Monday, 6 July 2009

Oh yes, you know when you’ve been Galwayed!

I’ve been Galwayed. Galwayed good and proper, that’s what I am right now. I had a double, a double Galway: that’s city and county.
If I’d mixed the county after the city, I might not be feeling so bewildered and crap.
But I didn’t.
So I do.
My head is crushed, my thoughts spinning in negative spirals that I know well to leave alone. This is not about a hangover. Being Galwayed is a combination of sleep deprivation, over-consumption, over-stimulation of sensory experience and a glut of social auld bollox that seems substantial at the time, yet dies into ephemera with the first snore of the semi-comatose night.
Coming or going are concepts you abandon when being truly Galwayed.
As I write this I know that it’s Monday, but it could be Saturday, Flipday or tomorrow.
I’m going to pin the guilt for the whole sad and wonderful day on the sun, which rises so early and sets so late over Galway at this time of year, you wake up three hours before you’ve gone to sleep.
So yesterday, Sunday morning, at 5am, I open my eyes, go for the middle-aged peeper, and realise to my horror that I am quite awake.
I also notice that herself the Snapper is not yet home. A text tells the tale of a well-earned glass or two after a hard night’s work which led to a party, and who could blame her?
I go back to bed but I’m half thinking about herself getting home safely, and half thinking about how that’ll be fine, and half thinking about the blue sky and sunshine and how you can’t have three halves.
So I get up at silly o’clock on a Sunday, and walk the causeway to Mutton Island under blue skies before the shops are open, wondering how to fill my day off. Even when you work for yourself, you have to have days off, where sloth is no crime.
But today is a day for action. Firing up Shaaanny car, I do what I do most naturally, and head west, excited at the prospect of the very early very empty road to Clifden.
Connemara looks jaw-droppingly beautiful as piercing summer sunshine is hidden and released by towering tumultuous storm clouds. The Maamturk Mountains themselves appear to move, as vast black shadows travel at speed across them.
Speeding along but less stunning, your scribbler arrives in Clifden at 10:15, and takes a most excellent breakfast in the Off The Square Restaurant. Great service, fab food, followed by a stroll down to the bridge on the Ballyconneely road, to watch the river cascade a while and build a thirst.
All the serious pubs are shut.
Himself the Goat is not responding to texts, and why would he?
What am I doing in Clifden so bloomin’ early on a Sunday?
Well, now what?
Back in Shaaanny, to drive at a more leisurely pace back to Galway. I pick up a hitcher in Oughterrard. We chat and laugh and then I’m back, aimless and hyper in Rahoon (never a good combination). I call round to Angel, but he’s not about, and Soldier Boy has been out since yesterday fortnight, so I’ll leave him be.
I go home and see the curtains upstairs still drawn. I sit and try to read the Sunday papers but no, not for me, not today. Something is eating me up, so I drive into town not knowing if I really even want to go into town.
Instead of parking in the Claddagh, I drive down Henry Street and for some reason decide to pointlessly pootle in circles around the town centre.
Sitting alone outside Neachtain's, watching Sunday strangers throng with cameras, up pops the Artist Formerly Known As Snarly. Off to the Quays, where we talk of religion, fly fishing and zombies in dreams.
Then I wander up to God knows where looking for the Devil knows who, and stumble into Dalooney outside Tigh Coilis, who persuades me to have a pint. Half of me is still in Connemara, half of me still on the road, half of me in bed asleep and the other half suddenly holding a pint that somehow makes sense in a world with too many damnable halves in it.
But I’m driving and have to call it a day, so I walk over the bridge and bump into The Waistcoat, who thrusts a can of Apples into my hand, and feeling bad and reckless and boring and mediocre I sit and chat as we reminisce of 80’s London and great travels and watch the river flow past.
Then, knowing that this is one of only 3 occasions in my long life when I have driven whilst possibly over the limit, I drop the car back to Salthill.
The bedroom curtains are still closed, so I go into the house, have a blissful peeper, and head off, again, into the city, feeling like Martin Sheen going into the jungle in ‘Apocalypse Now’.
Deadly black clouds are hanging huge and low. Me no walky, no be soaky.
Get a bus? But no, there’ll be an age to wait but look at that cloud and ennyhoodyhoo, why are you going in when you haven’t any money you fool and look -yahoo! -there’s a bus!
‘Tis meant to be. ‘Tis written.
Quay Street again, where first I gorge myself on piping hot salty vinegary potatoey heavenly chips from McDonaghs, and then head towards the motley crew of eccentrics, musicians and gobshites (myself included) hanging outside Tigh Coilis. Dalooney and the Waistcoat show great generosity with the drink, and I know I’m being Galwayed, but I don’t care, because at that moment you care about neither future happiness nor past pain.
The Snapper texts to say she is coming into town to pick up her car, left in town the night before, and would I like a lift home?
Finding myself incapable of texting properly, I realise that thanks to the beauty of Connemara and the kindness of friends, I have managed to make it through this strange day. Hallelujah! Now I must indeed go home.
Later, despite being wrapped entirely in the synthetic warmth of the Chelsea blanket, herself trembles and shivers on the sofa, while I sit mouth agape, dribbling staring unblinking at a procession of godawful Sunday evening white chocolate TV dramas.
We know.
Oh yes. We know we’ve been Galwayed.


Paz said...

never heard that expression before, funny

Charlie Adley said...

Hope you haven't, 'cos I made it up! In fact, it really was what I said to the Snapper that night, as we sat there: 'Babe we've been Galwayed!' and she knew what I meant.

Thanks Paz!

Anonymous said...


Miles O Tool said...

Being Galwayed every now and then is magnificent. Not everybody is capable of being Galwayed, your soul has to be in the right place, the sun and the moon have to be somewhere special, most of all you can't plan to be Galwayed. Galway must Galway you out of the blue.

My last Galwaying was on a 5 minute trip to the Saturday Market, meeting a mad, bad man queuing for a hot dog, going into Sheridans for one glass of wine. "Sure it's nearly Christmas, we never meet in town". Glorious glass of Amaretto that said more. Another bad man comes in, the lies, the bullshit, more wine.

"Jasus lads, a pint would be lovely" Will it be Murphys, Freeneys or Nocks? "Fekkit we'll try them all". A tour of the top shelf in Nocks. Knowledgable talk of single malts.

"Plenty vinegar on them chips Sharon". McDonaghs should be available on the Medical Card.

"Where are you from, boss?" The African taxi driver and myself have a chat about immigration.

Out of the cab, keep straight for the neighbours. In home, the sofa seductively gathers me in, the missus says the sofa is the only seduction I'll get for a while. The mad, bad man's lovely wife rings my lovely wife and says that he is barred from town for 6 months.

I was Galwayed.

Charlie Adley said...


You've got it mate - you know what it means. beautifully put!

Unknown said...

Ah such wonderfull memories you envoke, I thoroughly look forward toa week of being galwayéd. although im sure its something different for a non resident.
great articals x

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks me old mucka - when are you arriving back in town?