If you follow my Instagram account (@wildatlanticshauna) you’ll know that I’ve spent the last few days staycationing in Connemara and Mayo. My friend is over from England and I wanted to show her all that Ireland has to offer. I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday. The weather was great, there weren’t too many people around and everything that we did was free!
I’ll outline the general route in this post and then choose my favourite sites and accommodation in the following posts. We set off from Ballyvaughan and headed to Galway only stopping in Standun’s in Spiddal. On to the craft village there followed by a drive towards Maam and Maam Cross. By this stage, we needed a walk so stopped in Leenaun to appreciate Killary fjord. A quick stop in Kylemore to see the abbey which was a bit of a let down. We ended up in Letterfrack for the night and stayed in the Old Monestary Hostel, my favourite hostel.
Friday took us up Diamond Hill and then on to Clifden to take in the sky road. We stayed in Westport that evening which is a deceptively nice town with a lot to offer.
We planned to meet a few of our friends from Korea on Saturday so we stopped quickly in Foxford Woolen Mills before heading to Ballycastle. This was my favourite point on the trip because it was so beautiful and untouched and generally under appreciated.
Sunday we made our way back home to Roscrea before I dropped Michelle off in Shannon and headed back to Clare.
Murroughtouhy is one of my FAVOURITE places to go. It is located on the coast road between Ballyvaughan and Fanore in Co. Clare. It is a stop along the Wild Atlantic Way and from there you can see Galway bay, Connemara, Black head and the Aran Islands.
My last attempt at the Cliffs coastal walk wasn’t particularly successful. When my friend Sarah told me she wanted an activity based reunion, I figured we’d give it another go.
I had learned my lesson and started in Doolin. We had great intentions of walking from Doolin to the cliffs and on to Liscannor, a mere 16km. After a few minutes, with both of us avid photographers, it became apparent that even 8km to the Cliffs was going to take a LONG time.
We were lucky that there were nearly any other people out walking and enjoyed the nicest walk with the most spectacular views.
Once we got closer to the Cliffs of Moher, the crowds are massive but the best of the walk was before that so we didn’t mind.
Luckily, there is a shuttle bus in operation and for 6 euro we got a lift back to Doolin. I would LOVE to do the 8km from the Cliffs to Liscannor as the views are supposed to be astounding so hopefully I can do that next time.
I’d recommend that you ask a local for the road to the start of the walk as it’s not brilliantly signposted. Once you’re on the path, you’re set.
I had a lovely post written on my day driving around the Burren but just as I posted it, everything disappeared. Here’s a brief description of how I spent it. I started off in Ballyvaughan and drove in the direction of Fanore. My plan was to just stop whenever I saw other people stopping.
Just a few kilometres out, there were a tonne of cars stopped on the side and that was how I discovered Murrooughtoohy. This is the point that you can see Connemara, Galway Bay, Aran Islands and Black Head. It’s very beautiful and you can walk and climb across the Limestone pavements.
Off I went again and just before Fanore a few more cars had stopped to take picture of the beautiful scenery so I did also. If the weather had been nicer, I would have stopped at Fanore beach but it was really dull so I didn’t. I drove on enjoying the view until I reached Doolin and there I stopped into the Irish craft shop. It was a nice spot and you can pick up some nice Irish gifts. Doolin was packed and the buses were everywhere so I stayed going and was almost going to stop at the Cliffs. Then I saw the amount of cars and decided against it. I stopped at the Rock Shop instead. I had heard the most glowing review about it last weekend so I stopped in. To say that they have a lot of stock is an understatement. You could potentially spend the entire day just browsing around. I didn’t eat anything there but I do hear that the soup is the business.
Continuing on I drove through Lahinch, Ennistymon and stopped to see the high crosses in Kilfenora. The Kilfenora timeline is there also and free of charge and while I wasn’t patient enough to read it all, it seems really interesting. Lisdoonvarna was the last stop on my journey and I got some great shots on Corkscrew Hill before I finally returned home.
There’s a few things I’ve noticed since I moved back down to the Burren. One is that everything starts with “Wild Atlantic……”Wild Atlantic Way, Wild Atlantic Walking tours, Wild Atlantic tours and the list goes on and on and most recently it’s been the Wild Atlantic Lodge in Ballyvaughan. Back in my day it was called Logues. What was wrong with Logues? Nothing, it just didn’t have the ring to it that Wild Atlantic Lodge has, or as someone pointed out WAL.
Now that that rant is over, I did decide to dine there the other night when doing an interview for my research. As it turns out, they got a lovely new dining room and when I say lovely, I mean it’s lovely. Totally different to the bar side of the venue but super new and it still has that clean new look about it. A big shout out here to Jamie and the staff who are legends.
The menu has LOADS of choice but I chose the lasagne since I hadn’t had it in so long. It didn’t come like lasagne normally does, it came out looking better, like someone had put a lot of time and effort into making it from scratch. I scraped the plate and then started in to the salad that came with it. Deceptively delicious is what it was. We tried to figure out the dressing but couldn’t, my best guess was some kind or orange dressing but whatever it was, it was brilliant. I skipped dessert in favour of tea and the damage for 2 main meals, a drink and the tea was only about 30 euro so pretty good.
It is a popular place so my advice is to go there early if you want to eat. I’ll be like a bad smell there during the summer turning up whenever I don’t feel like cooking at home!