Ireland
Connaught

Here you’ll find travel reports about Connaught. Discover travel destinations in Ireland of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

153 travelers at this place:

  • Day6

    Connemara, Ireland

    September 8, 2016 in Ireland

    We made it to Galway yesterday and headed out for a bus tour to Connemara which is off the beaten track full of untouched scenery, ruins and a castle! I'm glad we decided not to rent a car for this trip around Ireland because driving on the left hand side on rolling hills and narrow lanes would have been stressful in itself not to mention the occasional sheep crossing the road!

    Our first stop was the Kylemore Abbey built in the 19th century by Sir Mitchell for his wife. No not my Sir Mitchel but at least he got the hint ;)

    Afterwards we made several stops to take in the scenic views which speak for themselves and had been exactly what I imagined Ireland to be like...cold, rainy and beautiful!
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  • Day8

    Galway, Ireland

    September 10, 2016 in Ireland

    We didn't know what to expect from Galway, but read good things and knew that most of the best sightseeing was close by so we made it our home base for a few days during our West Ireland day trips. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked this city! A college town with a great pub scene in the Latin Quarter made for two very entertaining nights. The pubs were huge, filled with character, plenty of characters, and great live music (including popular songs like Galway Girl and Galway Bay).
    We highly recommend a visit if you're looking for fun nightlife, but be sure to bring your rain jacket which seems to be a requirement anywhere in Ireland!

    Oh and I think it's just a fad at the moment but ironically the Irish seem to enjoy Coors light more than their own beer, but not us 😜.
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  • Day28

    Belfast to Portrush to Boyle

    September 28 in Ireland

    A big day of travel but some spectacular scenery. We left early for the drive up the Antrim coast towards the Giant’s Causeway. The coastal route really was beautiful and we made several stops for photos and to visit landmarks. We stopped at Ballymena- Glenariff for a coffee at the quaintest tearooms yet. We entered to find the shopkeeper taking the scones out of the oven! We settled in and David found great amusement reading “Cooking with Men in Mind”, one of many books to be found amongst the 1960’s surrounds. It was incredible! Finally moved on and drove to the site of the Carrick- a -Rede Rope bridge on the Northern coast. It was full of tourists but very organised. We walked down a track for about 2 kms before crossing the bridge to the tiny island of Carrickarede. The bridge itself was fairly stable and not so long, but still exhilarating. The coastline views were beautiful. We then drove down the road and found yet another quaint little cafe where we enjoyed soup and homemade bread for lunch. Our next stop was the Giant’s Causeway. It too was full of tourists and buses but again very well managed. We wandered down a long pathway to the rocks below. They were amazing and we clambered freely up and down them taking many photos. We were lucky that the weather was so mild and we were actually hot after the walk back up the track. The next 3 hours were a long and reasonably boring drive to Boyle where we ate a a lovely new restaurant with great staff and plenty of atmosphere. We stayed to at one night of luxurious accomodation (off season rates!). It was 3 kms out of Boyle and was an old manor house set in the country. It was simply beautiful with the highlight being the four poster bed which gave me the most incredible sleep ever. Will never forget how I felt waking up, all made extra special by Alanna’s message during the night to say she had won a permanent job at Addington School in Christchurch!Read more

  • Day29

    Boyle to Galway

    September 29 in Ireland

    Another lovely day in Ireland. We woke in Lough Key House and were surrounded in luxury. The house was no longer the original owners’ home or furnishings but had been done up over the last few years by the present owner in the original style, which included hundreds of beautiful antiques. The atmosphere was amazing with fires burning in the living rooms even though the sun was shining brightly outside. We had a 3 course breakfast provided by Annie, the maid, who herself was a character and fitted in with the whole place. We reluctantly left the house for Lough Key Adventure Park. There we went on the most beautiful hour long forest walk in stunning weather. The autumn colours, the lake and the castle in the distance all made for spectacular scenery. We just loved it. We returned to Boyle in the hopes of finding the laundrette. Failing that we did locate the farmers market where we purchased some bread, mushrooms and broccoli for dinner. We also met Porrick who directed us down the road to meet Cyril the butcher, where we bought some sausages. Our unreliable GPS then had us lost out the back of Boyle and on very narrow roads with grass growing down the middle! We finally carried on down to the next town, Carrick, where we succeeded in doing our washing, locating a toilet and finding a decent coffee all within an hour. We then carried on driving to Galway where again with some difficulty we located our apartment, which has everything we need. We cooked a lovely dinner, including Porrick’s delicious rhubarb pie and enjoyed a night catching up on a few jobs and finally using reliable wifi.Read more

