Written by MilwVon on 13 May, 2012
We had one day planned to drive what some refer to as the Connemara Loop. Cong is on that route and would be our first destination after leaving the cottage in Recess.Cong is actually in County Mayo, just over the county line from County…Read More
We had one day planned to drive what some refer to as the Connemara Loop. Cong is on that route and would be our first destination after leaving the cottage in Recess.Cong is actually in County Mayo, just over the county line from County Galway. Perhaps it's greatest claim to fame is that the John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara film classic "The Quiet Man" was largely filmed here. Today there is a replica of the cottage used in the filming, which serves as a museum for visitors to see a part of movie history. There are also several "Quiet Man" tours available that include not only this cottage/museum, but also visits to other local points of interest used in the filming of the movie. Since none of us were big enthusiasts, we took a pass on the tour(s) and headed on.The reason for our trip to Cong was to visit the Cong Abbey. The original abbey built on this site in the 7th century was destroyed in the 12th century, resulting in a new structure being built in 1135. Unfortunately this abbey sustained significant damage when the Normans attacked Cong in the early 13th century and yet another rebuilding ensued. Much of what is seen on the site today are the remains of that third abbey.I had wanted to pay a visit to the Ashford Castle which is now a hotel, but unfortunately the gated entrance that we came to was closed to the public and we didn't try to find an alternate way in.As we left Cong for the Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, the Garmin took us along a very scenic and seemingly out of the way route down a narrow dirt road that was as much grass as dirt. We did cross paths with another car, but fortunately it was at the driveway of a home, so they were able to turn out and let us pass.Cong was interesting but really just a stop along our day trip. I don't know that I would suggest it being a special destination unless you are really a big fan of "The Quiet Man" as there isn't much else in this little town. Close
Written by Ravnwing on 22 Aug, 2006
This journey began as a dream for me that goes back many, many years. I have always been horse-crazy, from the time I was a little girl. I just loved horses and loved riding. Unfortunately, living in New York City doesn't naturally afford one a…Read More
This journey began as a dream for me that goes back many, many years. I have always been horse-crazy, from the time I was a little girl. I just loved horses and loved riding. Unfortunately, living in New York City doesn't naturally afford one a lot of exposure to horses. Riding is quite expensive, and owning a horse requires both a huge investment of both finances and time. So I managed what time I could, either paying for trail rides, or while I was in school mucking stalls on the weekend to earn some saddle time.
My love for horses never diminished, though the time I could devote to riding certainly did. Especially after I finished school, I found less and less time to hang around the stables and my riding was curtailed to just a few times a year. After I gained so much weight, I sort of stopped altogether for a couple of years.
Thankfully, that weight did eventually come off and I slowly made my way back to horses. After riding in Mexico while on vacation, that love of riding was awoken and I set out to fulfill that old dream of riding a horse in my beloved country of Ireland.
Well, making the decision to finally take the plunge was the easy part. I began to do my research and eventually settled on a tour booked by a company called Cross Country International that would take me from County Galway through County Clare in the west of Ireland, and through an area known as the Burren which is of significant importance in Irish history. Booking the trip was easy. Getting myself ready... well...that was another story.
Starting off with riding lessons, lots of lessons, to get my seat secure again. Then gear. I had always ridden in jeans, leggings and whatever boots I happened to have lying around. Now I needed breeches, a helmet, and proper riding boots. Then there were incidentals, like gloves, boot socks, a bag for my gear. By the time all is said and done, I spent about $900 on outfitting myself.
Had to say, it was all worth it. I honestly cannot remember having ever had such a wonderful vacation in all my life. Everything was wonderful, and I met the most fantastic people on this trip. And oh, the wonderful things I saw.
