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2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

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Loughrea, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden
posts: 14,593
reviews: 33
2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

We have a couple of visitors coming over within the next month so have a few day trips and a couple of overnights planned. The base will be our home up here above Lough Derg and along with the days out there will be walks in the forestry a picnic up by the local hill pool, a couple of drinks in the local pub and probably a barbeque with a few neighbours.

Week One, with the Daughter and Granddaughter starts picking them up in Dublin off the ferry. Back along the M4/6 possibly dropping down to Clonmacnoise on the way back across.

I have an appointment in Galway on the Saturday so drop the family in the city for the penultimate day of Arts Week. Food in Busker Brownes and maybe a look at Athenry on the way back.

Sunday maybe skip mass (as usual) and indulge in an Ulster fry to set the day off. Trip out to Portumna for a walk in the forest park to work off breakfast, call in at the Castle to see how the masters lived then to the newly opened workhouse to see how the other half existed. I would think food in the Ferry but will save that for another day and have something light in the Bee Hive café.

Day of rest farmers Monday just hang around maybe bake some bread and scones with young Lydia have a picnic if the weathers right.

Tuesday, across to the Galway Kennels dropping through Peterswell for the views and leave the dog for the day whilst we head to Doolin. Combi ferry Inis Oirr and Cliffs cruise with O’Brian’s . Pick the dog up and an evening walk round Coole Park. Meal in O’Gradys before heading back up the Slieve.

Wednesday, Loughrea, take the dog a walk in Kylebrack woods before taking Lydia to the playground and a bit of shopping.

Thursday a day out to Birr. Wander round the Castle grounds get some cheap fuel finish the weekly shop.

Friday Bunratty Folk Park get there early before the bus’s then Quin Abbey for an hour before heading to Ennis and Brogan’s Bacon and Cabbage. Friday night Pub night Guinness and craic at the local ceili in O’Connors.

Saturday nothing much again just take things easy and sort out a barbeque.

Sunday over to Dublin, Killmanham Gaol, Dublin Zoo other bits and pieces before the drop off at the ferry.

Week 2. A different week altogether starting off by collecting the step father and his partner from Knock Airport after their flight from Liverpool. Probably on Tuesday, and with Pat’s interests take her and Chris to the Shrine and Basilica (have to remember the bottle for the Holy water) Face the traffic in Tuam and head cross the bog through Athenry and Loughrea and settle them into Cartron House for the night.

Wednesday, start a short tour so Bill can see Waterford Crystal and Pat can see the Rock of Cashel. Kilkenny as the first call only a couple of hours away through Birr and Roscrea Although we may stop off at Birr Castle if the weather is good. Kilkenny Castle and the Cathedral might be about it with a bite to eat and down to Waterford for the night.

Thursday. Waterford Crystal and a quick look around before heading for Cashel. Tour of the Rock, scaffold and all (makes no difference to the experience). More than likely have to skip Cahir and head for Ennis and Brogans Thursday session before getting back late.

Friday. More peaceful day Loughrea for the Cathedral and a wander around town me and Bill up to the Dartfield Horse Museum to look at the classic cars whilst the girls do horse history.

Saturday. Lough Derg take the drive down the side of the lough to Killaloe/Ballina for a spot of lunch and a wander around before heading up to Feakle for the Trad Fest.

Sunday. Galway and Connamara, bit of a full day calling into the Heritage centre on the way into Galway whilst the shops open take Bill into Freeney’s for a decent bottle of the Irish whiskey grab lunch in Busker Brownes and head for Clifden via Kylemore Abbey.

Monday I had planned a day on the Aran’s but I think the schedule might be a bit tight so will see what the weather brings and maybe stay in Spiddel rather than Clifden on Sunday night.

Tuesday , a flight back from Shannon so the Burren and coast drive is on the cards either on the way to the airport or coming back after dropping them off.

Of course all this is subject to change.

8 replies to this topic
posts: 606
1. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

Hope the weather improves for all concerned......pissin' down here at the minute



County Meath...
posts: 3,289
reviews: 132
2. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

You are going to be very busy Tony !

I too,hope weather improves for your visitors.Its fine here in the Sunny South East,we have been fortunate in that we are escaping most of the rain.Had to go out last night & water the patio contaainers !

Loughrea, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden
posts: 14,593
reviews: 33
3. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

There is a lot of in the car time or sheltered time at least so provided there's a bit of brightness most things should go ok. You would think that being stuck up in the wilderness there would be nothing to do apart from squirrel watch but I had a hard time limiting all the things that could have been wedged in there to suit the differing interests.

Ennis, Ireland
posts: 3,396
reviews: 154
4. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

Sounds like a great two weeks Tony, you are going to be very busy with all the driving.

