Leaders of the Easter Rising are what led to what is now the Republic of Ireland. Each of the fourteen lead rebels of the rebellion were publicly executed at Kilmainham Gaol, which leaves the jail at the center of Irish history and brutality. Had the leaders of 1916 been allowed to live, Irish history might have taken a different course. This deep rooted history of violence and struggle for freedom aroused my curiosity and thirst for more knowledge. A tour of the gaol gave me an even deeper insight into the harsh conditions in which men, women, and children were subjected to while imprisoned there. It is a sombre, even chilling, place to visit, but absolutely fascinating.
Have you ever seen a decayed, shrunken head in real life? That’s what I found in St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Drogheda, Ireland.
The church appeared like most other churches with tiled floors and wooden pews scattered with devout heads bowed in prayer. But off to the left there is an unusual shrine dedicated to Saint Oliver Plunkett, a Catholic bishop who was hanged for treason by the English in 1681. Most of him lies buried in England, but his head, shrunken and stark, is encased in a glass enclosure in St Peter’s Catholic Church in Drogheda.
Tig Cóilí is situated on Mainguard Street at the end of Shop Street in Galway, Ireland and is always filled to the brim like the great Guinness that they serve.
After a few short hours of enjoying the surroundings, drinking more than my body weight in beer, and talking with pretty much everyone in the pub, I felt like I was part of something more. I was emerged in the culture and environment that is uniquely Irish and I never once felt out of place or unwelcome.
The people intermingled inside and out with little restrictions on where you could go with drinks. When stopped by a police officer because I was holding a glass bottle, he simply gave me a plastic glass, smiled, and told me to enjoy my night.
Tig Cóilí is a great place to go and soak up the heart of Ireland, where dancing in the streets isn’t just a saying.
If you find yourself within 20 miles of Galway, stop in Tig Cóilí and chat with Aonghus O’Flaherty; he might just be the nicest Irishman alive, and that’s saying something! Ciad Mile Failte doesn’t quite cut it.