It was a drizzly Irish Sunday in Salt Hill, Galway but despite the rain and fog it was the best and most perfect day of my life. Where to begin?! Well, first, I should warn you all, this post is going to have A LOT of pictures and it’s a long story but I hope you all enjoy it!!
The day started like any other. Well, I guess it wasn’t like any other since we were in Ireland but really, we got up, we had a good Irish breakfast, and then we went on a walk in Downtown Galway, NOTHING out of the ordinary. I didn’t expect a thing. We were hoping to walk to my parents hotel and meet them for brunch but after a few phone calls we realized oops, it was waaaay too far away. This is when Mac starts to panic a bit, why, I have no idea, but we did manage to make it to the car and attempt to drive to my parent’s hotel. Problem number two, our Garmin didn’t have their hotel programmed correctly and we couldn’t find the place! Side note, Ireland doesn’t really use addresses like we do in the states, they just go by the name of the hotel, restaurant, or historical monument (good luck finding a house) so it took many frustrating calls to my parents and a number of glances at a map to finally figure out where we were going.
Did I mention that in the car Mac was getting more and more upset?! I told him, “It’s ok, it’s just brunch.” but little did I know we had a time line to follow and reservations at this perfect spot called The Galleon Restaurant that we were now an hour or so late for! After we made it safe and sound to my parents hotel we hopped into their rental car (this is when my Dad passed off something to Mac while I was oblivious) and we headed to a sea side town in Galway called Salt Hill.
We sat at the best table in the restaurant, right by the window, and had the most wonderful brunch. I don’t remember what everyone had but I do remember that Mac had a salad, VERY out of character for him, and for some reason he “just wasn’t that hungry.” Humm ok, weirdo! :) As the meal was winding down, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to start writing in my travel journal. Mac told me to write, “Big things are happening” under March 9, 2014 in which my response was,”Why would I write that!? We got lost, so I’m going to write about getting lost!” Haha oh boy! Little did I know!!
During brunch Mom and Dad were telling us about this fantastic pub called O’Connors that they went to the night before with the BEST live music. They said we would just love the pub’s decor and that Frank, the owner, had invited them back so Mac and I could see the place before we left Galway that afternoon. Super sweet of him, right!? :)
We made the walk over for what I thought was a quick trip of taking pictures in and in front of this iconic Galway pub that has been in one family for 75 years but we had yet one problem, it’s wasn’t open yet. Well, my response, since I have no idea what is going on is, “Let’s not worry about it, I’m sure it’s awesome but we have to head to Dublin anyway” and in that instant both Frank makes an appearance AND my Mom realizes she left her phone at The Galleon Restaurant (LIES). Frank opens the pub, my parents go back to the restaurant, and Mac and I are now alone in this absolutely fantastic pub!
Not only is every inch of the pub FILLED with history and fantastic pieces but there were tons of candles lit and a fire is going; it really was picture perfect. I decide the iconic fireplace was the perfect place to wait for my parents and as I’m taking every inch of this amazing place in Mac asks for my travel journal. I’m just talking away about how fun this place is, not even looking at what Mac is doing, and all of a sudden he hands me the travel journal back and tells me to read it. It says, “Big things are happening. Will you marry me?” and by the time I’m done reading he is on one knee, crying (yes, he cried), holding the most beautiful and perfect ring I have ever seen.
I could not believe what was happening! I was in complete and total shock and I believe the first 15 phrases out of my mouth were “Oh my God!” “Is this really happening!?” over and over. Finally, Mac had to ask me if that was a yes in which I shouted, “Yes! Yes it is!!” and started to cry myself. The moment was perfect, just me and Mac in an iconic and historical pub all to ourselves. After a few minutes of hugs, kisses, and tears my parents, Frank, and Franks Mom came in to celebrate with us!
I’m not sure how long we actually were at the pub but I could not have asked for anything more perfect!! We opened a bottle of 2004 Cristal and we just got to talking to Frank and his Mom, Mary. We got to learn about the pub, we got a tour of the entire space, we got to hear stories about Frank’s Grandfather and Father, we talked about the performers who have played at the pub, AND we were able to pour our own pint of Guinness! (By the by, I was told I poured the best pint!) :)
Mac and I love meeting new people and making friends and this day was no exception; it’s actually what made this day even more perfect. We not only made friends with Frank and his mother but we were lucky enough to meet his beautiful wife and one of his four sons who stopped in to see how the proposal went. We really felt like we were a part of their family.
Oh! And I have to mention, not only did Frank open the pub up to us, light candles and a fire, but he also had a very well thought out mix of music playing while Mac proposed; every musical theater gal’s dream!! He also was so generous making sure we had a piece of the pub to take back with us. Just in case the most perfect engagement story wasn’t enough, we received a DVD of some of the live music that has been played at the pub, a sign (pictured above) that shows just how far Chicago is from the pub, about 15 coasters with the pub’s picture on it, AND the most beautiful print of a painting that was done of the pub. I don’t think I can begin to describe how grateful we are for the beautiful gifts Frank shared with us.
Frank, saying thank you just doesn’t seem good enough. You and your family were so incredibly welcoming, loving, and generous that we know you all will be in our lives and hearts forever. We have made life long friends and to us, that is what made the day just absolutely perfect. Mac and I keep saying, the place, the moment, and the day were so “us” and you were the reason for that. People really come into our lives for a reason and I am so glad the universe pushed you into ours. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
After we took a few more pictures we gave our hugs and said our goodbyes to Frank and his family because we had one more stop to make before we left for Dublin. We went BACK to The Galleon Restaurant because guess what!? all the ladies over at the restaurant knew what was going to happen and they wanted to celebrate with us! The second we walked in, the ladies were so excited that they popped open a bottle of champagne as we told them the whole story!
To everyone at The Galleon Restaurant, thank you so very much for a fantastic brunch followed by a wonderful champagne celebration!! You are a part of our life story and we are forever grateful for your kindness, generosity, and excitement!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Well, folks, I hope I didn’t bore you with this incredibly long story!! :) It was the absolute best moment of my life and I just couldn’t leave any detail out!! I also wanted to make sure the two fantastic Galway establishments, The Galleon Restaurant and O’Connors Pub (click for their Facebook pages) got the credit they deserved because without them, our day would not have been as amazing as it was!!
One more thing!! Our story was in the Galway newspaper! The last two sentences are so spot on, “It’s no wonder then that Ireland is called the land of the welcomes. It’s more of this type of hospitality that keeps visitors coming back.” We WILL be back for years to come because Galway now holds a VERY special place in our hearts!! Thank you to everyone who was a part of our day!! We love you all!!
Ps…Since I posted this yesterday, a lot of people have been asking to see the ring. I’m not a fan of “showing off” my ring BUT I am a fan of giving credit where it is due so please let me take this moment to thank Kessler’s Diamonds in Wisconsin, especially the one and only Mr. Kessler and Stacey Krull for helping Mac pick out the most perfect diamond ring EVER! I could not have asked for a more perfect ring and from what I heard from Mac, Stacey and her colleagues were an absolute joy to work with!! Thank you everyone at Kessler’s!! Yet more people who are in our hearts forever!!