Between the hearty breakfasts served in Ireland, which are included with your hotel stay, and their love of "chips," otherwise known as French fries, I'm going to need to go on Jenny Craig by the time I return home.
Today was another typical of day, with lots and lots of driving, but views and scenery that were well worth the effort. I have to admit that this trip and our itinerary is not for the faint of heart. That said, we are covering a lot of ground and seeing so much of this spectacular part of the world. It has not been an easy trip, but a memorable one with places we will never forget.
We enjoyed another hearty breakfast to sustain us for our long day of driving and sightseeing. We especially enjoyed the decor of the dining room at the regal Castlecourt Hotel in Westport.
Our first destination of the day was the Doolough Valley. With the fog looming and not another person in sight, the views were hauntingly beautiful.
The monument memorializes the journey taken by a group of 1200 starving Irish people during the Potato Famine in the winter of 1849. They crossed this valley in hopes of finding food on the other side of the mountains, in Louisburgh, where their landlord lived. Tragically, they were turned away only to have to make the same long journey back. In this particular stretch, over 400 of them perished from starvation.
Our next stop was Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, Co. Galway, It was built in 1868 as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London. Kylemore Abbey became a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle. The Abbey was founded for Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.
To learn more about Kylemore use this link: https://www.kylemoreabbey.com
The setting, the grounds, and the castle/abbey could not have been more quintessential. It was a beautiful place to visit and spend a part of our day. And the gift shop was one for the record books! The Kuan Kuan pigs, Gloria Summer and Ken Scamper, were scene-stealers!
After departing Kylemore Abbey, we headed to Connemara National Park for a lovely hike with exquisite views of the Atlantic Ocean. To learn more about Connemara National Park use this link: https://www.nationalparks.ie/connemara/
After a very long day, we arrived in Galway, settled into our hotel, and headed out for some local fish and chips....lots and lots of chips!