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11:52am on Wednesday, 15th August, 2018:

To Town


I went into the centre of Galway this morning. It's quite pretty. It would probably have been prettier if I'd gone later, as the streets wouldn't be strewn with delivery lorries, but it was still quite nice; touristy, but not too touristy.

There's a marked contrast between buildings that have seen the benefit of recent investment and those that haven't. Some are smart and swanky, but others are a bit dilapidated. The smart ones may also be disapidated, but have stone cladding to disguise the fact; Some are definitely new builds, though. The cathedral looked relatively modern (construction began in 1958), so I didn't spend the €2 it required as a donation to enter. It's built on the site of the old prison, which explains why the river running next to it is called the Gaol River.

As usual in small countries that want to assert their nationhood, half the signs are in not-English (the top half, in Ireland's case). This makes them twice the size of regular signage, and so even more intrusive. One of the main attractions of Ireland to overseas investors (apart from the very low corporation tax rate) is the fact that the locals speak English, so I hope they don't overdo it. If the government were to require that professionals migrating to the country had some competence in the Irish language, that would limit the number of international staff willing to come here. Then again, if EU freedom of movement regulations ever became a problem, it could be a useful tactic.

The IEEE GEM conference opens at 3:30pm this afternoon; my keynote is at 4:30. I expect most attendees won't have arrived by then, with tomorrow and Friday being the main days, so I won't be entirely shocked if my audience consists of the conference organisers and some tumbleweed. Still, I got a free trip to Galway out of it, so I'm not complaining.

Here's an unreconscructed pastry shop in the town centre.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).