During August 2019, I stayed at Ce ne Mara, self serviced apartments right on the working Port of Galway, which according to the port’s website, has a ‘history dating back to the 10th century’.
Ebb and flow was continuous and very interesting, mainly cargo ships being loaded with a lot of what seemed to be silage (or at least wrapped hay bales). Corrib Fisher visited several times and is identified with ‘oil products’ on the shipping schedule I found. The ship parked right outside my window and seemed to be offloading huge windmill components, propeller parts. And yes, their website schedule says OT Deaal ‘type’ is ‘wind energy project’. So I guessed correctly! Coincidentally, I was on the bus out to Clifden a couple of days later and lo and behold, off in the distance, there were big arse windmills.
Irish Navy ships were also in regularly during August. I’ve seen the Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats – all named after revered Irish writers, poets – literary figures. All three ships are offshore patrol vessels, 90m in length and weighing 1,933t. I’d have loved to tour onboard, but was away the weekend they offered guided tours. Dammit!
Movement was very engaging and my imagination triggered. How long do these guys spend at sea? How often are they at home? Is Galway their home port?
My apartment had floor to ceiling windows in the living area and I pretty much left the blinds up all the time. So, at night especially, we could see each other. I kind of hope it made them feel less alone, but maybe I’m being romantic. I promise that I kept my clothes on 🙂 and assumed that they were finding comfort (if any), perhaps watching my TV and not being perverts!
I’ve observed that many of the boats kept their engines going 24/7, perhaps for power? There was a constant humming and slight vibration. I did think it would affect my sleep, but funnily enough I mainly noticed when it wasn’t there. Those nights it was too quiet to sleep 🙂 One of the larger ships, the OT Deaal, kept me awake because of its lights. The bridge area was quite high and floodlit and these lights came straight into my bedroom and were just too bright. I ended up moving into the lounge, pulling down the blinds and sleeping on the sofa!
I don’t know what it is, but I love watching boat activity in ports and plane activity at airports. At Albury, where I live usually, until very recently you could sit out on a bench in the sun and watch the coming and going of planes. However, they’ve now extended the terminal building and so that’s stopped. And I’ve noticed that the availability of viewing platforms at many airports is discontinued. Must be part of our security conscious culture now.
Anyway, humans seem to take pleasure in proximity to water, whether that is dams, brooks/creeks, rivers or oceans. There is something magical about being near water. Soothing, food for the soul. Lift your face and feel the breeze, the sea spray, breathe in the moisture, listen to the crashing of waves, hear the squawking of seabirds, see them lift and soar. Walk along jetties, wharfs. Wander out to the seashore, beaches, rocks – go fishing.
People have clearly been attracted to the movement at this port, in my observation. They stop and look. Taking photos, smiling and pointing.
So far in September there have been a couple of cruise ships in, although they must be too big for the port as the passengers were shuttled in via tenders.
I’ve moved on now from the docks of Galway Port and onto Salthill. I’ll miss that little oasis, but you know it will keep on going without me. Since the 10th century? And hopefully, well into the future.
NOTE: If you enjoy my Trish’s Place for Travel, you may also enjoy my blog Random Thoughts with Trish.
Interesting Port of Galway stories (if interested).
I should imagine the humming was very relaxing 😌
I have memories of staying in Plymouth in the 1990s and feeling amazed that I was breathing in the same salty sea air as countless generations of nameless sailors, and standing mesmerised watchi g comings and goings. Loving your writing, Trish
Enjoying your narration Trish. X
We’ve always enjoyed the movement in an out of ships – Fremantle, Esperance, Bunbury, Geraldton, Melbourne…nice work:)
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