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Brian Charlton

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Holidays in Ireland

Holidays in Ireland

We hadn't been away on a holiday for several years - well you live in the countryside and by the sea and you sort of don't want to.  But a few years back we took the decision that a break, a holiday was quite important.  First of all we went to Scotland then we rediscoverd Ireland. We'd only ever been to Dublin on a day trip and had a week in Co Carlow.  We hired a "cottage" on the Western Way near Maam ................
 

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Galway - Joyce Country - Connemara (2003)
This area is so beautiful and has so much to offer.  Our cottage was very comfy and very homely.  The owners lived in the house next door and were very friendly.  The dogs settled in well and like us started to relax.  The whole area is extremely picturesque and the further west you go in Ireland the more relaxed and easy going people are.  People stop for a talk - the Crac and I hadn't heard that expression since I used to live in the North East of England.

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Maumturk Mountains (The Twelve Pins)

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St Patrick's Statue on the Pass of the Birds (Maumean)

Our cottage was right in front of the Mountain of the Cats with magnificent views.  We had a good walk up Maumean as the house was right on the Western Way and saw St Patrick at the top (well his statue at least) and of all things a Man U shirt.  Considering one of our dogs was very old she kept on going and going.  As it was warm she decided to cool off by sitting in a mountain stream near the summit.
 
But we did not just walk, we toured as well.  Up North to Sligo.  West to Clifden and Westport and down to Galway and The Burren.  We enjoyed Lough Corrib so much that we will go back one day.
 
One fascinating place .... called Recess .... little more than a truck-stop of a village.  There are several tablets and statues in the village erected because absolutely nothing ever happened here.  Apart from a bar, petrol station and a few shops there's absolutely nothing to see and it's entirely up to you whether you go to this pretty village or not.  Absolutely no one will be worried.
 

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Absolutely nothing ever happened here

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Olivers Cleggan

Only right at the end of our holiday did we discover a little fishing village called Cleggan near Clifden.  It was a busy little place with the passenger ferry scuttling across to Inishbofin and very lovely.  Super little bar called Olivers on the harbour if anyone is interested - terrific bar food and good Guinness.

Co. Kerry and the South West (2004)

Sunset - Kenmare River
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You can spend hours looking at the sunsets in the west of Ireland

When we arrived there was snow on the tops and lower down too and we had rented a house - the last house - on the mountain road between Kilgarvan and Kenmare. Super location but it was very cold when we arrived.
 
The dogs settled in well but it took a while to get the house warm.  Then the central heating stopped and we called the owner.  Give him his due he came straight away to try to sort it out.  Eventually he discovered someone had drained the heating oil tank outside.  We couldn't put an open fire on because there wasn't any - just a builder's opening where the fire should be.  He had a delivery of oild made on the Monday morning and the house warmed up.
 
The are is lovely for walking - even just walking along the road - nothing for miles except woodland and superb views.  We visited quite a few places around and about including Ross Castle and Bantry Bay.  I never realised that this part of Ireland was so mountainous then of course I realised those old geography lessons about the fjord coastline.

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Slea Head and the Blasketts

Places like Ross Castle and Killarney and Slea Head and The Dingle are magnificent - just take your time.  No one is in a hurry in Ireland and everyone is very friendly and polite.  Enjoy the Crac.

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Ross Castle - the horses just loved prancing through the water

Galway - Joyce Country - Lough Corrib (2006)
This area is so beautiful we just had to come back.  We chose an isolated house on an isolated road on an isolated shore on Lough Corrib - in fact we didn't see anyone along our road for about 3 days.  The owners lived in a nearby village and were very friendly and helpful.  Tuppence took a while to settle in and relax but after a while he was wading in the lough and enjoying himself.  Lough Corrib is the big lake to the north of Galway City and Galway City itself is an easy city to walk about in and relax.  We also took a trip down to Limerick and spent the last afternoon shopping in Dublin - me - I went to Sinnotts Bar and watched the golf on the big screen.

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Lough Corrib - View from Ashford Castle

One of the nice things about Ireland is that there's always time to just sit, relax and enjoy the view - so that's what we did.  Oh we went and had lunch at Olivers in Cleggan - beer and a fish special sitting on the verandah overlooking the harbour.  We did a bit of touring about but not a  lot.

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Athenry Town Walls

 
 
 
 
Saw intersting places such as Athenry (worth a look).  We enjoyed Galway (swans galore on The Claddagh) and just generally wandering around and chilling.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye.

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Sunset on Lough Corrib (from Doon Hill)