Mafia connections, the Emerald Isle and a Highland Fling travel blog

Tide is well and truly out

a lone boat on a sunny day

Misty mountians

Kylemore Abbey on the shores of Pollacapall Lough

Dramatic sandy beach

Rain is definately on the way

Cut peat drying in County Mayo

Peat display at Station House Museum Clifden

Black faced and legged sheep enjoying their summer on the coast

Enjoying the glorious view of the Doolough Valley

Doolough Valley

Surfs up at surfing camp

After our night in Galway we continued on the Wild Atlantic Way past many bays and harbours to Roundstone where we headed inland across the lonely Roundstone bog with the heather beginning to turn purple. Some say the bog is haunted and won't drive through here at night. It was eerie and beautiful. As it was getting quite late in the afternoon, and the weather was variable at best, we headed to our B&B where were booked in for two nights and left doing the highlights of the Clifden area until the next day.

The following day started very wet so we went to the local museum where we learnt about Alcock and Brown who crashed into a nearby bog after their flight from America. This was the first ever plane to cross the Atlantic in 1919 (with a centenary this year). Marconi also had a relay station nearby where messages from America were received and passed on. The station was destroyed during the Irish War of Independance and it never reopened as the promised compensation from the new Irish Government was never received.

The weather improved to showers during the day so we drove around across many peat bogs where the cuttings were obvious where the peat had been cut for fuel. It is amazing to think the peat bogs of Ireland yield black blocks of turf, used as heating fuel in many homes. It is made up of the partially decomposed remains of dead plants. Over tens of thousands of years, these plants have accumulated on top of each other in waterlogged places.

Our journey took us through the Doolough Valley, a desolete and scenic valley by the waters of the Doo Lough. As we stopped to admire the views along the way with a throng of cyclists, it was very sad to learn that along this same route back on 30 March 1849 hundreds of starving people died in freezing conditions as they attempted to walk back home from Delphi after making the journey in vain. They'd been told they would be reassessed for famine relief at Delphi but while they were reassesed they were also given the grim news that there was no food for them there and to return home. Many were so malnourished that the 16 mile return journey was too much and they died and were left by the road. Some had also tried to eat the grass along the way. Very tragic and very sad. Every year there is a Famine March to commemorate the disaster.

On a cheerier note as the sun was shining we headed for the beach at Carrownisky just as a surf camp was in full swing. While the sky was blue the breeze off the Atlantic was very chilly and not producing much swell. The beach was crowded with young and old board riders all enjoying their summer in colourful wetsuits.

It appears our BnoB (bed but no breakfast) in Westport did not seem to expect us although we arrived at about the time we said we would, quite a feat for us as we were usually very early or very late. We were let in by a young girl who led us first to room 2 but couldn't find the key so let us into room 3. The bed was made up but there was no tea or coffee or milk, no towels and perhaps more urgently, no toilet paper. These minor issues were all sorted out once her father came home from work. He was very apologetic and explained it had been one of those days!

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