When you’re knee deep at the races and the horse you’ve just bet on is coming around the home stretch, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll be yelling with the best of them.
That’s why the weeklong Galway Races in Ireland are renowned worldwide for atmosphere, pulse pounding racing and an irresistible Irish sense of fun.
For the seven consecutive days starting from the last Monday in July, you’ll be elbow-to-elbow with champagne, celebrities and politicians, including even the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister.)
Race-week in Galway is not for the faint-hearted. The festival draws a huge crowd (more than 200,000 people last year) and the weather is as unpredictable as the horses! The underdog is often as good a bet as the favorite and everyone claims hindsight at the finish post. The rain can, and often does, turn the entire place into a field of muck. By rights, most people should give the place a wide berth.
But there's something magical about Galway. The breeze coming in off the west coast sometimes blows the clouds away and the "craic" is always mighty.
If your horse let you down, there's always a pint of Guinness to console you as you mark the next card. Even better, if your horse comes in, there's always a glass of champagne to toast it.
The food is excellent too - smoked salmon and oysters for the seafood lovers, hamburgers and sandwiches for the rest of us!
A word to the wise: Thursday, called Ladies Day, is traditionally the busiest and most stylish day of the weeklong festival. Ladies compete, believe it or not, for the coveted title of Best Dressed Person or Most Elegant Hat.
The Irish pub that became home base for 9/11 ground zero rescuers