I visit this area at least once, a year, usually more. When the centre first opened the cafe was excellent and the shop had some interesting things. The shop now stocks just a few good quality items and the rest is made up of the usual tourist souvenirs.
The last few times I have visited (last week being the latest time) the cafe has had nothing of interest at all, just basic drinks and sweet things. It used to serve delicious soup and sandwiches but when he asked my husband was told that what was on display was all that was available.
The 'museum' is the greatest disappointment. As a spinner, dyer, knitter and weaver since my teenage years (a long, long time ago) I feel quite aggrieved that they do not manage to make these skills more interesting. When the centre first opened they used to advertise live demonstrations but I've never seen one. I don't know if they still make the same claim but every time I go there are just the pieces of equipment and some explanations on boards. I haven't been in the 'museum' for ages but friends who travel with me usually pay the entrance fee on the basis of "we're here, we might as well look" and then come out disappointed.
I appreciate that it's difficult to find people with both the skill and the time to be on hand to demonstrate but if finding them has become impossible then I think the 'owners' should find a way of filling this gap.
I'm not sure if this is a co-operative, a council initiative or a private enterprise, I've never seen anybody I recognise from one visit to the next, some staff are very helpful, others rather disinterested.
Leenaun is a lovely spot at the head of Killary Fjord and a convenient place to stop if travelling between Westport and Galway or Clifden (and lots of places of interest in between). It is well worth a visit and if all you want is a drink and something small to eat you could do worse than call into the Sheep and Wool Centre. The shop has enough in it to interest most people and the toilets have always been clean, in my experience, and parking is excellent.
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