McCambridge’s in Galway has to be one of my favourite shops. I don’t go in half as much as I should. If I want something special, I go there: last week my sister and I bought a wonderful lunch of grilled artichokes, olives, artisanal Irish cheese, organic smoked salmon and sourdough bread there. The minute you walk into the shop, the aroma cloaks you in comfort. It’s the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans, dried sausage, cheese…well actually I don’t know what the smell is but it’s great. This is a PREMIUM access article. We use a simple to use web wallet that can be filled up using a credit card, PayPal or with XLM using a secure payment system. Once you have paid, you will have ongoing access to the article from the device (tablet, phone, PC) that you used to pay for it. You can access the post by topping up your web wallet with 20 stellar lumen tokens (the price of a stellar lumen is currently [price id=”stellar” fiat=”usd”] ) if you haven’t already done so and then making a micropayment of 2 lumens to continue reading this post Remember: NO subscription required, NO monthly fees, NO personal information, just a new secure micropayment mechanism for content you want to see.
It’s been a fixture on High St in Galway for about a hundred years and is still owned by the same family. It’s great to see it doing so well – I remember back in my college days I would get these amazing sandwiches in McCambridge’s (beetroot and Emmental on ciabatta, mmmm). Me and my classmates would eat them by the rushing water of the River Corrib, and now I buy Easter eggs for my children there. I felt like knocking out a sketch on Galway’s High Street today, but the intermittent rain put paid to that (plus I had forgotten my little stool so my sketching spot was going to be defined by whatever bench was nearby). Then I saw McCambridge’s and thought I’d draw from within. I settled down with my coffee and off I went.
I love this sketching business. The coffee bar where I was sitting was jam-packed with people getting lunch, and I overheard snippets of all kinds of conversation, from the diners to my left and right, to the lovely French girls behind the bar. The only problem was my new Schminke watercolour set: I was trying out my new full-pan big set, and it was much too big for the tiny space I had. Eventually I knocked everything over, and my jar of mucky paint water went everywhere. I saw something quite touching as I sketched: I heard an exclamation, and the lad with the beard was giving a great big hug to another chap. I thought it was a girl at first, because the hug was so affectionate. Then I overheard the bearded lad telling one of the French girls behind the bar that so-and-so was back from his travels, and I realised that the guy he had bear-hugged was a colleague in the shop. It was so sweet to see such camaraderie amongst the staff. I bought some amazing pesto, a couple of artichokes and some stuffed vine leaves, and after all my sketching I was very hungry. I walked out into the pouring rain and because everyone had fled to the shelter of the shop entrances, I figured no one would notice if I wolfed the vine leaves right there on the street. But it was really pouring and I remembered that there was a dress I wanted to try on: the very nice shop assistant was not going to be happy to let a drowned rat put on one of her dresses. So I joined the tourists and Galwegians under the awnings, finding lots of room in front of a bookshop opposite Lynch’s Castle, where AIB Bank is now. A soldier was standing beside me – on duty during a money transfer – and he smiled indulgently as two little kids fondled his gun (I kid you not). (The dress was much too small. I resembled a certain sister in Cinderella trying to get the zip up, which was very sad as it was black cotton, with a russet-toned cowgirl print all over it, beautifully cut.) McCambridge’s has recently added a restaurant on the second floor. It’s really cool and the food is super. I had lunch there with my sister earlier this year and we both sketched. She drew the cake stand, then she gave me the sketch and I treasure it. This is the one I came up with:
I loved those two old boys having lunch – they must have been friends for years as they talked for ages. I’d like to go back, choose something from that table groaning with goodies, and do another one. Next time I’ll show it in all its finery….if that’s possible when it’s covered in cake crumbs. Róisín Curé