WESTERN IRELAND - The Wild Atlantic Coast of the Emerald Isle - trip report
Ireland combines the lush emerald beauty of the its countryside, with charming towns, great food, yes great food, and so much to see and do. Come along on our visit to the lovely and dramatic west coast of this lovely country.
Galway and Mayo Counties
Ashford Castle. In a secluded rural location in County Galway, on an estuary of Lough Comb, one of the largest lakes in Ireland, we stated at the Ashford Castle, a Virtuoso property. The castle and grounds are gorgeous.
The interior is equally majestic. Here is the waiting room in the entry hall (with Waterford crystal chandeliers), and the main restaurant.
A walk to Cong. We took a walk over the immense grounds of the estate to the nearby village of Cong. A mossy woods along a pretty little river leads to the tiny town, with ruins of an ancient church and a cozy friendly pub where we stopped for a drink.
Westport. We visited Westport in County Mayo on a somewhat rainy day. Expect a bit of rain when you visit Ireland - it is what keeps it so lushly green. Westport is colorful even on an overcast day - imagine how pretty it is on a sunnier day.
Wild Atlantic Way. We spent the next several days along the dramatic Wild Atlantic Way which stretches 1600 miles along the west coast of Ireland. We passed through beautiful Irish countryside on the way, here in Galway County.
Clare and Kerry Counties
Cliffs of Moher. On the Wild Atlantic Way we visited and hiked around the famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
(Left) We couldn't believe it when we spotted these lunatics standing on the edge of the treacherous precipice. (Right), five minutes later here we are posing on the edge of that precipice.
Continuing on our way we passed through County Clare, finding an old ruined friary abandoned out in the middle of the lush countryside.
Dromoland. Castle. On the way to Tralee, we visited Dromoland Castle in County Clare, a Virtuoso property. Another great place for a stay - a resort in a castle with beautiful grounds.
Tralee. We stopped overnight in Tralee in County Kerry. That evening we enjoyed a visit to Sean Og’s, a pub having live folk music. A fun place.
Dingle. Continuing on our tour of the Wild Atlantic Way, on a very stormy day we drove along the rugged Slea Head – on the western tip of Ireland, and then visited Dingle. Despite the dreary day, Dingle was colorful treat.
Killarney countryside. On our way to Killarney, we passed through some amazing countryside. Here is the view of the Killarney lakes from a hilltop Virtuoso hotel named “Aghadoe” which means “beside God” in Gaelic. A well-chosen name.
Killarney. Another delightfully colorful city in County Kerry. We had pretty weather for walks in the park and around town, and enjoying the sun with a pint.
The Blarney Stone. Don't forget to kiss the Blarney Stone, In Munster, County Cork, as I am doing here.
That's it for our report on Western Ireland. Of course there is much more to see and do in Ireland. But this gives you a feel for the place. You may also be interested in seeing our report on Dublin