warn you]. Al-right, hold on to your hats, here I go.

I have pubic hair.

Phew! I am so glad I got that off my chest. Are you done retching or reeling in shock? I know that shock announcement falls somewhere between “I pick my nose and eat it” and “I lost my virginity to my cousin” on the disgust-ometer.

Whilst having tea with some lovely lady friends the other day, the topic came up as one of our number was off to have her vagina waxed. Apparently these days it’s necessary.  Necessary. It’s not something I’ve ever felt the need to do. Surprising as it may be, I have never felt the need to hand over any of my hard-earned cash to have a stranger spread sticky stuff over my nether regions and wax my pubes off strip by strip. It’s painful. And they make you go on all-fours to do your ass crack. Crazy as I very may well be, it just doesn’t sound like a whole pile of fun.

But somehow, it has become necessary. Why? Because if you just shave [and in a moment we’ll move on to why even that is necessary] “you can’t even have morning sex”. Really ladies? Is one nights worth of regrowth such a horrendous thing that you couldn’t let your other half near you? Apparently so.

The thing is, if and when I eventually have a baby, I’d like Daddy to be there for the birth. Now he’s going to have to deal with a lot in that situation; dilation, an umbilical cord, possible even involuntary pooping. If he can’t deal with the idea that a woman might have some pubic hair, I’m just not sure he’s going to be able for all of that. I need a man made of sterner stuff.

The idea that women should be bare is a relatively recent phenomenon. I’m blaming porn for giving men the idea that only a vagina with less hair than a 14 year old can be considered attractive. The pictures dotted around this post are from 1970s issues of Playboy and Penthouse and I for one think they’re pretty sexy. Don’t you?

Some would argue it’s more hygienic to wax or shave and I’m not going to argue with that. I’m not opposed to a bit of “maintenance” as you might put it, you certainly don’t need to consider me an advocate of Keith Lemon’s Jackson 5 theory! I’m merely throwing it out there that in a world without taboos, we accept that women were given pubic hair by evolution or by God depending on what you believe in, and it’s not necessary to get rid of it.

Your thoughts?

