Ireland
County Mayo

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

47 travelers at this place:

  • 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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  • Day42

    Sorted out our crappy accommodation by not staying a second night, had a refund and all was well. Lady still m‘learning’!!! Headed on a ‘tiki tour’ to Westport via the coast Road south. Took us to Lakes, Mountains and ocean and anything in between!!! Picnic lunch on the beach, amazing countryside, lots of very windy narrow roads but it was great. Stopped for coffee a couple of times we needed a ‘pit stop’. Arrived Westport and rang our bnb to find they had made an error and we were a ‘day early!!! They were very quick to rectify the situation and after a pint at the local pub we were settled in our accomm. Quite a contrast to last night. Walked to an Italian restaurant and now home feeling quite full. A great day with lots of laughs. Navigator good today, lots of miles and now very tired.😴😴😴 photo of our accommodation tonight with our wagon in front.Read more

  • Day4

    Greetings from County Mayo! We awoke to a soft rain, enjoyed a lovely full Irish breakfast, and after the tyre (that's how they spell it here) finally got replaced by someone they sent to our parked car (again, thankful for full coverage insurance), we sadly left our luxurious castle suite (was informed by our bellman, Tom, that ours was one of their bridal suites), and went in search of that church where one of my favorite Irishmen, Pierce Brosnan, got married, Ballintuber Abbey, with ended up being a very unique church, dating back to 1216A.D. The grounds were very well kept and had a very unique and moving story of Jesus' journey to the cross.
    From there, it was 30 mins to our home for the next two days, Ashford Castle, which is also where Pierce had his wedding reception. Ashford Hotel is a very exclusive (expensive) hotel with rooms starting @ $600/night. But, for us little guys, there is The Lodge on the Ashford grounds, which is supposed to allow you access to view the castle, but alas it is closed during our stay for a private event. When we arrived, I heard some of my favorite words..."we've upgraded you." We were shown to a 2-story suite with a little patio. So much space for two people! However, for those who know me, the decor is sooo not my style, and we had a good laugh but are still happy with our upgrade. Even though the skies were still spitting at us, we took off for the 20-min walk to the tiny village of Cong, famous for the film setting of John Wayne's "The Quiet Man." Bruce is a big John Wayne fan, and has always loved the movie as well. We took an hour walk through the forest outside of town (found an old stone tower, which we of course climbed), and had dinner at one of the the tiny town's restaurants where Bruce enjoyed a big pot of mussels. He was a happy guy. Walked back through the soft rain. Looking forward to our Quiet Man tour walk and 3-hr bike ride tomorrow, hoping the rain I'm hearing outside our window will clear out in the morning.
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  • Day11

    It rained all day, all the way from Clifden to Swinford, via the Wild Atlantic Way. Nevertheless we saw some pretty spectacular scenery. After the rain from yesterday and last night the hills were streaming water, a somewhat different sight to what we normally see in Australia.
    Mot unusual sight of the day was a group of girls we passed on a narrow, unsealed track that led to a rocky beach. As we drove past them we noticed that they had wetsuits on! Sure enough, a few hundred metres along, at the rocky beach, we saw a heap of surfboards waiting for them. Why one would want to surf in such conditions is beyond us.
    We are staying for the next two days in a little cottage in Swinford. It was impossible to find, given the directions we had, but Jimmy the owner met us and led us to what turned out to be a tidy, well renovated little place just around the corner from the Main Street. It is lovely and warm and well appointed.
    The Wifi was on but we had no internet. A text to Jimmy and he was around in about 10 minutes, not that he could help. It turned out to be a provider problem so we just had to wait. It is becoming increasingly important to have internet these days, as we now rely completely on it for bookings.
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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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  • Day14

