Adventures in GalwayWell, I am back from my weekend away in Galway. And what fun it was! While the meeting itself was rather disappointing, and the collective IQ of the USI LGBT campaign appears to be in free-fall, we made the best of it, and got to see the sights.
The train journey down was long-ish, and on one of Irish Rail's oldest and most dreadful trains (you know the ones; manual doors, dodgy lighting, persistent smell of diesel throughout), but fun. By virtue of arriving at the station an hour or so early we got seats together, which I at least enjoyed; I don't doubt that some of my travelling companions would have preferred to have spent the journey on a different train from me! I can be irritating in large doses, you see.
Due to getting everything organised late, we couldn't find any room in a hostel, so ended up staying in a strange motel-like creature called a TravelLodge. It contained about one hundred rooms, a misleadingly-named 'Cafe & Bar' (WARNING: does not contain actual bar) and an overpriced wireless internet service courtesy of Bitbuzz. One of us invested in 100 minutes access, and was later irritated to find that he could have had 24 hours for a small percentage more. For my own part, I didn't bring a computer, and quite enjoyed my holiday from the Internet. I didn't think of checking my AdSense earnings once for over two days, which must be some sort of record.
Galway itself is a strange city; small, full of waterways, and obsessed with the Irish language. Almost all signs are bilingual; some are even Irish-only. It contains at least one SuperMacs (dodgy Irish fast-food chain) for every ten citizens, and a Brown Thomas! I had always imagined Brown Thomas, a high-end department store in Dublin which I have been in exactly twice, to be a one-off, but apparently there are three or four of them. It also has lots of own-brand newsagents; almost all newsagents in Dublin are now Spar, Centra or that other one.
So, as I said, the conference itself was a bit of a non-entity. Half as many motions as last year, and almost all of them highly tedious. I didn't speak even once, which is unusual; I generally talk a bit at these things. The motions under discussion were just too uninteresting. Certain people, however, could have done with speaking quite a bit less.
As generally happens with these things, we had great plans for going out on Saturday, but the Friday night was the big one. We visited three places; a pub rather like someone's living room, a new and boring gay bar, and a gay night in some club or other. I had fond memories of said club night; it was there, three years ago, that I first kissed a boy. On Saturday, however, there was no gay club night at all! Imagine!
The journey back was by an 'express' train. Express it was, more or less, except for an inexplicable half-hour stop over the Shannon.
Besides all this, we saw quite a few interesting things in Galway, both in NUIG and in the city itself. These will follow...