50 Reasons to Visit Galway

  1. The Spanish Arch: The Spanish Arch, built in 1584, was an extension of the Galway city wall. These days however, the Corrib-side attraction is more commonly known as a summer-time drinking spot. “Sparch-ing”, as the younger generation call it, is a far better pastime than, say, going to lectures for the population of nearby NUIG.***
  2. Michael D Higgins: He’s an intellectual, a cultural theorist, a political scientist, a poet, a champion of social justice and human rights and now he’s our President. His origins are Clare and Limerick but Michael D has long been Galwegian by choice. We couldn’t be prouder to claim him for our own. My favourite MDH quote has to be on the Dail floor; in response to “We can’t all be intellectuals like you, Deputy” was when he said “No, but you can aspire to be”. The man has got style.***
  3. The Roisin Dubh: The Roisin is the epicentre of all things alternative in the Galway music scene. As well as live gigs, there are regular comedy nights, headphone discos, open mic nights and more in the infamous pub. Famed for its consistently original acts and for encouraging all kinds of new talent in the city, the Roisin is the live venue to beat in Galway.***
  4. Eyre Square: Eyre Square is the first impression people arriving to the city by train or bus get, and that’s no harm whatsoever. It’s a beautiful green area smack bang in the middle of the city that means different things to different people; On a sunny day you’ll find a totally laid-back atmosphere with professionals having al fresco lunches, kids kicking a football or throwing frisbee, groups of students eating ice cream and dossing and alternative types smoking whacky tabacky.***
  5. Salthill: It’s a little bit noisy and a little bit tacky in places, but on the odd occasion when we do get a bit of sun, Salthill is the first place that springs to mind. Whether you want a leisurely stroll along the Prom, a whirl on the Waltzer, a game of giant chess, a wander through one of the numerous casinos or for the very brave a dip in the ocean; the smell of the sea air and the atmosphere of family fun in Salthill is a huge draw for Galwegians and tourists alike.***
  6. Madam Bridget: Found outside the Imperial in Eyre Square since the dawn of time (or so it seems), cross Madam Bridget’s palm with a few euro and have your fortune told. The chain-smoking old lady is a Galway institution with many claiming to have found her predictions scarily accurate. Personally I’m sure I went to her on a dare as a teenager, but I would have to dig through diaries full of teenage strife to find the place I wrote her predictions down and see if any have been fulfilled.***
  7. Gaeilgeoiri: Galway has the highest proportion of Irish speakers in the country. We also have the only all-Irish theatre An Taibhdhearc, and it is without doubt the only place I’ve seen where even the ATMs will offer you the option of Irish. Gaelscoils are becoming more popular by the year and we’re delighted our Irish language heritage is still core to the Galwegian identity.***
  8. Massimo’s: Massimo’s is the best late bar in Galway, in my very humble opinion. There are nights when you want to sing or dance or listen to music and then there are nights when you want to get together with mates and have a good catch up. Massimo’s has a funky atmosphere, friendly staff and music that’s not so loud that you can’t talk, it’s the perfect place for a few drinks and chatting into the night.***
  9. The Tuam Herald: The Tuam Herald celebrates its 175th anniversary this year making it Galway’s oldest newspaper. Dating back to 1837, there are just three older newspapers in all of Ireland. Week by week, the family-run Tuam Herald continues to bring North Galway its news as well as championing local causes and events.***
  10. RAG Week 2012: If I had written this list a year ago I would never have considered including RAG Week, but 2012 in Galway has to go down in history. The year they “cancelled” it brought you the infamous ‘Who’s a sexy Garda?’video and a frickin riot outside Supermacs culminating in some nutcase letting off a flare. I think the moral is, if you survive it you’ll have a good story to tell. To paraphrase Limerick’s best known saying – that’s Galway cit-ay!***
  11. Monday @ the Galway Races: The Galway Races are the highlight of the city’s social calender and Monday is the highlight of the Races for locals. Before the Dubs arrive down flashing the cash and the poseurs start circling the Champagne Tent (or the Fianna Fail tent in days gone by), Galwegians get together to exchange tips, have a tipple and catch up on another year gone by. It has all the craic of the rest of the week but without the pretentiousness of the latter days and half hour bar queues.***
