I’m in love with this city. It’s our go-to city whilst living in Ireland. We tend to stay in the Salthill Hotel when we visit because I’m drawn to the peace of the beach and the buzz of the city which is within walking distance, the best of both worlds. I currently miss Galway, due to the Covid19. Ireland does pubs the best in the world, live music, characters, dancing, a sticky floor and characters.
Salthill Galway With Artist Louise McIntosh
The colours down Shop Street, dance in your eyes. Tigh Neachtain’s is a favourite pub of ours. The tables in the pub are round with glass-covered over and a map underneath. Sitting in a tiny vase will always be a fresh flower. The walls littered with Art, old photographs of Shop Street and people from years past. An area to the left has fresh scones, tea and soup laid out. It’s a must-see.
Galway is full of life, we’ve been at Christmas, April, Birthday’s and have never been disappointed with the streets of Galway. I’ve brought my mother here from Scotland, where we got caught in a rainstorm on the way back from the city to Salthill, we were like two drowned rats by the time we made it back to the Salthill Hotel. Our hearts were full of laughter and we created the funniest memory with each other, which I hope to continue in our future.
We took our Irish, Niece and Nephew, for an overnight trip to Galway as a Christmas present, for February 2018, they were over the moon. They loved the movies in bed and waking up to enjoy a trip to the beach to make faces with sticks that had been blown in from the sea, on the sand. We were all had woolly hats, gloves and scarfs on as the crisp sea wintry air would have perished us otherwise. We caught the bus into the city and opted for a pot of ice-cream from Gino’s Gelato, of course, the portion sizes were off the scale but we demolished the lot. It was a memorable trip and the children still talk about it today.
The Claddagh in Galway, I’ve painted twice now, a gift for my mother for Christmas 2019 and one for our house, it sits above our fireplace, both painted on the brink of me beginning my Art Business, ‘Lou Mac Artist’.
Salthill and Galway Interview with Louise with Jackie De Burca
Jackie De Burca: You’ve had a huge amount of contrast, even just that last trip. You know, the contrast between your own normal backpacking style of obviously trying to do things on the cheap as much as possible. And then meeting up with the lady from your days of Norway. So there are so many contrasts, I’m so curious Louise, how with so many adventures behind you and of course, anybody who knows what an Irish accent sounds like knows that I’m Irish. How after all of those adventures, how did you end up in Ireland for the last seven years
Louise McIntosh (artist): I kind of fell in love basically with someone off of Twitter, believe it or not. I met my partner on Twitter, Aidan. We met up in Edinburgh City, we came back and forth. We travelled to and from Ireland, Aidan to and from Edinburgh, for about a year. I was working in a care home at the time and my colleagues were leaving. I thought maybe it’ll be different, maybe it’s an opportunity after three years of working there, for me to do something different.
So I decided to move in with Aidan over in Ireland. So, I packed up my life in Edinburgh around my 40th birthday, it was two days after my 40th, we filled a transit van and drove it all the way over here. That’s when I started living here. I absolutely love Ireland, but, I do miss my family and friends, you know.
I envisaged staying here for three years with Aidan and then we were going to move back. Aidan’s job has kept him in Ireland basically for now. So we’ll see. It has given me an opportunity to do things like I did work at Dublin Airport for a while. It was a summer job with a car rental company. So I was able to work in Ireland but the commute was very long.
I was able to write a novel here, I’ve never been able to achieve that before, at home, I was always so busy. It was a shock to the system to go from city life to the country life, I’m not sure I could go back to country life in Scotland. We’d love to be in a little town or a city, you know, in the future.
Jackie De Burca: You’ve also said to me, Louise, because for those people that are listening, you know, who don’t know distances in Ireland but one of my favourite cities, in fact, I’ve been a bit naughty – I have said in one article if not in two, I probably prefer Galway to my own home city of Dublin, but let’s just say I love them both, but in different ways just to be politically correct. And you, you obviously love Galway and why do you think you love it so much?
Louise McIntosh (artist): I think Galway is such a colourful city. The Claddagh, for example, it’s just a line of houses on the waterfront that are so full of colour. It’s a colourful city, not just in colour, but also the people, the characters, the music.
Ireland do pub life so well, and it’s not all about pubs but they just have nailed it with the music and the people getting together, chatting. We sometimes stay at the Salthill Hotel, I like the idea of having the sea on your doorstep and being able to walk from the beach to the city is just great. It’s fantastic.
