A Jaunt to Galway

So this post is super late but I’ve been busy moving and traveling. I am finally settled for a little while and I have some free time so it is time to catch up. The month of April was full of travel for me. I returned from Canada (see previous post), went to Philly for a committee meeting and saw my friend Courtney, and I was able to travel to Ireland for a week for a conference. This last one was huge, most educators have a hard time getting the funds and time off to go to conferences in their subject field but this year the stars aligned and I was able to afford to travel to the 7th Conference of Italian Archaeology. This was an amazing conference, everyone was super friendly and supportive, I got to meet, talk and in some cases eat with several big name scholars, and I also created several great contacts with in the field of archaeology. It is one of the midsize conferences that seems to be ever increasing in number. My friend, Theresa, just went to one at the Villa Giulia and had similar praises (although her post also focuses on the challenges of being a woman traveling alone to these types of conferences, which is sad that some people might miss out on these types of events because of traveling alone).

While at the conference I heard a lot of speakers on a plethora of topics from 4th wave feminism, to the use of vandalism on buildings to give a voice to the non-elites to some interesting initial ideas about what a woman’s world in Etruria would have looked like. I was there presenting on ways to improve signage at archaeological sites in order to better engage with the visiting public, it is part of a greater idea of translational archaeology that I hope starts to spread further among different academic fields. Maybe someday soon, we will start to see signs that reflect this idea in the field.


Who isn’t excited by medieval town walls!

But not only was I able to travel to the conference, I also had a few days during which I was able to explore Galway and the neighboring area. I took a tour bus with Galway Tour Company through the Burren and to the cliffs of Moher. I mean, I don’t think there is anything else to add to what others have said about the cliffs of Moher. Holy mackerel, they are beautiful and the sun came out just as we got to the cliffs so I got to enjoy them in the sunshine too. It is amazing to see what the earth has been able to create and we have yet to screw up. It also reminds me about how insignificant we are to this planet and that while I find archaeology to be the most important thing in the world, it is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The Burren is a rocky, hilly landscape full of history from the stone age portal tombs to famine walls from the Potato Famine, to medieval churches anchoring communities in this stark landscape. It inspired me to learn more about the local history.

Then there is the city of Galway. It reminds me so much of Vancouver and Denver. It is a young city, with an increasing appreciation of food. Although unlike the other two cities it has deep roots and an amazing (free) city history museum that helps explain the history. For example, I never knew that the Claddagh was an actual place. It means stony shore and was the fishing village of Galway. Even the bars have history, I stopped in for an afternoon pint at the King’s Head Inn. It was the mayorial house until Colonel Peter Stubbers of Cromwell’s army took the city. Stubbers was thought to be the perso to have beheaded Charles I. It is always humbling to visit cities and places with an older tradition than the United States, it reminds us all that civilization is so much bigger than just you and your space. It also makes me wish that more people had the chance to travel and learn about other places beyond their own. I’ll say it again: traveling and visiting others would go a long way to solving so many problems.


An old Galway Hooker with the city in the background

Well that is all I have to say for now about Ireland. There are so many stories and memories that I could share but you will just have to find me and share a pint as I sing rhapsodical about my time there (which is funny because I am the worse story teller out there).


About handyatmurlo

I am a Latin teacher at Regis Jesuit High School. I earned my MA at CU Boulder and my BA at UMass Amherst. I have spent my summers working in Italy as an archaeologist at three different sites. One I have worked at for 10 years at Poggio Civitate at Vescovado di Murlo. I have worked at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome for 2 years, before the project ended. I also spent 2 summers at the FSU excavations in Cosa.
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