  12. Burke’s Buses: Have you ever tried flagging down a Bus Eireann bus at a random point on the route from Tuam to Galway? It doesn’t go well. They’re all about their planned stops and their rules and regulations. Not so with Burke’s – it may be annoying when you’re in a rush that they stop roughly every half kilometre to pick someone up off the side of the road, but when it’s you you’re damned grateful! And all for the princely sum of a fiver. Typical of an indigenous Galway business they provide the friendliest, most reliable and best value bus service in the West.***
  13. The Saw Doctors: Together 25 years now, the Saw Doctor’s have eighteen top 30 singles including three number 1s. On one level, the Saw Doctor’s are just a really good country-rock band with a cult following. On another level, a close look at Saw Doctor’s lyrics over the last two and half decades gives a reasonably comprehensive modern history of Galway and Ireland: coming of age, doubting religion, recession, emigration, disappointment, hope and friendship. And they managed to show the younger generation that they’ve still got it when they covered the Sugababes ‘About You Now’ and had a number one hit with it!***
  14. Shop Street: Shop Street is the epicentre of Galway city life. The pedestrian street bursts with the energy of shoppers, tourists, students, buskers, workers and families. A mixture of high street shops, somewhat kitch tourist spots, street entertainment and leading on to the popular pubs of Quay Street – it is a veritable melting pot of life and culture.***
  15. The Guard: If you haven’t seen Galway based film the Guard already, stop what you’re doing right now and buy, rent or download it. Now watch it and come back to me. From the writers of In Bruges, it stars Brendan Gleeson in another dark comedy following a small-town cop as he attempts to deal with cocaine smugglers, prostitution, a dying mother, a gay colleague moved down from Dublin, a couple of murders and a ‘Yank’ over from the FBI just for good measure.***
  16. Silver Strand: If the hustle and bustle of a beach day in Salthill doesn’t suit you, fear not. Silver Strand, just a few miles away has beautiful views out over Galway Bay and is very popular with families. It has a shallow, sandy beach that you can swim in at low tide if you’re feeling adventurous!***
  17. Padraic Joyce: By the time I moved to Galway in 1998, Padraic Joyce was already a household name. He won his first All Ireland Football title in that year against Kildare and like a fine wine, has only gotten better with age. He captained the team in 08-09, has the All Star and a Texaco Footballer of the Year accolades under his belt and continues to play for both his county and his club Killererin.***
  18. Leo Moran: Now I’ve already mentioned the Saw Doctor’s but I have to give front man Leo Moran a shout out of his own. Not only is he incredibly down to earth and always has time for a chat, Leo is a fantastic ambassador for Tuam and all of Galway. He is known for lending a hand behind the scenes to a number of worthy causes, especially the Tuam Volunteer Force.***
  19. Lady Gregory: Hailing from just outside Gort, Lady Augusta Gregory was an instrumental part of the Irish Literary Revival and the development of cultural nationalism. Her homeplace in Coole Park was an important meeting place for members of the Revival including William Butler Yeats. Together with Yeats and Edward Martyn, Lady Gregory was a founding member of the Abbey Theatre.***
  20. The N17: This is a bit of a personal one really, but in a way the road immortalised by the Saw Doctor’s “stone walls and the grass is green”all the journeys of my life – literal and metaphorical – began on the N17; trips to Galway with friends as a teenager, turning off at Claregalway for Limerick where I went to college and Shannon where I left the country alone for the first time. Travelling with my thoughts and dreams indeed.***
  21. Sally Longs: Everyone has a Sally’s story. Mine involves running away from Bikers in there after agreeing to play a game of doubles pool and then foolishly allowing someone else to take one of my turns. My personal dramas aside, Sally Longs is a rock/metal bar on Abbeygate Street famed for its art work, its live acts and indeed its clientele – well worth a visit.***
  22. Supermacs: According to my intensive on the topic (scanned the Wikipedia page) Supermacs was founded in Ballinasloe after Pat McDonagh failed to get planning permission for a pool hall in the town. We’re delighted he didn’t, because thirty-something years later Shmax is Ireland’s largest indigenous fast food chain and an essential part of any Galway night out!***
  23. Monroe’s: If you go to only one place for Trad music in Galway, make it Monroe’s. With live Irish music 7 nights a week it is the go-to destination for music lovers.***
  24. Ladies Day @ the Races: Okay so as I said above Monday and Tuesday are the locals favourite days at the Races, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit drawn in by the glitz and glamour of Ladies Day. It’s all about the dress, the accessories, the hat, the champagne for this Lovely Girls Compeition. Horses- what horses? Today is all about the style!***