The scenery is spectacular. When you are in any city, you can’t help but have that buzz about you, yet I think coming from Edinburgh city, I like to sit in a bar or a cafe and write or just people watch or chat whilst eating, I’ve taken my Mum there. I’ve taken my friends that come from Scotland there because I know everybody’s going to have a good time. It’s something for everybody and the city is beautiful as well, it’s small as well as quite compact, which I like, you can walk about here and there, it’s got everything for everybody. I feel.
Jackie De Burca: I love it myself. Now you mentioned the Salthill Hotel. Is that your favourite place to stay or do you sometimes stay in any other places?
Louise McIntosh (artist): When I first moved across, we were staying in like the Eyre Square Hotel because it was on the square, it was in the centre of Galway city, which suits my partner, Aidan, really, ’cause it’s, that’s what he likes, but I think you’ve got compromise in a relationship. I like the beach and the city, you can walk to and fro Salthill it’s nice for that. Do you know what you mean? I can’t remember – there’s a hotel near it that we’ve stayed in as well or next door to it. It’s like an American style hotel but Salthill has everything for me. It doesn’t have to be the Salthill hotel, it can be the one next door, I think it’s called the Galway Bay or just in that area is nice because it’s got the beach really.
Jackie De Burca: Well. I mean I have the same absolute love of the beach and water. So I totally get that. For example, when you brought your Mum over, where would be, if you had to do like a quick, a few hours of touring around the area, where would be the important places to bring your Mum or any other visitor around Galway?
Louise McIntosh (artist): Well, we tend to stick to the city because we know that’s what everybody likes. I don’t know if we’ve done much around the area of Galway city, but we’ve travelled around Ireland, we’ve taken people. My Mum, especially loves down in Kerry and County Kerry, all around that area. Galway we kind of stick to the centre and just experienced that really.
Jackie De Burca: Any favourite restaurants or bars, what are your kind of go-to places when you’re in Galway city?
Louise McIntosh (artist): Yeah. My favourite bar would be like Tigh Neachtain’s because we tend to eat there, to be honest, often, cause they do like soup and scones and it’s just a great, it’s a character of a place. If anyone, visits Galway, they have to go there.
Restaurants, I can’t think of the names, but pizza, there’s a pizza around the corner, which I really love. We’ve been there once or twice that’s probably it, sometimes hotels, you know, if we’re staying in certain hotels, we’ll eat there. Sorry.
Jackie De Burca: I think you mentioned to me going back to Tigh Neachtains which is like folklore in itself as bars in Galway go. You mentioned you had some kind of a funny story of about the bar there, didn’t you?
Louise McIntosh (artist): Yeah. I mean, yeah, it’s just, we, we started at the bar, I think it was one Sunday or something and we were just sitting, it was quiet. People were reading their newspapers with a cup of tea at the bar, or some people having a wine or Guinness. We were sitting opposite the bar near the main entrance. It’s a nice wee hub, you see people coming in and coming out, but there was an older gentleman that came in and I’ve seen him before. I’m sure at the bar, but this time he came in and just went straight to the piano which was next to us and he started to play the piano. It was the most beautiful music. He went on and on, song after song, he wasn’t singing or that. It was just piano music and it was just something out of a movie. He got up and I think he had a cup of tea, put his hat back on and went on his way.
I asked the barman who the chap was. And he said he doesn’t have a piano at home so he comes here around two or three times each week!
Jackie De Burca: It’s a beautiful story. But I think in a way it’s a story that illustrates the character in a way of Galway City- at least my experiences there have been, you know, that kind of thing. There are characters, it’s creative, it’s colourful like you said, isn’t it?
Louise McIntosh (artist): Yes. It’s so full of life. The buskers, there was one time where my friends came up, one of my best friends from Aberdeen in Scotland came over and we took her to go away for the night to stay at the Salthill and, you know, went into town and we went to Quays Bar. There was a busker outside and we had entertainment for the whole evening. And you know, of course, we gave him big tips. We were joined by a Polish group of people, a French group of people, and they all sat with us singing and luckily it was gorgeous weather, I always bring people over from Scotland to Galway, you want them to have the best time, I always think Galway offers the best time. Definitely.
Jackie De Burca Louise. just to let the listeners know, we’re putting your website just below here. So all of the art that we’ve discussed during our chat today, you know, anybody who would like to see it, they can obviously click through to your website, Louise, thank you so much, so much for taking us on this amazing journey that you’ve had up to now. And, obviously, the environments that you’ve been in, I think reflect very much the contrast, the colours, the basically the way that your art is. That’s a very interesting reflection that your journey has taken us today on the Creative Places and Faces podcast. Thank you so much, Louise, for joining us.