Urban Safari: The Galway Races

Urban Safari The Galway Races Rebecca Spelman

On the same day that Galway says goodbye to the culture of the Arts Festival, it says hello to the frenzy of Race Week. As with any safari trip, it’s important that you wear the proper equipment, don’t get too close with your phone camera’s flash, and don’t feed the animals. Seriously, you and your horse are not Lady and the Tramp, get your own carrot.

If you’re in Galway for Race Week, you’re going to see a few strange creatures. They may seem scary at first, but the knowledge in this guide will keep you safe until this all blows over and we’re left with nothing but the charming combination of rubbish and broken glass in the streets. Here are a few of the creatures you can expect to see:

The Lads

Galway Races The Lads Rebecca Spelman

Lads never travel alone so if you see one, you know the rest of the herd is nearby. Usually dressed in a dark blue suit that they haven’t worn since the last GAA dinner dance, they’ll have a phone swiping through Tinder in one hand and a bottle of Buckfast in the other. Lads are loud but harmless on first encounter, the best port of call is to ignore them until they lose interest and wander to the nearest place they can buy curry cheese chips. Their territories include Supermacs and Fine Wines.

The Quote-Unquote Influencer

Galway Races quote unquote influencer

If 1,400 Instagram followers made you an influencer, then sure, she’s an influencer. Signs of the quote-unquote influencer include Philip Treacy hats and loud comments about the fact that the hat she’s wearing is Philip Treacy, just in case you didn’t already know. Quote-unquote influencers will become increasingly aggressive and territorial as the week progresses, culminating in the Ladies’ Day competition to be the alpha quote-unquote influencer on Thursday. It is advised that you keep any equipment that could be used as a camera away from these creatures, and do not show them you have a phone unless you are prepared to have your social media accounts hunted.

The Insider

The insider will try to corner you and tell you about the tip he got from a trainer’s cousin’s dog’s brother’s postman’s uncle. An interesting biological fact about the insider is that they don’t speak using their mouth- their words actually come out of their arseholes. Nature is a wondrous thing.

The Local

Local Galway Races Rebecca Spelman

Easily recognisable due to their sobriety and scowling, the local has seen the madness of the Races more times than they’d care to remember. They’ll leave you alone unless they think you’re a race-goer who wants to engage with them- then they’ll attack ferociously. Locals always make plans to migrate for the Races season, but it seems to be impossible for them to actually leave. Why didn’t they just go on holiday this week like they said they would? They say it every year, they say they’re going to get out of town and yet, here they are, year after year. Their behaviour perplexes biologists, and may never be fully understood.


Galway Races Rebecca Spelman horse

What? You actually saw a horse on the street? Oh, no, that shouldn’t be there. This part is a joke, if you actually see a horse on the street, call the guards or something before a drunk person tries to ride it. Poor horse.

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