Other daytrips around Letterfrack; Killary Fjord, Roundstone and Kylemore Abbey

September, 2019

Letterfrack is surrounded by many interesting places. During my stay, two couples used the B&B just for the night and continued their trip the next day. They missed all the wonderful spots, the views and the hikes. One couple was touring around Ireland in one week! To get an impression…….from the window of their car. They even missed the beauty of Kylemore Abbey, just a ten minute drive from Letterfrack.Kylemore Abbey

Although a tourist attraction, it is a lovely place to visit. Its history goes back to 1860, when Mitchell Henry built the Abbey for his wife Margaret on the lakeshore, at the heart of a 15,000 acre estate. After Margaret died, Mitchell Henry built the Gothic Church, in memory of his wife. They both rest together in the Mausoleum, very near to the church.

On the other side of Kylemore Abbey, you will find The Victorian Walled Garden, a six acre oasis with glasshouses. There is even a shuttle bus going for the elderly and small children, but the hike along the lake is very enjoyable.

In 1920 the Benedictine Community of Nuns arrived at Kylemore, where they established an Abbey and an international girl’s boarding school. The school is gone, but the nuns stayed and in the Craft and Design Shop you will find a variety of products, all handmade by the Benedictine nuns.

I would have loved to walk up the mountain to the Sacred Heart Statue, which was erected in 1932. The view from there over the Connemara Mountains must be stunning, but there is just no time enough. Next time?

After leaving the Abbey direction Westport, the road will soon follow Killary Harbour. This is one of the three glacial fjords in Ireland. It stretches sixteen kilometers inland to the lovely village of Leenane. I visit on a rainy day, but even then the views are still spectacular.

On the shores of majestic Killary fjord is a food truck, where you can grab an excellent coffee or soup.Food Truck along the shores of Killary Fjord

The food is delicious (try the veggie pasty) and there are benches to sit down when it is not raining! Also a great place to take pictures of the fjord………

Another great day trip from Letterfrack is driving along the Wild Atlantic Way towards the remote fisherman’s village of Roundstone. Once leaving Clifden behind, the road gets very calm with amazing views all over and again a colourful rainbow! There are enough opportunities to stop the car and admire the coastline.

Artistic Roundstone has plenty to offer. The best Bodhráns ( Irish drums) are produced here, by famous instrument maker Malachy Kearns. The drum is on one side covered with goatskin and Bodhrán means deaf or haunting. There are plenty of restaurants, which serve the day’s catch, such as lobster, crab, shrimp, mackerel or cod.

Next time, I would love to spend some more time in peaceful Roundstone; go hiking up the mountain, along the coast and enjoy the delicious food!

My stay in Ireland was an unforgettable one. I fell in love with the country and its people and I certainly will return!!!

From Dublin to Letterfrack, in colourful Connemara

September, 2019

My first week in Dublin went quickly, due to the many events in the evening and sightseeing during the day. My daughter and I visited the Guinness Storehouse, where every floor gives you a lecture about the history and the process of making Guinness. Once you are on the top level, you arrive in the Gravity Bar, where you can treat yourself on a pint of Guinness, while enjoying a panoramic view over the town.

One of the famous pubs in Dublin is O’Donoghues on Merrion Row. Very authentic and visited regularly by The Dubliners, as well as many other famous people.

While the family is returning to Australia again, I pick up my rental car from the airport and start my trip to the Western Coast of Ireland. It all sounds very relaxing, but it wasn’t! Just the knowledge of having to drive on the left hand side of the road with a left manual gear, gave me sleepless nights. On top of the stress, there was an issue with my credit card and I had to call my bank in The Netherlands to solve the problem, as otherwise no car! With a delay of an hour, I finally could collect my vehicle. I first checked it thouroughly for any damages (took pictures of every scratch!), practised the gear, adjusted the chair and mirrors and took a deep breath……I checked the instructions of my Tom Tom, which I brought with me from Holland and also got the google map from my phone on. Another deep breath and off I went on the highway. For the first hour I constanly told myself “left, left, left”, but you can’t go wrong on the highway! Once out of Dublin, it is pretty relaxing driving, only in Galway I had to do some roundabouts and turns, but all went well. The roads are getting smaller after Galway and at some point I had to go right, missed it, tried to turn and couldn’t get my car into reverse. A farmer finally helped me, with a big smile on his face, while my face turned red!

By now I was driving on a road, with water on both sides and the red coloured mountain range of Connemara on the horizon. It felt like I was travelling on another planet. Sheep were just wandering in front of my car, while dark clouds were hanging against the mountains.

Towards Letterfrack
View from the house
View from the house on Connemara Loop, in between Letterfrack and Tully Cross.

Without any issues I reached the small village of Letterfrack, where I got some salade, cheese and wine to get me through the evening. Gerry and Mary, the owners of the airbnb, which I booked for the coming 6 nights, wrote me very detailed instructions how to reach the house. It was just light enough to see. The narrow road went up and down and finally I arrived in paradise!

The next morning was fairly cloudy and the forecast not really promising, so I decided to go on an early hike along the coast. After a few meters, there was this tiny harbour and I enjoyed the stillness, the colours of the surroundings and the view over the water.

I continued the small road, passing a few tiny houses and a flock of sheep, until I reached the ocean. Later my landlord told me, you can hike all around the peninsula in around 5 till 6 hours. Next time! This first day I take it easy. By the time I returned, rain started pouring!