Galway, June 2007

Claddagh Bay - Galway

Claddagh Bay - Galway

In June 2007, Alan, David, Heather, Richard, Anne-Marie and Graham travelled to the 6th International Workshop on Adaptive Optics in Industry and Medicine in Galway, Ireland. They spent a week there enjoying the famously friendly Irish atmosphere and some of it's most well known beverages! Here is a little information about Galway, and a few photos from their trip.

Galway (official Irish name: Gaillimh) is the only city in the province of Connacht in Ireland and capital of County Galway. The city takes its name from the Gaillimh river (River Corrib) that formed the western boundary of the earliest settlement, which was called Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe, or the fort at the bottom of the Gaillimh. The word Gaillimh means "stony" as in "stony river". Galway is Ireland's fastest growing city and home to the National University of Ireland and its Applied Optics Group who hosted the conference.

Aula Maxima - NUI Galway

NUI Galway ~ Aula Maxima

Often considered to be the 'Cultural Capital of Ireland', Galway is world renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events. A few of the biggest attractions are the Galway Film Fleadh, the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Oyster Festival. The picture opposite is one example of the cities cultural heritage. This is a bronze statue in Shop St, which shows a meeting of Irish writer Oscar Wilde and Estonian writer Eduard Wilde (although they never met in real life). It was a gift to the city from the Estonian city of Tartu when Estonia joined the EU in 2004.

The meeting that never was....Oscar Wilde and Eduard Wilde

The Meeting that Never Was - The Two Wildes

Galway is a city is well known for its 'Irishness', and mainly due to the fact that it has on its doorstep the Galway Gaeltacht. The language is visible on the city streets, with bilingual signage on display on shops and road signs, and can be heard by locals around the city, here's an example:

A street sign in Galway

Bilingual Galway - A city embracing its heritage

Perhaps one of the most famous exports from Galway is the Claddagh ring. The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring, given in friendship or worn as a wedding ring. The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old walls of the city of Galway. The ring was first produced in the 17th Century during the reign of Queen Mary II, though elements of the design are much older. The Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown).

The world's smallest claddagh ring

The World's Smallest Claddagh Ring ~ on top of a tailor's pin

Galway is a beautiful city and the HW WAF group certainly had a wonderful time there, and not just because of all the Guinness that was had......

A typical Galway pub

No trip to Ireland is complete without a pint of the black stuff....

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Just for fun

A little peek into the lighter side of life within the Heriot-Watt Waves & Fields group.

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