Blogs from 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 » Cong May 5th 2019

Day 06 Today was a sight seeing day. We are going to the little town of Cong. The name, Cong, comes from Conga, which describes an isthmus, or a piece of land between two bodies of water. There are lakes on both sides of this area, hence the name. In the movie, Quite Man, the town is called Insfree. The economy of this little village is based on tourists coming to see the place where the movie happened. It has been almost 70 years since the movie was made, and it is still drawing tourists. The story line of the movie is a good one, and the movie was fun to watch. We want to watch it again when we get home, now that we have seen the town. Electricity was not present when the filming ... read more
Another pretty sight.
Rock fence with sheep.
Abbey of Cong

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Ballina April 27th 2018

T-shirt weather greeted us so we delayed our departure from Donegal to 'go-have-another-look-round'. Beautiful place. Made our way through a few countryside tracks to the beach. Tide was out and no-one was around. Walked through the dunes to feel the windswept grasses. Back on the road we passed through beautiful (again) Ballyshannon and headed towards Enniskillen along the Lower Lough Erne which was so calm it was mirror like. We stopped numerous times to walk amongst the forest trees lining Erne. Enniskillen is perched amid a web of waterways and is a very appealing town with a 1.6km long main street that rides the roller-coaster spine of an island drumlin. Jane walked most of it "window shopping". I preferred the attractive waterside setting. However, together we did indulge ourselves at the BEST café called, "The Jolly ... read more
Countryside road leading to the Donegal Golf Club.
About to walk the dunes.

Europe » Ireland » County Mayo » Cong October 17th 2017

Today is the day! We have two rental cars to transport us through the countryside. Mike F & I will drive, navigated by Michael and Greg. The quote of the day is actually a bible verse. Be Strong & Courageous. Do Not Be Afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go! Joshua 1:9 We leave sunny Galway (and Jack & Carol / Park Hotel) for the northern western countryside. The village of Cong in County Mayo is our destination, Michaeleen's Manor B&B, with a detour through the Cong and Ashford Castle grounds.... read more
Renee fills in, taking a picture of the photographer (David) and his bride Terri
Royal Abby in Cong
Royal Abby / St. Mary's in Cong

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




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