Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mayo into Galway

Of the two counties, so far I much prefer Mayo. The Galway coast is very pretty - postcard villages, etc., but once you get away from the coast it changes. I've followed the road around from Westport, through Leenaun, Kylemore, Roundstone and on to Galway city. The road down to Leenaun (Leenane) is amazing - it runs alongside a couple of lakes (loughs) surrounded by hills and mountains. There are a couple of Famine monuments along the way which provide a sobering reminder of the hardships this country has suffered. The hills around the lakes are covered in small rivulets running down the hillsides to keep the lakes full. Very pretty. There is a great shortage of trees so I guess the water has nowhere else to go.
Kylemore Abbey is a showcase attraction. 12 euros to get in though. There's also a gothic church on site and both it and the abbey have been fully restored. Lovely stained glass window in the church.
It's only a relatively short distance to Kylemore but it took me most of the day, stopping to take over 300 photos as I did.
The Rosleagh Hotel in Kylemore has pretentions to be 5 star accommodation - grand is the word. But the Fawlty Towerisms made it quite loveable too. The formal dining room is impressive - proper table settings, chandeliers, etc - but the beef fillet was tough. The bedrooms are big and airy but watch out for dead birds on the staircase. Etc.
Yesterday's drive to Galway wasn't nearly as interesting. I quickly got tired of the endless landscape of rocks. Occasional patches of wildflowers and the odd sheep here and there break it up a bit but, overall, I found it to be a bit depressing. The coastal areas are definitely a step back in time. No internet in most places, no phone reception either. I heard a lot of Gaelic being spoken and, in some places, there are no English translations of signs.
Galway itself is one of Ireland's biggest cities and all of a sudden I was faced with something I haven't experienced for a while - traffic! Jammed traffic. I made my way out of town, slowly, and found the Connemara Coast Hotel. A bit pricey but very comfortable. Excellent view from my room, I'm looking right over the bay. Nice. Good food and service too.
It's raining today so I might go into town and do some shopping. Nothing's open till after 12 though, it being Sunday, so there's no hurry.


1 comment:

Your sister Clare said...

Sunday you'll be getting yerself to church ... won't ye?