  25. Galway Crystal: Galway Crystal is one of the West’s best known and loved traditional crafts. According to the website, their Master Craftsmen are continuously inspired by the sheer beauty of the surrounding countryside – Connemara, Galway Bay and Lough Corrib – and influenced by the wealth of history and folklore which is synonymous with Galway, the famous City of the Tribes.***
  26. NUI Galway: Having attended and loved the University of Limerick, all modern with its glass lifts and sloping walls, walking around the NUIG campus is a completely different experience. Steeped in history, the Quadrangle hosted 63 students during its first academic year 1849-50.***
  27. TG4: While the vast majority Ireland’s national media output is confined to the Capital, Galway boasts TG4 – our only dedicated Irish language broadcaster. Since it began broadcasting in 1996 TG4 has won praise for its ability to mix Irish language news, drama such as the ever popular Ros na Run and sports commentary with popular US shows winning it 800,000 daily viewers. It has also been a launching pad for the likes of Sharon ni Bheolain and the Seoige sisters who have gone on to great success since.***
  28. An Taibhdhearc: In addition to having the only Irish broadcaster, Galway also lays claim to the country’s only all-Irish theatre company. For many of us, our first experience of An Taibhdhearc was a day out in school to see the plays you were supposed to be studying for Leaving Cert. Looking back, we were and still are lucky to have such a facility in our fair city, and I for one intend to make much better use of it in the near future!***
  29. Galway Girls: Mundy’s cover version of Galway Girl was the most downloaded song in Ireland in 2008 and it’s no wonder. In addition to the catchy tune people can of course relate to the lyrics – you’ve never seen nothin’ like a Galway Girl. We’re fiery, witty up for the craic and but for a slight departure right about now we’re modest.***
  30. CUBA: There was a time when it seemed all roads lead to CUBA if you were out in Galway. Many were shocked when CUBA and the Cellar fell victim to the recession in 2010, as it was literally and figuratively such a central part of Galway nightlife. It’s a little while now since I have had the privilege of a night out in Galway but I believe the doors have now opened again under the name of the Eyre Square nightclub.***
  31. The GBC: Whenever friends from any other part of the country move to Galway, one of the first places they choose as a meeting point for lunch or coffee is always the GBC. It’s central, good value, quality food. It’s simple, but that’s the beauty of it.***
  32. The Omniplex: Again, this one might just be personal to me, but back in the day before the EYE opened and everything was in 3D, the Omniplex held a special place in my heart. A quick trip to Lidl across the road with notoriously bad fake IDs and in we went to the film of our choice armed with a bottle of cheap paint-stripperish vodka to go with our large cokes and 18s film.***
  33. The Arts Festival: The Arts Festival is a world famous explosion of colour, theatre, puppetry and sound. Over two weeks the festival features the Macnas parade and shows for all ages and tastes. In 2011, there were 162,000 attendances at 176 performances, talks and exhibitions in 27 venues over 14 days. The city comes to life with crafts, street theatre (more than usual), drama and dance confirming Galway’s place as the true capital of culture.***
  34. Students: Galway has a huge student population and they are a large part of what gives the city its life. Between NUIG, GMIT and GTI, students add a youthful and diverse feel to the city that you just don’t get in other places. From time to time that may make it feel a little out of control as in the case of RAG Week mentioned above, but 99.99% of the time students make a positive, vibrant contribution to the city.***
  35. Fairytale of New York: This may be a tenuous link, but I’m claiming Fairytale of New York for its Galway reference. The Pogues tune featuring Kirsty MacColl is popularly known as the best Christmas song ever and what are they boys in the NYPD choir singing about? That’s right, our own Galway Bay.***
  36. Farmers: When you go off to college first you go to great lengths to shake off the buff/bogger title, but let’s face it ladies when it comes to choosing a fella there’s nothing sexier than a man with road frontage!***
  37. Christmas Market: While summer in Eyre Square is all about short shorts, ice cream and frisbee, winter in the Square brings with it the Christmas Market, ideal for picking up stocking-fillers and trinkets. And of course after a good mosey around, there’s no better way to finish off the day than with a warm cider – to keep the cold out.***
  38. Occupy Galway: This one may be a bit controversial, but I’m proud of Occupy Galway. They may not have achieved any substantial gain this time around, and I know a lot of people just think of them as smelly hippies, but I’m glad we have people around that care enough about sustainability and accountability to stand up for it.***
