Beezie was one tough lady. She lived in sweet isolation on Cottage Island, a former leper colony, in the middle of a lake near the town of Sligo, Ireland. She rowed herself ashore to swap her potent home brew for produce at the market right up until she passed away. There was a joke that the fish stall would be empty the next day; the trawlers would not set sail as the fishermen would all be suffering a dreadful hangover. As we gently paddled past her former home I admired her tenacity and grew envious of her tranquil residence.
Dolly’s Cottage is more than just a museum. It survived the Great Famine, unlike the majority of the local residents. “A huge number died on the journey to North America, disease and sewage were everywhere. That’s why they were called coffin ships. But the alternative was staying and starving to death.” We were given a brief background to the disaster that severely affected farmers in the 1840’s
What is the most romantic food? Is it falafel? One of the show’s characters came over to ask us for our opinion as we settled into our seats, taking notes of our suggestions.
This was just one of the interactions we had as part of the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF). It has been a cultural catalyst since 1978 and attracts over 200,000 visitors to the city every July. For two weeks there are over 200 amazing events in Galway including theatre, music, dance, opera, comedy, drama and street extravaganzas. It features international and local acts, many critically acclaimed artists, writers and performers, and has helped the town win European Capital of Culture in 2020.
The t-shirt printing store boasts tops with the slogan ‘Westport – voted the best place to live in Ireland’. However, it failed to declare by whom and more importantly, why? We were keen to investigate this further, so when we saw an advert for ‘Ireland’s best loved heritage attraction’ it was our first port of call.
Ireland’s fair city, Dublin, is one of twenty officially recognised UNESCO cities of literature. Overflowing with associations to well known bards of the written and spoken word it is an ideal place for contemplating their compositions and appreciating literary wonders.