There are new Tea Rooms open in Quin, might be worth checking out for a cuppa to keep you going til you get to Brogan's for the bacon and cabbage:-)

Hope you have a great time and fingers crossed for nice weather

Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
posts: 5,764
5. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

All the best, Tony. Should be laying down some some good memories and shared experiences with extended family.

The young ones, in particular, will have lots to savour and to talk about, when they get back home. It would definitely make a difference if the weather cooperates.

Maybe, a short report on how it goes with the little ones? Sometimes, the simple and unexpected make the most impression on them.

Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
posts: 5,764
6. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

In case, you need another option for the first Wednesday:


We loved the Athenry Heritage Centre when we visited a few years ago and had royal treatment with just the two of us and a family of four (parents and two teens) from Yorkshire. The archery and the dressing up was so much fun!

posts: 10
reviews: 1
7. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

as a soon to be visitor, I have taken notes Tony,........thanks, espically like the sounds of Bacon and Cabbage...........hope your adventure goes well........look forward to reading about it!

Loughrea, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden
posts: 14,593
reviews: 33
8. Re: 2 weeks with trips out (my plans)

A Week with visitors based above Loghrea.

Friday I had to get into UHG so Chris baked bread and scones and my daughter came over from Dublin on the 20 bus. As it turned out 3 ¼ hours from Bussárus to Loughrea an extra ½ hour late and 12 hours from Trisha leaving Rochdale via Rail and sail.

Saturday. Having to get into Galway again in the morning and with the races on next week I decided that Clifden and the Connamara would be the aim. The N59 turned out to be a bit busy and following traffic following a couple of cars both towing boats the speed was down to 30mph, ok for sightseeing and looking in every shop window as we went through Oughterard but taking valuable time from the rest of the day.

Mamm Cross gave an opportunity to get out of the procession but required some careful canoeing around the market stalls and people (who had the bright idea of putting the Chuck wagon right on the junction). Through the Pass to Leenane and a wander around the top of the Fiord before heading to Kylemore Abbey. We didn’t go past the pay point, the weather was ok but not great and €12 per head whilst not over the top now you can look around the House itself as well as the Garden and grounds, would have been the price of our evening meal. (We have seen Kylemore before but will probably go back again, just the two of us armed with a discount pass).

On to Clifden we could have driven the Sky road as we approach town but the top end is a bit not so great so down into town. Clifden is compact and the road is a one-way system looping round with car parking either side of the road. Driving round to find a parking space can be a challenge especially going up the hill with a huge German camper van pratting about in front of you, (might have been easier with a decent handbrake). Mannions for food as usual, Massive Cheeseburger for Trish, Smoked Seafood Chowder for Chris, Chicken bits with salad and dip for me and Sausage and Chips with a colouring in children’s menu for Lydia. €38 including drinks. It did take a while from ordering to service but it was the very start of service and everything was being prepared fresh. Plus sitting outside in the sunshine people watching was rather entertaining. I wont go into detail or type cast but you honestly can tell the nationality of some people by their attire before you catch their accent.

The Sky Road up to the Viewing point was the next aim so a left turn at the Coastguard station onto the Lower Sky Rd, along the bay, up the narrow winding part at the far end and Right turn back towards town at the T junction. Considering it was now 6pm it was quite busy up there and my admiration although questions of sanity to the people actually hiking up there (long way to go and turn round?) Anyway having promised Lydia a beach back into town and towards Roundstone. Ballyconneely beach is the 1st you come to and is quite small more fine broken corral than sand but the sea is as clear as a mountain spring and safe. Further around people were swimming but Lydia was happy collecting shells for a while before we headed home. The Old Bog road runs parallel to the N59, single track and with nothing but sheep and the shadows from the Bens this id one of my favourite roads on the Connemara (thanks to the folk in the Avis rental for letting us pass). At the end turn left past Ballynahinch Castle onto the N59 back to Galway and onwards home for 9pm.

Sunday. Change of plans for today with having a long day Saturday so a trip across to Birr Castle with the day starting soft and brightening up. Take advantage of the discount vouchers for the Castle which is pretty wonderful this time of year even if the weather’s not at its best. Quick shop in Tesco for some cheap drinks (the main aim of the trip across) and back through Portumna, had to wait for the Swing bridge so everybody out of the car to watch the boats pass. Taking a side trip down to the Marina which was packed to see some more boats and a short walk into the Park before heading home. Couple of neighbours round for after tea (evening meal) drinks and craic (news and gossip) ended the day nicely.

Monday. Good breakfast to start the day and a trip out through Woodford to Derrycragg nature reserve for a walkabout. The weather was soft to wet but the trees provide ample shelter to walk the paths, other than that a bit of a none day.

