So when last we left off we were off to Kilronan Castle. Which turned out wasn’t in the town the GSP or itinerary said it was. Oh no it was one town over and 5 miles off the GPS directions. Thankfully some lovely folks in town pointed us in the right direction. We has finally arrived. Once problem, we were two and a half hours too early! All I wanted was a NAP at this point. But the front desk staff was good enough to point us in the direction of eats in the Drawing Room.
We were greeted by a young man named Michael who promptly took our order. Tea and the house seafood chowder for me. The Hubbins went for his first Guinness of the trip. This MADE Michael’s day…he’d seriously been waiting to serve someone their first Guinness in Ireland since he’d been working there. I have to add this made us feel pretty awesome, even if it was a bunch of Blarney!
The one thing that disturbed me about our eats was my tea. It was bagged! Those of you who know me know that I really dislike bagged tea. Sure it will do in a pinch…but I try to avoid it at all costs. So I was a little surprised when my tea came and there was a tag from a tea bag sticking out of it. Sigh.
We ate, drank, and checked our Facebooks and Twitter while we waited for our room to be ready. We also chatted a bit with Michael when he had a moment. It was interesting to learn that most people don’t stray far from home when they get jobs. Yes, he’d been away from home, but not to Dublin or to Cork. In fact he lived in the next town over. This was a theme we noticed throughout the trip. We thanked him and headed to check in…our rooms were finally ready! Once inside we napped for an hour. I was trying to avoid messing with my sleep schedule as much as possible.
After a much needed shower we headed back down to the Drawing Room for dinner. I was our 3rd Anniversary, but we weren’t feeling very fancy and pub food did us just fine. I also enjoyed my first of many Bulmer’s Ciders and a Bailey’s Coffee. Sleep came very easy that night!
Day Two found us heading toward County Mayo. But first a few photos from the castle.
Off to County Mayo we went. The drive was lovely and SO green. When they say “the grass is always greener on the other side”, they may have been talking about Ireland. Once we entered County Mayo we began to see signs that read “Go Mayo” and the like and had no idea what that was all about. So when we arrived at our B and B for the night we asked the owner. Turns out…Mayo and Dublin faced one another two weeks before in the All-Ireland Football Final. Which was awesome. However, they lost by one point, this was not so awesome. It also seemed that while no one in the county wanted to talk about it…they didn’t want to let it go either.
Anyway, once we were settled in we opted to head up to Westport. As our B and B owner told us we just had to have a pint in Matt Malloy’s. If you like The Chieftains well you may know who he is. If you don’t, well you should give them a listen.
We had a grand time in Westport. The Hubbins bought himself an Irish sweater. I on the other hand wanted to wait a bit to find the right one for me. We wandered town a bit until we came across Matt Malloy’s. Which I will tell you was awesome! One of his boys served us our drinks and also informed us that we’d just missed his Da by a day! But we were able to see a few of his awards behind the bar. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to hold them. I did snap a picture. I was pretty sure my Mom was going to be mighty ticked to find out we had a drink in one of her favorite bands Pubs. But she’d just have to come herself one day.
After a bit more wandering around the town we figured we should start heading back to the B and B as well as get some eats once we were there. We had also learned we were not fans of driving in the dark in Ireland. We arrived at dusk and left the car behind as we went in search of food. I was too tired to head off to a local pub with the Hubbins so he too went back with me. Not wanting to go it on his own. Can’t say that I blamed him really. But we still had a lot of time left to chat up the locals in a pub.
The following morning we said our goodbye’s and headed off toward Galway City. Which in a way was out of the way from where we were staying that night. But we figured it was best to try and see that as there wasn’t much out near Recess (our second castle of the trip). Galway City was HUGE and busy when we arrived. It seemed a lot of folks had the day off or something. We stopped into one of the Museums to learn a bit about the history of the city. We also wandered around and stopped into a few shops. It was while we were here that I found my sweater and St. Bridget’s Cross. Plus something for our friends who were tending to our cats while we were away. All in all a very successful trip.
We did stop off for a bite before heading out to the second castle on our stay. Then “enjoyed” fighting the traffic out of the city on a Friday afternoon. On our way to Recess we noticed that a great deal of the English translation on the traffic signs had been scratched away. Turns out we were in the part of Ireland that prefers the old way of speaking to the “new”. Hence all the scratched out English. Thank you again GPS for leading the way!
The only other problem we had on our way to the castle involved sheep! Yes, the sheep were EVERYWHERE! Plus they had no concept of timing. In fact as we were on the final road to the castle one just hopped up and figured he’d cross the road and didn’t really care that we had the right of way. Stupid sheep.
Ballynahinch Castle was very cool. The castle was built by the Martin family (sadly no relation) and is more of a stately manor home rather than a castle. But seeing as it was huge and lovely I for one was not complaining! That night we had dinner with a lovely couple from Sligo celebrating their 1st Anniversary. Their names were Lilly and James and I should have asked if their last name was Potter. But I just couldn’t. We joined them for dinner as there wasn’t much in the way of tables for two when we both arrived.
We chatted and enjoyed dinner with them for close to three hours. It was great. But I think we may have tired them out. James and Little were a good ten to fifteen years our Senior and seemed to want to call it a night and get to bed. Or who knows maybe they had a game of Parcheesi to get to? I won’t judge! The Hubbins and I also called it a night as we had a very long day ahead of us as we were planning our journey toward Cashel in County Tipperary in the morning by way of the Cliffs of Moher.
That’s all for now…more of our travels in Ireland to come!