Approach to Galway

As you approach Galway, the universality of red petticoats, and the same brilliant colour in most other articles of female dress, give a foreign aspect to the population, which prepares you somewhat for the completely Italian or Spanish look of most of the streets of the town. It was a market day when we arrived, and the large square in front of the inn was thronged with hundreds of people shoeless and stockingless, but all with their "top-hamper," as the sailor would say, of this gayest of colours. Not only in dress, however, but in vivid gesticulation, and in a certain massiveness of feature, the Galwayians struck us as differing from all the other Irish we had seen.

Street in Galway

Street in Galway

The noise of the potatoe and pig traders was perfectly deafening, and there seemed the promise of a fight in every group engaged in traffic. After wandering awhile among the baskets and carts, we turned down a well-thronged street, and were immediately struck with the architecture of some of the old SPANISH HOUSES, still in tolerable preservation. To us it seemed irresistibly like a street in Italy; and Inglis, who has travelled in Spain, says that at every step he saw something to recall Spain to his recollection. "I found," he says, "the wide entries and broad stairs of Cadiz and Malaga: the arched gateways with the outer and inner railing, and the court within—needing only the fountain and flower-vases to emulate Seville. I found the sculptured gateways and grotesque architecture which carried the imagination to the Moorish cities of Granada and Valencia. I even found the little sliding-wicket for observation in one or two doors, reminding one of the secresy, mystery, and caution observed, where gallantry and superstition divide life between them."


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