Travel Journal April 21, 1999
Galway: A hob-nob with my fellow wizards.


Here's some pictures of the Kinlay Hotel in Galway.

Now, it should be noted that one of the things that I did when I was in Dublin was to get in touch with a group of Irish Linux users. I had managed to find the web page of the group, and contacted one of the members listed thereupon. We had been slowly corresponding for several weeks.

Yesterday, I sent him an email (taking advantage of the internet facility here at Kinlay house) indicating that I was in Galway, and this morning he replied, and gave me the telephone numbers of two Linux users who are based here. I then called them up and made an appointment to meet them this evening.

I spent most of the day catching up on a week's worth of journal entries, and walking around town. Galway streets are undergoing a major upgrade at the moment, there is construction work going on all over town.

Below is a picture of John McDonnel, who's one of the Linux users I met. He's one of the system administrators for one of the computer labs at the Ireland National University, Galway. This lab is full of Dec (now Compaq) boxes runing Dec Unix. I was able to use these to check my mail and surf the web, but I could not hook my laptop up to the network because the college routers are set up to only allow packets from specific hardware ethernet addresses to go through.

With him in the picture is Yvonne, who at the moment is functioning as the station manager of the college radio station (which is where this picture was taken.) John was about to go on the air - he and some of his friends have a one hour show, which is mainly talk about Irish pop culture. I got dragged on the air, but didn't actually say much.

Later, a bunch of us went out to the local fast-food place, called Supermacs (or "Uber-smacks", in the local colloquia).

The gentleman in the hat is Ray Kelly, another Linux user.

After that I got taken to a local college function, one that is rather hard to explain. Imagine a very loud, very noisy room full of Irish college students, who are watching 16mm films of horse races which took place long ago, and then placing bets on the races. Apparently, this was some sort of benefit function. There was also some sort of trivia contest mixed in with this, although I failed to understand how the two activities were related, if at all.

I have to say, I think that both the Irish and the English are quite mad when it comes to the realm of vices. Being someone who is thoroughly steeped in the California culture of "healthy living", I find it mindboggling how much people over here drink, smoke, and consume both greasy and fatty foods. Don't get me wrong - I find a lot of "California cuisine" as laughable as the rest of the world probably does.

Similarly, the Irish seem very much into gambling and lotteries. But the idea of betting on movies of a horse race, where the outcome has already been determined, shows a level of dedication that I find hard to understand.