Blogs from County Mayo, Ireland, Europe

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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo August 15th 2012

We find ourselves high on a desolate hillside in County Mayo en route to County Donegal. This was no ordinary hill for it is occupied by an airport. An airport that to the uneducated has no obvious reason for being. There is no significant population in the immediate vicinity. The airport has no military significance – past or present. It was only built in the mid 1980’s. The dream of Monsignor James Horan to bring employment to an impoverished corner of the country and allow easy access to the nearby Knock Shrine. Only in Ireland!! The Knock experience was bizarre to say the least. We do not belong to the usual visiting religious group, so it had never registered on our richter scale. It’s a small place, but could quite easily become overrun. The previous parking ... read more
Knock
W B Yeats Gravestone
Mullaghmore Strand

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Newport May 5th 2012

"In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty...." Een mooiere start van een wandelvakantie dan Dublin bestaat er bijna niet. Zo'n heerlijke stad om weer te zijn. Vanaf hier bracht de trein ons naar Westport met uitzicht op pelgrimsberg Croagh Patrick. Het was inmiddels vier uur 's middags en we wilden nog een stukje wandelen, voordat we ergens een overnachtingsplek zouden vinden. In prinicpe gingen we voor een B&B in Newport, maar al snel bleek, dat dit stadje nog verder lag, dan we aanvankelijk dachten. We volgden mooie landweggetjes langs weilanden met schapen en overal natuurlijk de bloeiende gaspeldoorn. Een stuk verderop had de schrijver van de Western Way, die wij volgden, bedacht dat dit gedeelte over een asfaltweg ging, waar nog best veel auto's reden. De vraag of we verder zouden lopen of ... read more
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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo July 3rd 2011

We left Boffin at 0928 and arived in Frenchport, Co. Mayo at 1930. Its a distance of about 45 nM. We motored out the narrow entrance of Boffin with Moritz on the tiller and after clearing the approaches we raised the main and headed east to clear the souind between Boffin and Dubhoileann. Then we fought very light winds for three hours. Sometimes we touched 4 kn but mostly it wqs 3 to 3.5. There was a F2 S and eventually after trying everything including goose-winging we switched on the engine and at 5.5 kn we motored past Clare Island and Turk Island to Achill Head. Then we veered easterly with Black Rock outside us and we approached the Inishkeas. These remarkable islands have pre-christian remains remeniscent of newgrange. We hove to and in a few ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Ballinrobe July 3rd 2011

Left Inishboffin at 0930 with John Hillis, Moritz, Sally and Pat on Board. We arrived in Frenchport just south of Erris head about 1930. The winds were very light southerlies and Moritz managed to get the occasional 4 knots but we were avaraging 3. About 1300 we reckoned we would not make Frenchport before dark so reluctantly we started the enging and motorede at 5 knots. This is an amazing part of the coast. The hugh cliffs of Achill at 624 metres are the highest in the country. The beautiful Inishkea islands south of Black Sod Bay and the impressive Black Rock. We managed to catch a dozen mackerel and after navigating the big swell in the entrance we dropped anchor in Portnafrancach. This is a remote spot with nothing but a few fishing boats anchored ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo June 26th 2011

Sunday June 26th, 2011 Tulleague, County Mayo It is a fine fresh evening as we stare across the great expanse of the bog. Rows and rows of turf lie out searching for the sun to dry them in preparation for the long cold winter that lies ahead. Yes, they still burn the peat cut into small logs of “turf” here in the countryside. Every household has an allotment area in the bog where they cut their share of this ancient fuel to burn for warmth. As we become more absorbed and accepted into this way of life, you see that the fact that things have not changed for hundreds of years is not from ignorance or a stubborn mentality, but merely because they relish this slow and thoughtful lifestyle. The countryside is scarcely populated; most of ... read more
Irish Country Living 005

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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Swinford June 13th 2011

Monday June 13th, 2011 Killasser, Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland We have started a completely new way of travel. We are totally immersed in Irish culture, living on an organic farmstead in rural County Mayo, Ireland. We are woofers ( www.wwoof.ie )and loving it. We are staying with a couple in their home and helping out with the garden and improvements around the house. This morning it was raining, so Dave (one of the owners) decided that we would repaint the living room. It is lunch time now and Jane just made me a tuna fish sandwich. Finnula, the wife and other owner, is gone to work and Dave has gone off on an appointment. Dave is retired from the British Air Force and does some volunteer work for a local support organization that helps older veterans ... read more
Ireland Immersion 007

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Claremorris May 10th 2011

Day 25: Dublin-Ballindine We rose latish and, amazingly, navigated our way out of Dublin with hardly a wrong turn, and then set out on the road west to County Mayo. This is not a highway that ring-roads the population along the way, but allows you a glimpse of a succession of towns and villages. Often more than a glimpse, owing to the odd local traffic jam. The route featured a stop at a weekly village market that was possibly the smallest we’ve ever seen – one table of preserves and one of hand-knits – and elsewhere, two shop windows advertising specials on boys’ communion wear. The journey was about three hours’ drive, but with lunch break and a bit of a walk it was mid-afternoon when we arrived at our cottage accommodation for the next four ... read more
Our neighbour
Mare & foal & cottage
Wedding party en route

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport March 13th 2011

On our third day in Ireland we venture out into County Mayo. We leave Castlebar and head north toward Ballina, but stopping first in Foxford to check out the Foxford Woollen Mills Visitor Centre. This mill was founded in 1892 by a local nun who made it her mission to put the idle hands of Foxford to work doing something productive. I was super excited because this was the first time I wanted to purchase souveniers. Beautiful woollen scarves and blankets were available and I wanted them all. We were able to take the 40 minute automated tour that was silly and informative all at once! After making our purchases we set back off to see the Ceide Fields and the Atlantic Ocean. Driving north and up hills, getting colder and colder we found the Ceide ... read more
Foxford
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Foxford Wool

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo July 12th 2010

While I was preparing for our trip and researching places to see online, I came across a pilgrimage site located in Knock, County Mayo, Ireland. In 1879, in the village of Knock, an apparition of the Virgin Mary was witnessed by 15 persons ranging in age from 5 years old to 67. It appeared on a wall of the local church. This wall is the south gable of the building or technically the chancel; it is the termination end of the main building. Although initially not quite as famous as Lourdes or Fatima, after Pope John Paul II went there in 1979 as well as Mother Teresa in 1993, awareness of it as an apparition site grew. Today it draws one million and a half annual visitors. There is even an international airport located there. When ... read more
View of the added chapel
Side View
Fragment of Original Wall

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Achill Island July 6th 2010

This weekend I spent my first 4th of July away from Iowa. The Irish were all too excited to celebrate it, as they are with any holiday that has something to do with defeating the English. I was invited to the west coast vacation retreat of Barbara, a fellow intern with a heart of gold and a wonderful welcoming family. A little background: Barbara is a nice intern who works with me and generally keeps me in line when I'm at a loss of what to do at the museum (though there are lots of interesting projects to work on most of the time, sometimes boredom does hit). Barbara's family has a house on Achill Island, which is about a four hour drive west into the sunset, in County Mayo. Her older sister was heading out ... read more
Deserted Village
Barbara's House
Catchin Waves




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