    WAW or A Long and Winding Road

    September 27 in Ireland

    What’s going on at the ABC. Has there been political interference? The news here is mainly about Brexit. The Labour Party is considering another referendum on Bexit. Maybe that’s the way for governments to operate, keep having referendums until they get a decision they want. We left Sligo (pronounce Slygo by the locals) we headed along the Wild Atlantic Way. It was a great day to do this trip with it being cold, wet and windy. We visited more rocks at old burial sites and Neolithic villages. At Carrowmore I walked around the various rock structures which were supposedly megalithic tombs, while MDW drank hot chocolate and purchased homemade jewellery from the lady at the coffee cart. MDW said seeing tombs and burial sites isn’t her cup of tea. Anyway there is a big pile of stones here and it did cross my mind that a clever Irish person decided to make a large mound of rocks after they discovered they had too many rocks to build anymore drywall fences. Surely not but the Irish still got the admission fee from me. Also visited a few headlands where I nervously approached the edge getting within 10 meters unlike some people who sat on the edge for a photo. Not for me, I heed the advice of the many warning signs.
    Most of the coast road is narrow and winding. Often only enough width for one vehicle. We drove through many villages and past an amazing number of stunning two storey houses often built in a cluster or 3 or 4 but not really near a town. Usually they had an unattached garage with a door for one vehicle only. Maybe the Irish are one car families. After several hours of driving I said we’ll just got to Ceide Fields then drive down to Westport. After exiting the display the Navman suggest we turn left to go to Westport. Previously it was 77kms to Westport, suddenly it was 125kms and it was a very narrow winding road in the middle of the West Coast of Ireland. MDW was not too impressed with my navigation skills but I claimed it was the cars Navman to blame. Let me tell you, there were long periods of silence during this part of the drive.
    Eventually we arrived at Westport which is a historic village where Irish families go away to for the weekend. I parked the car unsure if it was a legal place to park as the parking sign mentioned something about being a 30 minute loading zone. I ducked into the shop and asked about the parking only to be told not to worry about it as no one checks. After a walk around the town we had dinner before retiring for the night.
    The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel where we could have had a full Irish but settled for bacon and eggs. We both asked for poached eggs, cooked until hard but they arrived how the chef thinks everyone should eat them, runny. I managed to get through mine but asked if MDW could have another couple of poached eggs, well done. This time they arrived as ordered. Once finished, with car packed we headed off to Galway. We had driven for about 30 minutes when at Partry we came across a “Road Closed” sign on the road to Galway. Now traffic controllers in Australia have a reputation of not over working as they change the sign from stop to slow. The Irish traffic controllers are better, they have the sign placed inside a witches hat and swivel it from stop to go once they lift their head from their iPhone and see the traffic is stopped in both directions. As I needed help with directions I pulled up and asked the traffic control bloke where do we head. “Go to Castlebar” then he mentioned a few other towns but Castlebar was all we needed. As we drove away from the road closure, over the next 10 miles there were 3 occasions where the other side of the road was closed with signs stating “road closed” and “local traffic only”. Didn’t really say “Road to Galway closed”. Maybe his is what we s meant by being Irish. We got to Castlebar and pulled into a petrol station for further directions. Go to Charlestown then follow the signs to Galway. This we did and a 1 hour drive became 2 hours. Fortunately we did drive along a major road where overtaking was possible. Every country has its own little driving courtesy’s. In the UK drivers will flash you to allow you to cut across an intersection in front of them as they slow down where in Ireland drivers put on their hazard lights when they pull in after overtaking. The first time I saw this I hit the brakes before realising they weren’t coming to a sudden stop but just pulling back in.
    We have two nights in Galway and it is highway between Galway and Dublin. With no road closures it should be an uneventful but boring drive.
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  • Day8

    Keem bay, Achill Island

    September 17, 2017 in Ireland

    A brother at meeting told us about this place it was about a hour from our hotel. The drive was nice and there was a big rugby match between county Mayo which we were in and Dublin so there was no traffic or crowds and I got to do a little of rock climbing.

  • Day7

    Killarney to Achill Island, Ireland

    August 26, 2017 in Ireland

    Yesterday we drove from Killarney up through Limerick, Galway, Westport and on to Achill Island to stay with Marian and Paul in their holiday home at Achill Sound. After arriving Paul and Marian drove us to Keems Bay for a walk along the beach where some crazy people were swimming.

  • Day8

    Achill Island, Ireland

    August 27, 2017 in Ireland

    Marian, Mim and I went for a walk through the ruins of an old village that existed at the time of the Potato Famine. You could still see the potato mounds and imagine how life would have been, a very hard life and desperate times. The sheep now wander amongst the ruins and graze on the heather which grows in abundance on the bog fields. After the walk Paul met us for coffee then took us for a drive around the Atlantic Way on the Island. We had a wonderful time catching up with Paul and Marian and enjoyed every moment of their hospitality, we were spoilt.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Maigh Eo, County Mayo

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