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Friday, 30 August 2013

Postcards from Connemara

A few weeks ago I drove my daughter Tess and our spaniel Purdy all the way to 
Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland.

It was a long drive and a rough ferry crossing - we're not the best of sea travellers -
but we arrived safely, after midnight, to this lovely cottage in a little village called Ballyconneely
Owned by a friend it offered all the comforts of home
and fabulous views.
 We woke late the morning after our arrival to see this from our bedroom windows.
...... and this from the kitchen.
It is Bunowen Castle - now derelict and in ruins. 
We had planned to take a walk up there, but ran out of time, sadly.
We took a drive to Clifden, the major town of Connemara
with it's many bars and pretty painted shops.
 Then walked down to the Harbour.
Lovely views and beaches - the sand was covered in jellyfish, left by the receding tide.
The following day, which was a bit drizzly, we drove towards
Roundstone, stopping off on the way at
Dog's Bay.
We had the long sandy beach to ourselves and Purdy was beside herself!
She just loved running in the sea, all along the shore-line, rolling in the sand to dry herself.

I'm not sure what she was digging for, but she made a big hole in the sand!

We drove on down to Roundstone and discovered a fabulous
shop full of vintage clothing. The proprieter was an American gent, who 
sourced all the clothing in Florida and Las Vegas!
Sadly neither of us took any photos of the shop.
Below is the little harbour at Roundhouse and the pretty painted houses
that are so typical of the area.
On the next day, which was a bit brighter, I drove along 
The Sky Road, out of Clifden.
As the name suggests we were pretty high up but the views were amazing.
Not far from our accommodation and within walking distance 
was the fabulous beach at Dunloghan. Again, we had the place to ourselves.
A short walk across the dunes was yet another expanse of empty sandy beach.
We sat on the dunes and watched the tide come in and the waves splashing up over the rocks.
Tess
Empty beaches
We took some long drives the next day, to take in more scenery, 
eventually heading to the mountains and Connemara National Park.
The picture below shows Clifden in the distance.
A pretty view across a lough.
Crocosmia and Fushias grew wild along the dry walls either side of the narrow roads.
The drive into the mountains was stunning.
Can you imagine living in such splendid isolation?

Kylemore Abbey and gardens - home to Benedictine Nuns, but also open to the public.
We didn't visit the Abbey, but had this splendid view from across the lough.
Connemara National Park
A beautiful view from one of the walks around the National Park
and another...
Tess and I decided to use our week away to eat healthily, and cooked at the cottage 
every evening. We didn't eat any meat for the whole week and enjoyed lovely veggie meals like the roasted veg and couscous below.....yum..
We had a fabulous week, both of us enjoying the well earned break.

Back to work now......