  • Day30

    Galway and a scenic drive

    October 3 in Ireland

    My original plan had me heading to Sligo today but I wanted to see more of the area so I’m spending two nights in Clifden, in the Connemara region.
    I hadn’t seen Galway so that was my first stop today. I went to the Galway city museum looking to find out about the history of Galway but there was a bigger focus on the war of independence. It was still worth a look though.
    Coming through Claddagh I found a little cottage as they all would have been before they were destroyed in the 1930s to try and eradicate the TB that was going through the area.

    I then followed the Atlantic Way west to the island of Lettermore for no other other reason than it seemed like a nice drive and I wanted to see the islands that were connected by causeways.
    They are beautiful, lots of yellow seaweed adding to the autumn colour. As I got closer to the islands the road signs began appearing in Irish only (usually they are bothe English and Irish). Fortunately I had my GPS so I wasn’t relying on road signs. Again some of the roads were very narrow and windy but I’m getting used to that now. It’s a choice to take the narrow, minor roads. This morning I took an M road (like a freeway/highway) from Gort to Galway and it only took 40 mins to travel to the 40km. Compare that to Monday where it took just over an hour to travel a similar distance. The minor roads are much more interesting though which plenty of places to stop and look at attractions or take photos.

    I think I saw cut peat on the way to Clifden. It was dark rectangular shaped logs on the side of the road with similar shaped holes cut in the ground across the road. After googling I’m pretty sure that’s what it was. This area does feel the most remote so far but I was surprised to see the cut peat.
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  • Day30

    Galway

    September 30 in Ireland

    Just what was needed- a relaxed day with no travelling and no agenda. We got up and followed our phones to nearest Catholic Church for 10am Mass. Always interesting to go to Mass in another country. The lovely church was opposite the river which we then followed into town. With most shops not opening until 12 we wandered through town and up a back street where we found a lovely wee bar where we enjoyed a drink and David watched some golf on the big screen. Very relaxing. We then spent the afternoon looking around the shops, a real variety. We wandered back to the house and enjoyed a rest and sorted rest of our time in Ireland. We then walked back into town( no wonder I walked 15000 steps today) for dinner. We were lucky to get into a highly rated restaurant called Quay Kitchen where we ate a delicious dinner. After dinner we strolled along the streets listening to a variety of musicians before going into a little bar for a quick drink before the walk back to the apartment. While being a very old fashioned city, Galway’s streets are extremely busy with many tourists and tourist shops. The atmosphere is cool with lots of street entertainment.Read more

  • Day31

    Connemara Loop

    October 4 in Ireland

    Last night I wrote the blog sitting in a pub while I had dinner and then listed to a great duo who were playing in the pub. One played the guitar, the other what looked like a tea chest. They were very good. On finding out I was Australian they played “The Pub With No Beer”. They then played “Now I’m Easy”by Eric Bogle which was new to me. Eventually I had to leave to go to bed.
    I’m now sitting in the lounge of the hotel listening to a guy on a piano. I’ve just gotten back after dinner and he was playing so I’ve sat down to listen while I write this.

    I started today off with the Sky rd which is a scenic loop from Clifden. I then went down to the Connemara loop. The first stop was Kylemore Abbey and I’m still not sure how I managed to spend four hours there. It was originally built as a house/castle in the 1860s and after changing hands a couple of times was bought by the Benedictine Nuns in 1920. There was originally a wonderful walled garden which gradually became neglected until the mid 1990s when it was decided to restore it. I spoke to one of the gardeners who has been there since they started the restoration and he said it took them two years to just clear garden before they could even begin to plan and plant.
    The garden is now beautiful. It’s set out in the original Victorian plan.

    The house/Abbey itself is also gorgeous. Only a few rooms are open to the public but it was definitely worth it.

    The rest of the grounds are gorgeous. I met a couple from Brisbane. When I meet Australians I tend to think “they don’t have an accent”rather than they are Australian. I have a terrible ear for accents. It’s the first time I’ve heard an Australian refer to Australia as Aussie. She asked me “are you from Aussie”. It was weird. So often the people I meet are surprised I’m travelling on my own and not even part of a tour. She appreciated it though as she wanted to go and see the garden but he didn’t. As a solo traveller I can do what I want when I want.