Written by ladyanne47 on 29 Mar, 2006
Keane's Pub has a soft spot for me because when ever I have been there something very special happens. It is situated between some of Connemara's barren mountains and the Lough Corrib area in an area called Maam Bridge. A small pub, it has a…Read More
Keane's Pub has a soft spot for me because when ever I have been there something very special happens. It is situated between some of Connemara's barren mountains and the Lough Corrib area in an area called Maam Bridge. A small pub, it has a bar in the front and a small pub that is centered around the lovely fireplace with a turf fire going situated in the back. I have been told it is one of the oldest pubs in the Galway region, and was popular in the late 1800s. The first time I encountered Keane's Pub was back in 1996 on my first trip to Ireland. It was our first travel day just off the plane in Shannon, and we had driven from Shannon to Gort, past Galway City and then to Connemara. It was as we were passing through Connemara on our way to Achill Island in Co. Mayo that we finally stopped at Keane's for a hot cup of tea and my friend Ellie had her first Guinnes. We were so warmly welcomed and so excited with Ireland that it left an impression on me.My second visit to Keane's was in November of 2005, my third trip to Ireland with my daughter and friend. I recognised it after we had been traveling again through Connemara but this time on our way to Corrundula in County Galway where we had planned on staying in a castle B&B called Cregg Castle. It was late in the day and very very foggy, so stopping to sit around that same turf fireplace was again a warm relaxing treat. We were welcomed by some locals who insisted on us sitting with them. I wish we could have stayed longer with these wonderful people but we had to continue driving on in the fog. Maam Bridge or just Maam (different maps call it either name) sit just above the head on Lough Corrib, and the ride from there to Cong is one of the most beautiful I can remember (when it is not foggy). I really like this area a lot. County Galway and the West of Ireland has a country flavor you will love. The land may be barren but the people are full of friendliness and life. Close
Written by atherts on 13 May, 2004
We left Galway and took a leisurly drive along Galway Bay to the west. The day was overcast with light rain showers. Prior to arriving in Spiddal is the Spiddal Crafts Centre. It’s a group of shops with crafts by independent artists in a variety…Read More
We left Galway and took a leisurly drive along Galway Bay to the west. The day was overcast with light rain showers. Prior to arriving in Spiddal is the Spiddal Crafts Centre. It’s a group of shops with crafts by independent artists in a variety of media, from pottery to leather. We spent about an hour browsing the shops that were open on a Sunday. We purchased some very nice pottery from one of the shops.
Continuing on the road we soon arrived in Spiddal. We had a goal of finding Hugh’s Bar and Spiddal House. Both locations are well known to fans of the music group The Waterboys. We were quickly distracted by the church and quay to the left as you enter town. We drove alongside the graveyard and into a public parking area quayside. From there we walked along several dock areas with old wooden boats and currachs (tar and canvas covered boats). From there we walked into the church graveyard and read and photographed many old gravestones and crosses. The graveyard is very wild and picturesque.
We walked across the street to the small market and asked where Spiddal House was. One person had never heard of it, the other said it was just up the side street along side the market, but that it was gated and we couldn’t get in. We purchased a couple ice cream cones and left to drive up the road to the gate.
As we exited the market, I had to laugh because the building across the way from the market was clearly labeled Hugh’s Bar. One site down, and Spiddal House to go.
We drove up the road a very short way and saw a large stonewall and iron gate. No label or sign though. Assuming that this must be it, I got out of the car and took a couple of pictures of the gate and gatehouse. I noticed that the wall was falling down by the gatehouse and would be easy to hop over. My wife was game, so over we went and walked up the half mile or so road to the house. It’s very overgrown with beautiful old trees and a lovely stone bridge over a stream.
The house is in very poor condition, but it’s easy to imagine that is was quite impressive in its time. It’s covered with red ivy. We ran into a couple of other people there who claimed to know the owner and told us that the back door was wide open and to feel free to look around inside. Some remodeling had taken place in the recent past and things were quite torn up inside. We walked around carefully and were very impressed with the tile work in the entryway.
The left exterior of the house has some fine stone pillars with carved tops, each is different on each side.
We walked back down the road and agreed that hopping over the wall was well worth it.
We paid a visit to Hugh’s Bar for a pint and the restroom. There was a woman’s football match on, and the place was quite crowded and loud. Much cheering and the crowd were several pints ahead of us. I wish we could have visited when we could have heard some music; it seemed like a very pleasant bar and group.
This town would be well worth considering as an alternative location to staying in Galway. There are many B&B’s in the vicinity and it’s not far from the Aran Island ferry in Rossaveal. If you go, take the Queen of Aran to the Islands.
Written by atherts on 29 Apr, 2006
Next to the car park there is a large field well populated with grass, cows and their residue. The cows were watching us over the stone wall and scratching their chins on the top of the wall. My wife was quite taken with these cows,…Read More
Next to the car park there is a large field well populated with grass, cows and their residue. The cows were watching us over the stone wall and scratching their chins on the top of the wall. My wife was quite taken with these cows, and spent a good deal of time trying to coax them over so she could pet their noses, and get some good pictures of them over the stone wall. Several of the cows seemed to have mild colds and their noses were running and they sneezed on occasion. She had various degrees of success with coaxing them over, but fortunately avoided having them sneeze on her.
We did get several good pictures of them looking over the stone wall at us. Here is a link to our favorite version that you can enjoy too.