Last month while organising one of the Into The West Blogger Network events, I was on one of my numerous visits to the Ardilaun Hotel when I noticed their garden was in the beautiful phase of its life cycle where its teetering between Autumn and Winter as if between worlds..
The garden full with foliage and colour but at closer inspection, I could see traces of Winter’s deathly touch creeping up on the landscape. I think that when things are decaying and drifting off to another world, they hold a certain beauty of their own. They may not as beautiful as they once were but they hold tend to have their own wise and somewhat weathered exterior.
Here’s what I saw.
Here is one of my favourite pieces of writing on Autumn by George Eliot.
Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a pefect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot, letter to Miss Lewis, 1st October 1841
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love that in-between bit where I can wear layers for fashion’s sake and not necessity. I love walking through the city on dry days with the Autumn sun beating down on my face, headphones on and a coffee in hand. I love the Galway Saturday Market on an Autumn morning as the produce offered starts to change and there is a fantastic bustling energy there.
I love walks by the sea, air cold enough to catch your breath but not make you sick. The sunshine keeping you the right temperature but the cool breeze keeping your fast pace. I love to walk in the woods and witness their annual colour change and life cycle.
There are lots of amazing things you can do in Galway this Autumn, check out my ideas below:
- Walk the prom in the evenings or mornings. A walk by the sea at any time of day is wonderful for the body, mind and soul. But walking there in the early morning, Autumn sunshine goes new meaning to the idea of heaven. Long evenings there are also beautiful as the sky is painted a million colours as the sun sets. Theres nothing like the sun going down over Galway Bay.
- Little Cinema. The Little Cinema is a monthly short film showcase, that supports film-making at grass root levels in the West of Ireland and beyond. Funders Kenny, Julia & Liam have grown this project into a Galway staple over the last few years which is now a key player in the Cities arts scene. Over the 4 years it has screened over 400 films from over 170 film-makers and has provided an invaluable platform for film-makers and film-lovers to meet, network, showcase their work and simply enjoy films. A fun night for all lovers of film.
- Galway Market on a Saturday morning. There is nothing like it. Grab a coffee from McCambridges or Espresso 44 and head down to the market. Stop and smell the flowers literally, try on some hand knitted gloves and beautiful silver jewellery. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg, peruse some artists work and then warm up with some hot Vegan curry from Govinda’s. Heaven!
- Walk out in Barna Woods, Coole & Rinville Parks. This time of year is the time to get outside and bask in nature. Get out while you still can (before the bitter Winter weather arrives). Rinville park is a large public park located by the sea. The facilities include a, playground, picnic and barbecue areas. The network of walks through the woodland and open farmland, along with the scenic view of Galway Bay make it a very popular amenity area. Set in the grounds of an old stately house, many of the original structures are still in place. Coole Park was once the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, dramatist, folklorist and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. There here are two trails to follow at Coole, an easy 1.75 km walk, and a longer 4.5 km Trail too! Grab some friends, some dogs and go out walking! Barna Woods ia a smaller woods on the Barna Road between Knocknacarra and Barna, its a pleasant place to still, walk the dog and bring kids! Lots of space for running around! Don’t forget a picnic!
- Visit Madra and make some new friends. Madra (Mutts Annoymus Dog Rescue Adoption) is a rescue in Camus, Connemara. MADRA’s ultimate and overall aim is rehome all their starts to permanent, loving homes. They do wonderful work in rescuing and rehoming unwanted dogs in the city, county and beyond. Their animal shelter and HQ is based in the gorgeous Connemara countryside and there is always residents there who need to be walked, played with, washed/groomed and of course fostered and adopted! Why not volunteer for a day or two?
- Join a gym. Autumn is a brilliant time to join a gym, the evenings are short and getting outside in the evenings is sometimes a chore. Joining a gym and going to classes or swimming a few times a week is a wonderful way to keep active, meet people and get out in the evenings. Check out NRG gyms and Inspire Fitness here in Galway, they are brilliant.
- Take for a photo walk! This isn’t just for photographers, anyone can do it. Autumn days are some of the most stunning we have. Get that camera out of storage, get a disposable in the Euro Store or even just use your phone. Walk around the city or go out to the country and photograph to your hearts content! Galway is a photographer playground to be honest, the streets and buildings in the city centre have such character and stories to tell. With the river running right through the city with bridge, islands and canals, the photo opportunities are endless! Capture some memories!
- Start a class, workshop or online training. Autumn is when all the workshops and night course start up again around the city. The evenings are darker and the temptation is there to stay in a watch movies and tv a lot more but its the perfect time of year to start a Yoga class, learn how to cook or learn a new language. What about starting your own blog? Check out www.itwbn.ie for more on that! Go on, turn off Netflix and start some learning!
- Call up an old friend and go for coffee. Late evening trips to the coziness of Java’s cafe or the Secret Garden Cafe are a must for cold, dark Autumn evenings. Get in touch with an old friend (or someone new!) and grab an evening coffee (or read!). Evenings at home, alone are not good for your mental health. Get out and get chatting, the problems of the world need to be solved goddammit!
- Enjoy the Festivals! The Latin Quarter Halloween Festival, the Macnas Parade, the Comedy Festival, the Christmas Market, the Oyster Festival and so on. . We are the city of festivals and just because the weather is a little cooler doesn’t mean you have to miss the fun! Wrap up, get out and enjoy some of the great festivals in Galway this Autumn time.
So theres my list of some stuff to get yourself up to this Autumn. Don’t let the change in weather get you down. Call up some friends, make a plan and get out and about. Enjoy the city the way she wants you too!
Have you anything to add? What do you like to do when Autumn roles around? Let me know in the comments or tweet me!
Freebie time! I haven’t done this is such a long time, I’ve created these Autumnal themed desktop and phone wallpapers for you to download for free! Click here for the desktop wallpaper and here for the phone version.
My absolute favourite time of year to shoot nature (and people for that matter) is Autumn!! There is something so energising and irritable about the season for me. The days aren’t too cold and the Autumn sunshine breaks through in golden bursts of energy. I think theres something about this time of year that speaks to artists and that makes us want to create. Maybe its the changing colours of the leaves and foliage which is so inspiring or that back-to-school feeling that everyone has a spring in their step to create and learn..
The quote I used here is one of my favourites too, its by Charles Nodier.
Such days of autumnal decline hold a strange mystery which adds to the gravity of all our moods.
I think this is quite a fitting quote as I always see a shift in my moods in Autumn too. Firstly, saying goodbye to Summer is always quite hard. The long summer days are gone, the freckles are fading and the evenings darkness starts to fall early. But once the winter coats are donned and we venture back outside into nature in all its changing beauty, the mood is one of overall excitement for the changing of the seasons, the slow down and the hibernation. Hope you like the download, tweet me a picture if you use it, I’d love to see! x
Let me know what you think, leave me a comment or tweet me!