Monday, March 19, 2012

The King's Head

By Alexa Bourne

In 2007, I took my first trip to Ireland. I spent a few days in Dublin with some friends and then we took a tour for a few more days through the southern part of the country. Yes, we hit all the required tourist spots- Blarney Castle, Killarney, Cliffs of Moher, etc.- but we also hit a few places that surprised and delighted me. One of those places was the King's Head Pub in Galway. Now I know some of you who know me well are thinking, "Oh, here she goes talking about a pub" (Because yes, I do like a pint or two now and then) but I promise this is worth it.

To stand outside the King's Head Pub in Galway, Ireland, a tourist wouldn't think it any different than any of the other pubs in the Emerald Isle. But the King's Head Pub has an interesting story behind it. The property was payment for a murder.

It is believed that the site for the pub, right in the heart of Galway City, was given as payment in January 1649 to the man who executed King Charles I of England. The executioner was masked, so his true identity was never known.

Today, the pub offers lunch and dinner. Plus, most evenings there is live music. It is a popular tourist destination and can get very crowded in the summer months. It has a stone floor and a grand fireplace and windows on the first floor that date back to Medieval times. The building contains three floors with bars and stages on each one. The main stage is visible by the first two floors, while the third floor offers a more intimate setting for private parties and entertainment, such as occasional theatre productions and stand-up comedians.

Walking through the main door, I couldn't help but get caught up in the friendly atmosphere. The locals are willing to share a word or two about the local legends over excellent food and a pint. But I have to tell you as I sat with my friends sipping my pint, for a few moments I could almost feel the presence of the souls from long ago. My skin literally tingled as I glanced at the front door and imagined a young man walking through the door, greeting his friends and wandering up to the bar. It was the only part of my trip where I had that feeling and it was so amazing I almost wished I didn't have to leave.

To find out more about the history of this cozy little pub, you can go to their website,


Renee Vincent said...

What an amazing background story, Alexa! I so enjoyed this post and I think it is so cool that you went there. I will have to put that pub on my list of sites to see when I go over there one day.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Alexa said...

Renee, it was such a treat to find! You definitely should go if you get the chance. I can't wait to go back!

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Interesting post, Alexa. I had a similar experience in Paris. When crossing the bridge near Notre Dame I heard the sound of horses crossing the bridge--no horses--and the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. An incredible sense of history washed over me.

Thanks for sharing your experience at the King's Head Pub.

Alexa said...

Dawn, it's good to know I'm not the only one who experiences this! I was having a hard time finding the right words to explain the feeling.

Pat McDermott said...

Hubs and I enjoyed a carvery lunch at the King's Head on one of our first visits over. The whole area is built on the site of an old Viking wall, part of which was incorporated into the nearby shopping mall. So old, I'm not surprised you got that strange feeling, Alexa. The ghost hunters claim there's tons of paranormal energy stored in those old buildings. Very enjoyable post!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Alexa, what an awesome experience for you. I would love to stop there some day and get caught up in all that history. Loved the photo of the front. It looks very inviting. Thanks for sharing it with us today.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Awesome post! I'd love to go there someday. I hope it inspired you to write a story set there.