Sunday, June 6, 2010

Festival Season

We're fond of a festival in Galway.

This weekend the Galway Powerboat Festival at the Docks and Little Havana Festival in the Latin Quarter are vying for the attention of Galway's festival deprived population. It's been a rough few weeks. The Cúirt Literary festival was AGES ago (April), and the Film Fleadh, Arts Festival, Racing Festival and Boboró Children's Festival don't kick off for another twenty minutes or so. Much like Hallmark came up with the novel idea of celebrating a mediaeval mass murderer in mid February as a solution to the greeting card slump between Christmas and Easter, so Galway has pulled a weekend of drinking and entertainment out of it's ass. I get the feeling nobody looked at a calendar when agreeing to give them both the same weekend. They appear to be entirely unconnected.

I'll say this though: it makes for an exciting stroll into town.

Bandstands are popping up around the city like pimples on a teenager. A recent geographical phenemenon produced the "historic" Latin Quarter. I had never heard the Quay Street area referred to in this way until maybe 10 months ago. Extensive research has revealed it is most likely a reference to the nearby Spanish Arch, but let's be honest, the term "Latin" evokes a very different sense today. It's Cuban this weekend. Huge liquor sponser and all. If you want to see drunk sunburnt freckly ginger Irish lads flailing maniacally to salsa music while Havana Club paralhenalia clad bouncers stare on in amusement, Quay street is the place to be.

The setup at the docks is much better. The Galway Powerboat festival is a light version of last year's Volvo Ocean Race. The Let's Do it Galway people are at it again. A bandstand at the docks is hosting consistently good music all week. We saw Mick Flannery, and strolled through the various food-stalls and casual traders. A small old fashioned carnival is down there too, complete with carousel.

Unfortunately the Galway Powerboat Festival does not appear to have a website, so good luck finding an event guide...

[UPDATE: - now why didn't I guess that?]

Eventually Simon and I hit our tolerance threshold for expensive warm beer in plastic cups and escaped to the Crane for a pint on the way home. Does that place ever disappoint? We scootched in beside a girl out for a quiet one with her parents. She's looking sideways at the arse of the 6 foot 4 hippie standing beside her. The wee old man pub stools put her exactly at eye level with this mans nether cheeks, and the Mum turns around to me and asks "Do you think they're flesh coloured or is he just not wearing pants?" We debate a while, posing various hypothesis and not bothering to lower our voices much cos let's face it how much could a boxerless hippie in arse ripped jeans really care what people say? Meanwhile we're all staring, myself and Simon and our new companions, united in adversity, and this lads arse is like a solar eclipse; you know you shouldn't look but you cant turn away. I offer that perhaps they began as standard white Y-fronts and were tragically mixed up with the red shirt he had on him in the wash. The poor lady with the view looks square at us and says "Mum, I can see hair and freckles, Im telling you it's arse."