The spoils of Galway

Writing on the train seems to be the way to go. I find that looking out of the window makes me contemplative and that, in turn, inspires me to write something, be it a poem or, indeed, a blog post.

I’ve spent the last few days in Galway with Keith and Alex, my #teamamusia cohorts. We’ve been putting on our show, Mémoires d’un Amnésique, and it’s gone down really well. I’m on the train back to Dublin, to eventually go to Manchester for another show, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a very different scene to Galway.

I have red hair and its heritage is Irish — I’ve always had a longing to go there and, but for a brief weekend in Dublin for my sister’s hen night 20 years back, I’ve never been. Wishing I had — it’s beautiful and, for want of sounding corny, I felt an affinity with the place; a belonging. More and more I find myself feeling similarly towards Celtic beliefs and practices, so maybe that’s all part of it?

My heritage is a bit…foggy. As I remember it, I was always told that our family ran a travelling circus and, therefore, our town of origin was unknown. I was chatting with my sister and cousin about this on the way here and my cousin corrected me and told me it was a fairground and that Sarah Collins had married into our family. Not quite the heritage of trapeze artists I had imagined, but more information…and a name!

Apparently, a relative has written more down, so that is something I will be investigating when I get back. Maybe I’ll finally find out where we’re from.

Back to Galway…a wonderful city, made by the people within it. The fact that the train journey there was spent chatting to the people in our part of the carriage was a promising start, and the whole time we were there, everyone we met was warm and friendly (and sporting the most gorgeous accent).

Galway is the City of Culture next year and it’s easy to see why. It has a rich belly of arts and its formal and street culture is vibrant and inspiring. The place itself is steeped in history, from its pirate, Grace Malone, to the struggles against the English.

The thing that struck me most powerfully was the Galway wind (so much so, I’ve written a poem about it). It was a warm, powerful wind that felt like an embrace, a welcome home. Maybe some day I’ll be able to feel it on my face again and tell it I’m back.

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