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Published: August 3rd 2017
downtown Galway latin Quarter race week
The Galway Races with the Caulfield's
I arrived at the Connacht Hotel in Galway about 4:30 after a windy ride on the Motorway. The Connacht is an ok hotel and certainly served my needs. I took a cab into town and had dinner in a place called Kirby's. My meal was outstanding and was the dinner referral from Bill Eagan who I met at "A Bunch of Grapes" Pub. Bill is a US transplant, I'm actually surprised about how many US pat's I run into. Walked through the Latin quarter and hit a couple bars with my friend Eammon recommended.
Tuesday morning Eammon drove over to the hotel and chauferred me to Caulfield Industrial Distribution. I was very impressed with the operations Eammon and Tony (his brother) have driven and the level of value added they have integrated in to the products they distribute. He dropped me off back at the hotel which gave me a little time to work on my blog before his sales manager Kevin would collect me to bring me to the races. While there are a number of race tracks in Ireland - the Galway races are the most fun and the biggest. The
Notice the final stretch behind me -- stiff up hill run!
dress ranged from jeans to suits and hat's for the lady's (similar to the Derby) back in the states. Kevin along with two of his friends and I had a few pints in what used to be the longest bar in the Guinness book of records. The bar appropriately name "The Long Bar" held the record for years until others found out there was such a record and built ones longer. As for the track overall it is about 1 mile but the final leg to the finish line is uphill and pretty steep at that (see pic).
There are a lot of unique things about betting at the Galway races vs. the US. First off, when you want to place your bet you shop around the betting center for the best odds you can find on your horse. One bookie may have your horse at 9:1 and another at 10:1. There were 7 races in all, Caulfield Industrial sponsored 3 of the races 4th, 6th, and 7th. The first two were steeple chase races so I bet sparingly but I didn't get a winner until the 5th race. We had winner circle sponsor badges which was really cool
The Galway race center
and were invited into a room for champagne with the owners of the winning horse. The 4th race (sponsored by the Caulfield's) was won by an owner who was a former jockey who had been injured when he was thrown from his horse (see picture with Eammon and his wife at the presentation platform). I also had the chance to meet Eammon's mother what a grand lady! The weather was perfect no rain - not to hot nor too cold. I won the last race which brought me back considerably and as a result only left about 30 quid at the track.
in the morning I took the bike over pick up my laundry I knew it was just down the block so I didn't worry about dressing up for the bike. I got poured on and had to change my shirt before heading off to Westport. I got on the road about noon and gassed up (with Unleaded) before heading out of town. I took the slightly longer route to Westport because I wanted to stop at Ashford Castle and Cong where some of the Quiet Man was filled with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara (see pics). If
Ladies in their hats at Galway races
you haven't seen the movie its a classic and shows a nice bit of Ireland. Maureen O'Hara has always been one of those people I wished I had a chance to meet.
It was a nice ride up to Westport on a small road and not to much rain. Stopped and took a few roadside pictures and at one point was on a road for about 6 km that looked like it was a wagon train road for the old west- not paved big enough for one car and two ruts on either side with grass in the middle. Fortunately, no other opposing cars came so I made it through. I arrive in Westport about 2:30 and my room was ready at the Knockranny House hotel. They have a spa so I called to see if there was an opening and was lucky to get an appointment. Very nice spa and accommodations. My massage therapist was a very nice gal- Stephanie. She used to manage the spa at Ashford Castle for 12 years and had actually met Maureen O'Hara when she was in Cong for the anniversary of the Quiet Man. When I said how much I like Maureen
Me and Eammon Caulfield at the races
O she said she would send me a copy of the picture she took with her. After a awesome massage I went down to the Bar and had a bowl of soup and worked on my blog. Dar was bartending and gave me some tips on Scotland where he is going to be working starting next month. I then decided to hit down town Westport and go to Matt Molloy's. I shared a cab with Peter and Linda from Belfast. Matt Molloy's was pretty crowded when you walked in but thin out a little in the middle area in the back area is where the musicians play and it was starting to get crowded- I copped a squat next to a couple who ended up being part of the music. Turns out I was the only non musician sitting in the area- I was on the end so they said I was fine. What a great seat!! 4 fiddles, 1 guitar, 1 5 string banjo, 1 flute, and 1 Buzuki (like a guitar/mandolin). I took some video to bring home for Karen. Great Music - and great fun! This was one of the many reasons Ireland is one of -
Eammon and Carol presenting the winning trophy for race number 4 sponsored by Caulfield Industrial
if not - my favorite place to visit.
Stopped and had a late dinner at an Indian restaurant and met a nice couple from Dublin Mary and Paddy. We chatted through our meal and had a grand time. Got back to the hotel by midnight and hit the hay for my trek tomorrow - weather up north in Donegal is supposed to crappy so I'm pl
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