Blogs from Westport, County Mayo, Ireland, Europe

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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport September 1st 2019

Breakfast at the hotel, à la carte in this establishment, then off to explore the Connemara peninsula. The terrain soon becomes quite rugged and mountainous. We are once again in bog territory on the Irish moors. The weather is unsettled; windy with brief downpours. One mountain in particular dominates the landscape. This is Croagh Patrick, where in July every year, thousands of Irish Catholics make a pilgrimage to the top on foot as a penitence. Tony gives us a history lesson on the Great Famine of 1845–52. The English version of this tragic episode is that a potato blight affected the Irish potato crop and caused widespread famine. This is in fact what I learned in school. Tony says that the potato blight was a factor but the real cause of the famine was excessive taxation ... read more
Walking the Doolough Valley
Kylemore Abbey
Scene from the walled garden at Kylemore Abbey

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport August 31st 2019

Buffet breakfast at hotel. There are a few headaches among the group this morning. On the coach and off we go. It is another drizzly day. Our first stop is Donegal. Here we visit the Irish House, a family business that specializes in Donegal Tweed, which is handcrafted from Irish wool and Merino wool using traditional methods. A young man, a 6th generation weaver, gives us a demonstration of the loom. I have seen such demonstrations before, but I think this young man is the faster I have every seen. While Violet examines the shop's wares, I strike out to see more of Donegal. Happily, the weather has cleared a bit, and the sun is trying to break through the clouds. Donegal is a beautiful town with several streets of small shops leading down to a ... read more
Street scene
Donegal Castle
Ceramic baskets from Belleek Pottery

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport August 25th 2019

Our weekend began at a home named the Westport House, a beautiful home and gardens that was built upon the foundations of one of many castles that belonged to the famous Irish Pirate Queen of Connacht... Grace O’Malley. The original home was built by a great-great granddaughter of O’Malley. I immediately liked the tale of Grace, apparently she didn’t take any “umph“ from anybody and if they didn’t like what she thought she would just “take their head off” literally... LOL. In the home... the front hall was magnificent and included vaulted ceilings, a marble staircase and Waterford cut glass chandeliers. The welcome centerpiece was a marbled mythological Angel, where family tradition was to shake the angel’s hand for good luck upon returning from trips or visiting. What house would be complete without your typical dungeon, ... read more
Kerry and Laura at The Westport House
Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen
Croagh Patrick mountain

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport August 23rd 2019

Early take off this morning - and when I came downstairs to catch our bus I found someone’s hiking boots parked by the exit. These were not your normal hiking boots, these boots had obviously seen some giant cliffs, some terrifying bogs... and/or they belonged to our co-host Tom McDermott who had experienced the blow out yesterday on the trail... but thanks to a clever duct-taping job, he had prevailed, conquered the crocs, beat the odds AND survived his first hike of this tour! Way to hang in their laddie 😘 Today’s journey is taking us across the country from Dublin to Westport. Batt, our Irish host storyteller is weaving a story about the potato famine as we make our first stop in Strokestown Park. This little burg is home to the Irish National Famine Museum. ... read more
Batt, our storyteller, tells a tale of the potato famine.
Garden entrance.

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport August 3rd 2017

After checking the weather again when I got up -it looked to have improved considerably from the day before. I thought I would be forced to don my full rain gear to day but was able to get by with out any rain gear. I did get spit on a couple of times but overall it was overcast but dry. I've learned that the best way to forecast the weather here is to look outside 😀. The trip from Westport was only 180km but took over 3 1/2 hours to make it to The Harvey's Point hotel. The Hotel is isolated outside of town on a beautiful lake (Eske). My room was gigantic with a parlor room as you enter then a bar area, huge bathroom and large combined bedroom and living room. The hotel is ... read more
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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport August 2nd 2017

The Galway Races with the Caulfield's I arrived at the Connacht Hotel in Galway about 4:30 after a windy ride on the Motorway. The Connacht is an ok hotel and certainly served my needs. I took a cab into town and had dinner in a place called Kirby's. My meal was outstanding and was the dinner referral from Bill Eagan who I met at "A Bunch of Grapes" Pub. Bill is a US transplant, I'm actually surprised about how many US pat's I run into. Walked through the Latin quarter and hit a couple bars with my friend Eammon recommended. Tuesday morning Eammon drove over to the hotel and chauferred me to Caulfield Industrial Distribution. I was very impressed with the operations Eammon and Tony (his brother) have driven and the level of value added they ... read more
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Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport June 20th 2016

Dejligt med et lift Som altid skulle arbejdet lige klares inden jeg kunne tage af sted, men i dag fik jeg et lift, i stedet for at skulle tage bussen. Brendan’s ven Shane og hans kæreste Sarah skulle mod Westport, så de ville tage mig med. Mega sødt af dem. De skulle besøge Sarah’s bedstemor på vejen, så jeg blev sat af i Swineford, hvor jeg havde en lille time inden bussen gik. Det tog ikke særlig lang tid fra Swineford til Westport. Jeg faldt i søvn på turen og var rimelig desorienteret da bussen var fremme. Jeg spurgte om, det var der jeg skulle stå af for Westport, hvor til han svarede lidt kækt at ja, det her er storslået Westport. Jeg kunne have fundet på at svare det samme selv, men jeg var lige ... read more
Udsigt fra Croagh Patrick
Udsigten fra Croagh Patrick
Udsigten fra Croagh Patrick

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 » Westport December 12th 2009

What a way to end! Everything had been leading up to this day, our stay at The Ashford Castle. One of Irelands Top 5 Hotels we were Literally Princesses for a whole 24 hours. Ireland’s grandest castle hotel, with a history going back to the early 13th century, Ashford is set in 350 acres of beautiful parkland. Grandeur, formality and tranquillity are the essential characteristicsthat you first see in the immaculately maintained grounds and, once inside, you feast your eyes on a succession of impressive public rooms that illustrate a long and proud history - panelled walls, oil paintings, suits of armour and magnificent fireplaces. It has changed hands many times throughout it's long history including been proudly owned by the Guiness Family. It is clear that all the detail, decor, service and manicured gardens make ... read more
11am pint
Fluffy Pillows
The Lobby

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Westport September 21st 2009

We finally found our first free WiFi.... not quite a coffee shop but a Cyber Pub! Totally comfortable with driving for the most part. Last nights campground was more like a Gypsy encampment so we hit the road early and have been touring the countryside. We are next heading to Connamerra and camping near the town of Clifden. Probably moving south tomorrow and maybe out to the Arran Islands. We will post photos but if it cuts out halfway through it is because we are on battery power. Answers to people FAQ's: #1) Yes Guinness tastes different- Smoother and Fresher... not to mention poured correctly! #2) The weather is very similar to home.. it is usually overcast in the morning and clears in the afternoon. On the western half of the island it is very similar ... read more
cong abbey
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