Galway

Ireland in Song, Film, Television, and Literature

Elizabeth Wampler is a student at Georgia College & State University and is an ISA Photo Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Galway, Ireland

Being a Mass Communications major at a Liberal Arts university, I have always had a passion for film, music, and literature. Because of this fact, and the fact that everyone has somewhat of an interest in at least one of these mediums, I felt that it would be necessary to share Ireland’s unknown fame with you!

To begin, many younger people will most likely not have heard of the iconic John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man. Filmed in the early 1950’s, the plot of the film illustrates the travels of an American boxer back to his birthplace in a small town called Innisfree, in which he finds love.

During my first week in Ireland, I was able to visit the fictional Castletown in which the film’s train station is located. This train station, in reality, named Ballyglunin, or Beál Átha Gluinin, was actually functional up until 1976 and is located in County Galway.

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train station

Likewise, I was able to visit the town of Cong in County Mayo and visit the famous bar, Pat Cohan. In which multiple fights throughout the film began, paused, and ended.

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pat's bar

For you “Game of Thrones” fans out there, can you tell what this is? I know it’s a bit far, but this was taken from a moving bus nearly a quarter mile away. Unfortunately, I was not allowed off the bus to go see it up close…

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I hope you guessed it right, this set is Castle Black where the Night’s Watch stood guard over the wall, part of which you can see on the surrounding stone behind the castle.

Here’s another picture for you nerds out there, who also thrive on Harry Potter like myself! Of course I had to include some sort of HP reference into this post, otherwise it just would not have been fair. Take a look at the film rendition of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. During the journey to the cave scene, Albus Dumbledore apparates Harry Potter and himself to the foot of the cliff at which time epic music can be heard as they stand on a rocky ledge looking at the entrance to the cave. Well this scene takes place at the Cliffs of Moher, an Irish natural masterpiece.

Fun fact, this was the only scene shot outside of the United Kingdom throughout the entirety of the film series.

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Another Cliffs of Moher film cameo can be seen in the popular film The Princess Bride. The scene in which Andre the Giant’s character Fezzik pulls Vizzini, Inigo, Buttercup, as well as himself up the side of the cliffs of insanity by a rope, was also filmed at this famous location.

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Moving on to music which we all know and love. I have no doubt that the majority of you reading this have heard one song by the famous British singer Ed Sheeran. If you have, you have most likely also heard his song “Galway Girl.” The official music video for this song takes place exclusively in Galway City. Here are a few places that can be recognized in the video:

The first is a pub in Eyre Square called O’Connell’s. This pub is a very popular spot in the city center. It offers live music some nights, has four bars, and has a beer garden out back.

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The other spot I photographed can be seen at the very end of the video when Saoirse Ronan and Ed Sheeran are hugging at the window of a rooftop bedroom. Looking at he tall blue building and the window on its roof you can see precisely where the two stood gazing over the River Corrib.

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I do not believe I can post an article about music, film, and literature in Ireland without mentioning Oscar Wilde. This famous 19th century poet and playwright was an Irish-born native who published multiple works that are well known even today. These include but are not limited to The Importance of Being Earnest, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, as well as his only written novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.  This statue or Wilde is in Galway City on your way to Shop Street.

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Lastly, I must comment on Galway’s street musicians who make Galway City Center what it is today. I cannot even imagine walking through Shop Street and not hearing the strum of a guitar, the tap of an Irish dancer’s shoes, the drone of a set of Uilleann pipes, or the sweet voices that fill the air.

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Likewise, if you go into a pub on any night of the week, you are pretty much guaranteed a viewing of a Trad Session, or Traditional Irish Music Session. My favorite pubs to listen to this style of music so far are Taaffes and Tig Coili on Shop Street.

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If you ever come to Galway, or Ireland for that matter, I beg you to travel around the country as much as you can, meet new people, get lost in the culture and landscapes and look at the history and meaning behind each thing you see. You never know, maybe your favorite celebrity, artist, or actor stood exactly where you are standing…

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

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