  39. The Corrib: The Corrib is a beautiful river flowing right through the heart of Galway. There’s something very soothing about watching the fishermen nearly thigh high in water over the quincentennial bridge stand still for what seems like hours on edge to get the catch.***
  40. The sing-songs: There’s no sing-song like a Galway sing-song. Whether it’s your Aunty’s 60th, a lock in at the local or sitting above the rock face at the back of Laurel Park, it always ends the same way. You’ve got two good singers that know the words and hold everything together while the rest of us drink and dance and join in for the chorus. Sure you wouldn’t have it any other way.***
  41. The tourists: Tourists in summer provide what students do the rest of the year round, the buzz, the energy, the diversity. There are parts of the world where tourists are looked on as an annoyance or an inconvenience but in Galway we simply love it. The bigger the melting pot the better.***
  42. The Macnas Parade: The Macnas Parade is one of the most highly anticipated aspected of the Arts Festival each year. Beginning at the Spanish Arch and making its way down Eglinton Street to Fisherman’s Fields, each year has a theme. Last year’s theme was ‘This Fierce Beauty’, a concept clearly taken to heart by these ‘lovely ladies’.***
  43. The Film Fleadh: Directly before the Arts Festival comes about, Galway hosts Ireland’s leading film festival over six days. It brings together film buffs, directors, actors and critics from all over Ireland and the world in a unique, intimate setting. The central goal of the Fleadh has remained unchanged over the 24 years of its existence – to bring film makers and audiences closer together. For any lover of film and the Arts hitting Galway for the end of the Film Fleadh and the start of the Arts festival is pretty much heaven.***
  44. Claddagh: There are few Irish girls who don’t have a Claddagh ring, usually givento them by a close friend or family. Originating in the village of Claddagh just outside Galway the heart symbolises love, the hands symbolise friendship and the crown represents loyalty. As time has gone on, the Claddagh ring has also become a symbol for pride in Ireland and pride in Galway.***
  45. Street Performances: One man bands, human statues, balloon artists, unicyclists, break dancers – you never know quite what you’re going to find walking down Shop Street and through the Latin Quarter but wherever you see a semi-circle of onlookers go and join them for twenty or thirty minutes of free entertainment.***
  46. Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop: Located on Middle Street, Galway, one could spend hours if not days mining for treasures in Charlie Byrne’s new and second-hand bookshop. From crime novels to college texts and everything in betweeen, Charlie’s is the ideal place for a mooch if you’ve got an hour to kill.***
  47. The Rest of the West: As you can no doubt tell I’m very proud of all that Galway has to offer, but another major advantage we have is being a gateway to the rest of the West. Croagh Patrick, Achill Island, Rossespoint, Sligo town and the Burren are all beautiful places with their own charms, and they’re only a stone’s throw away.***
  48. The Bog: Now you may not think of the bog as the ideal day out, but for those of us that grew up in rural Galway it’s a place full of cherished memories. Sure, we bitched and moaned at the time, but looking back now it’s all sunshine, sandwiches, sitting on top of a trailer and laughing. And where else can you get a tan and and get toned up in the space of a week 100% free!***
  49. Lorraine Higgins: I want to state at the outset that it’s a coincidence that both politicians mentioned are Labour. I’m a huge fan of Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins; she’s intelligent, articulate, well presented, hard working and ethical – In other words, she is everything I’m looking for in a new generation of politicians. She lost out in the last General Election but put in such a good show that she was nominated to the Seanad by Enda Kenny. I have absolutely no doubt that she’s going to be an instrumental policy maker in years to come and we’ll be proud to claim her in the town of the Tribes.***
  50. Galway Bay FM: Back in the day before we all had iTunes plugged into every aspect of our lives (I’m talking 2003, here) a fundamental aspect of weekend sleepovers was the tunage – and the requests played – on Galway Bay FM “It’s the late night love hour, with Corrine Gavin” Every week without fail she played Sinead O Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares to You’, usually with a dedication like ‘That one goes out to ClaireBear from TomTomz who says he’s so sorry he didn’t text her back after school, he ran out of credit but he still loves her forever’… Ah, it was a simpler time!

Well done if you’ve made it all the way to here, and thanks for reading.

Follow me on twitter @kate_harr

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