    As I said yesterday the autumn colours are really coming out. I think I’ve run out of good weather. It again was cloudy and drizzly. The clouds covered the top of the mountains. After I finished at the Abbey I finished the loop. Sometimes I wasn’t sure whether it was the ocean or lakes that I was seeing but it was all lovely. It reminds me of the highlands in Scotland.
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  • Day12

    Irish National Parks

    October 14 in Ireland

    Although a little hit chilly (5 degrees C early on) it was a glorious day, so we headed off to Ballycroy National Park for a bit of a walk. Given that we are walking for a week in Spain it is important that we get a few kms under our belts.
    Just out of Swinford we came across an accident on a narrow bridge. It took ages for the Guarda to organise things and let us through but eventually we were on our way. Apparently nobody was injured, and given the amount of miles we have driven on very narrow roads it was surprising that this was our first accident.
    Ballycroy National Park is in the north west of Ireland, and is unusually, by Australian standards. It comprises about 5 little discrete areas, and one big area, but the Visitor Information Centre is located within one of the little ones. A friendly chap gave us lots of information, most of which we could not understand, but when we said that we wanted to go for a 2 - 3 hour walk it was hard for him to help. It seems that you either go on a short walk, or get serious and take a compass, walking boots, stick and map and go all day! What’s more you had to drive to the main park if you wanted to walk more than a half hour.
    Well, we headed out, and ended up walking for nearly two hours, almost all on a road leading to the next part of the park. With only two cars passing us this was no great worry. The scenery is just so different to our national parks. It was basically bog country, and taking peat seemed to be the main industry. At one stage we couldn’t see a single house, or tree, something we are not used to. The video clip show a 360 degree view from the top of a hill at the Information Centre, starting and finishing on Achille Island.
    After that we just headed home through the little known byways, going on roads seldom crossed except .......
    All in all, a good day, finished off with Scrabble and dinner.
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  • Day5

    Unexpected encounters

    September 18 in Ireland

    Today has been more rainy than sunny, but we carried on, doing our Quiet Man movie tour in the rain, but enjoying sunshine while we waited on our bike tour guide, only to be told after an hour that he could not make it. So, we went back to the Lodge and grabbed a couple of their bikes and took off in a period of lovely sunshine to explore the grounds. Hoping to bike on a trail behind Ashford Castle, we were met with a closed gate and another couple on bikes like ours who were studying a map. Thinking they were Lodge guests also, we asked where they were headed, and they said they were trying to find Ashford's "walled gardens" and we explained that they were off limits, only to guests of the castle, to which they replied they were (she was part of the insurance company that had rented out the castle for the top earners and he was a doctor; they were from Nebraska) and after hearing that we were not allowed in, they invited us to tag along on their search with them. Not a rule breaker, I hesitated, but decided to give it a try. The first test was passing the guard at the gate, which he greeted the four of us and we road on. So, we got to see Ashford Castle after all, as after finding the walled garden, they invited us inside for a glimpse, so I got to ooh and awe at the downstairs of the castle, also going upstairs with them on a mini tour of the library and billiard room. (Interesting side note, his name was John and her name was Maureen, just like from the Quiet Man, and they were staying in the same suite that John Wayne stayed in!) They cycled out with us and we said our goodbyes. How cool was that, from disappointment to getting to see something we thought was not going to happen! I love serendipity!
    We are missing our traveling buddies, so the opportunity for conversation and amiable companionship today was a pleasant surprise.
    Dinner was at the Lodge, as it turned very cool and windy with threatening rain.
    Not many pictures today, so I'm including a few of our suite "upgrade." (The one of us by the arbor is from Ashford's walled garden)
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  • Day3

    On to the next castle

    September 16 in Ireland

    After a night of listening to our neighbors talk (I guess insulation was not invented when this castle was built), We woke to a lovely sky of clouds but with blue behind them. As our plan for this day is just to get from here to there, I commented that today was just going to be a leisurely pace, to which Bruce asked if I could handle that 😊 Drove (my goodness, some of these roads are narrow!) two hours to our next hotel, Kilronan Estate. This one is a much better hotel, very luxurious.
    We took their castle loop walk around the lake, enjoying the outdoors. It's 7:30p, so we are going down for dinner. Hopefully also catch up on sleep...
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Connaught, Connacht

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