Ireland isn’t somewhere that’s really ever been on my radar for a holiday. I know right, this seems a crime considering that my husband is half Irish and its only a stones throw away from the UK. So when an invite to one of my oldest friends weddings to her own Irish boy popped though the letterbox, a plan began to form in my mind. We would head across for the wedding in the Western town of Westport and after this spend a few days travelling and eating our way down the West and South Coasts.
We decided that we would get the ferry across, to maintain the luxury of bring able to take our own car and pack it to the rafters. The crossing from Holyhead to Dublin was smooth sailing in itself, less though the ordeal of getting to the port in the first place, but thats a boring story of road works, traffic jams and lots of swearing.
The wedding was a fun and raucous event that meandered on into the early hours (a typical irish wedding I’m told) and we had a great time. We managed to get up at a decent hour on the Sunday though and began our road trip. More about the hotel we stayed at in Westport in a blog post soon.
The first stage was from Westport down to Galway, down the Wild Atlantic Way. For those that don’t know, the Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500km coastal drive that stretches from Donegal to past Cork on the South Coast taking in one of the worlds most stunning and rugged coastlines.
Westport is a lovely town packed full of cafes and pubs, and is immensely colourful. You could easily spend a few days here with its quaint quay area, nearby sacred mountain Croagh Patrick and great walks.
Reluctantly we left Westport and headed south. Our first stops were Aasleagh Falls, a beautiful waterfall set just back from the road, and then on into Killary Harbour – Irelands only Fjord. The weather was a bit moody that morning but that only made for a more dramatic atmosphere. We came across loads of mussel ropes in the harbour, a fantastic sight.
We ploughed on around the coast through an area called the Connemara, full of wild white ponies, until we reached a little village called Roundstone. A really idyllic little town with a harbour where we watched fishermen pull in the lobster pots and grabbed a light lunch in a cafe called Bog Bean.
Nearby here are two gorgeous beach areas – Dogs Bay and Gurteen Beach. It was a bit cold to swim, but I managed a quick paddle in the clear waters and there was plenty of pretty things to see on the shore.
From here we followed the coastline before arriving at our stop for the night, overlooking Galway Bay. We explored the busy bustling streets of Galway itself, sat a while with Oscar Wilde and took in the Spanish Arch, constructed in the 1500’s. Lee partook of one his favouite beach pastimes, stone skimming just opposite our B&B, and we spotted a crazy man swimming in the Bay!
Later that night we headed back to Galway for dinner, at a place called Ard Bia – review will be up soon! Falling asleep listening to the waves of Galway Bay was a fantastic start to our trip, next up day 2!