Tuesday. Loughderg drive, heading through Portumna and the clockwise loop round the lough via Teryglass and following the side of the Shannon as best possible and then to Nenagh. The town was busy with limited parking so just a bit of time wandering and window shopping before setting of for Ballina. The sensible route is the M7 to Birdhill and across but I decided to take the old road, big mistake, the road sign is so placed that by the time you realise you should have ignored the left pointing arrow you are on the M7 link for Dublin!! Up to the next exit and back round aiming for the road I should have taken. Approaching from Birdhill side I parked on the left above the play area and Pool. Lydia was made up and spent some time being a kid whilst me and Chris wandered along the river with the dog. Just a bit of time spent looking around Ballina and Killaloe before grabbing light lunch at the Gooses. This has always been a regular call but is not as impressive as it was and is slightly expensive but that can be said of most places in the area. The west side of LoughDerg is a nicer drive than the east and we called into the Marina in Mountshannon before continuing home.

Wednesday, bit of a none day bit of shopping and Baking walk the dog through Kylemore forest.

Thursday. Loop head. I had forgotten just how far away this is, an hour down to Ennis and another hour down to the point. Definitely better to do this after the ferry crossing from Kerry but well worth it. The day was good but not the best a good breeze blowing and just enough mist/cloud to limit the views. The car park was packed, mainly native’s and a few hire cars, lots of kids. We did though get to go up inside the Lighthouse, buying the tickets for €3 each and then finding out there would be a half hour wait (good job we hadn’t eaten the packed lunch). Gave time for a few photo’s and a walk to the edge (not too close in that wind). The guided tour of the lighthouse and parking was worth the money if you combine the two and forget that the parking is free without going into the light still not bad for less than the price of a pint. Taking the coast road which is very narrow was a bit of an experience, not so much for myself but definitely for the lady driving the Avis hire coming the other way. She reversed a little and I pulled into a field entrance to let them pass, no harm done.

This was going to be a long day.. Tying to find a beach as promised to the granddaughter and following the coast road without success (mental note when taking kids to the seaside check the tide tables) Anyway home over the Burren via Corofin to Gort and up the slieve.

Friday started with a trip down to Loughrea, walk the dog Lydia play in the park and feed the ducks (kids are easy to please) bit of shopping and home. The afternoon was a case of Baking for Grandma and child whilst I took Trish into Portumna for a look at the Workhouse Project. Chris had been on the free opening weekend and found it interesting so €5 each and as the only folk there we had a private guided tour with Dáibhi a well informed and charming local man who is one of the projects volunteers. The Workhouse has only just opened its doors for paying visitors and is a bit of a work in progress, it is though very interesting and an insight into the only alternative to the coffin ships for the impoverished and starving. A final last resort that saw half those entering the gates being dead before the next morning. I do hope that people will go and visit, take the tour and watch the short film as this could become a major point of interest in the area when completed.

Friday night is usually pub night for the céilí but we have Bunratty planned for Saturday so a quiet drink by the fire (for effect with the cottage doors open).

Saturday. Bunratty was not to be. Trish was ill and some bad news from over the water had urgent searches for phone numbers and ferry bookings. The dog and me took to the mountain and spent a few hours up on the slieve getting out of the way and taking in the scenery looking out over Lough Derg before heading back down and watching Chris cut the grass.

Sunday was an up early and out day heading over to Dun Laoghaire with the visitors for the ferry. The Triathlon had been on and we could hear bits still going on but missed the road closures (good job because although I have been there many times the port is a pain to get to). Leaving Trish and Lydia to get off we headed down to Bray. Not everyone’s cup of tea but we like it well enough to keep popping back. Quick walk part way up Bray Head watch the seals below and the ferry leaving. I decided to take the scenic route home (idiot) Over by Powerscourt and Glendalough without stopping (been there done that, must do it again). Now the Wicklow mountains are lovely on a bright summers day but with the weather turning soft and low cloud it just reminded me of back over and Saddleworth moor. It doesn’t help when you get to a long winding stage following a local (06 Suzuki) driving at 20 miles an hour in the middle of the road, now yr man is either blind or ignorant and never thinks to pull over and let the increasing line behind get past. 1st wide straight point and the hand goes on the horn and the foot on the hot switch just to put the idiot as far away in the rear view as possible, no one else followed and I imagine they are still out there somewhere queuing back to Dublin by now. Then I got lost for a while trying to avoid paying the toll on the M7 taking the old roads (which have all be renumbered) but got to Roscrea. An old town evolved from a monastery with a Castle, Abbey, Round Tower and a shinny new Tesco supermarket to mess things up. On to Birr and some cheap fuel then Portumna and home, 9 hours after we left and Dun Laoghaire is only 2 ½ hours away.

A good week overall lots of things done and some not done. Bunratty and the combo cruise to the Arans will have to wait till next time as will Ailwee birds of prey and other places.


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