Connemara Adventures in Toddy by Daquiri

We went on a bit of a ‘bigger’ adventure in Toddy for our second adventure choosing Connemara which was on mums bucket list. Again she’d done lots of research so we got some cracking parkups each night.

Our first night we parked by a stunning friary; Ross Errily Friary. The Franciscan friary of Ross Errilly lies on the banks of the Black River, a natural border which divides the modern counties of Galway and Mayo before it enters Lough Corrib. The friary at Ross Errilly is one of the most impressive and complete Franciscan foundations in Ireland. It’s two large chapels or ‘transepts’ more than double the space of the nave, while the two-storey domestic buildings are set around both a cloister and an outer court. The domestic buildings are particularly well-preserved due to the continued use of the friary into the eighteenth century. This gives visitors a great sense of the unfolding of the friars’ everyday life around the cloister and outer court: in the west range of the outer court is the kitchen, where there is a large fireplace with an oven, beside a deep circular stone pit, a fish tank; the refectory is located in the eastern range of the outer court, with the lector’s desk at the northwest corner of the room; various staircases led to the friars’ dormitories in the upper floors.

It was a beautiful remote parkup & we were able to explore the ruins & it was easy to get lost in the many corridors. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise in the morning; well mum was cos I wanted a cockaleggie!

From here we drove up through Cong where we visited with Angela & Jim in the summer to Leenaun on the shores of waht is reputed to be one of Irelands Fjords; Killary. While it is known widely as Ireland’s only fjord, it is disputed that it was actually formed by glaciers. It forms a partial border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre it is over 45 metres deep. It was pouring with rain so we stayed indoors while mum popped out for a coffee.

Then it was onwards to the absolutely stunning Kylemore Abbey. Mum has decided to do this today as the weather was so bad. Nestled in the heart of Connemara, on the Wild Atlantic Way, Kylemore Abbey is a haven of history, beauty and serenity. Home to a Benedictine order of Nuns for the past 100 years, Kylemore Abbey welcomes visitors from all over the world each year to embrace the magic of the magnificent 1,000-acre estate. Kylemore Castle was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry MP, a wealthy businessman, and liberal politician. Inspired by his love for his wife Margaret, and his hopes for his beloved Ireland, Henry created an estate boasting ‘all the innovations of the modern age’. An enlightened landlord and vocal advocate of the Irish people, Henry poured his life’s energy into creating an estate that would showcase what could be achieved in the remote wilds of Connemara. Today Kylemore Abbey is owned and run by the Benedictine community who have been in residence here since 1920.

We had quick walkies around the car park then returned to Toddy while mum went off exploring. We weren’t keen on being out in all that rain. We had a bonus on mum’s return as shed had a roast beef dinner in the cafe & she brought us some beef back yummy!

From here we set off to the beach looking for a spot mum had researched at Renvyle Beach. Mum had a plan B as the weather was still pretty atrocious so we thought being on the coast might be no fun but we thought we’d just go & check the spot out. The parking spot was good but as it was still pouring mum thought we’d have a quick walkies on the beach then possibly move on. So we set off with hood up for mum & heads down for us along the beach with just a grey mist in front of us obscuring the view. Then something amazing happened… as we turned round the sky behind us was a bright blue & the rain stopped. We did our normal trick of rolypolys to delay going back & just as mum was taking a photo of us she saw an amazing double rainbow. That was it she had to take about 100 photos then!! We had a great play on the beach then went back to Toddy. Then a few other doggies arrived & went down on the beach so mum took us down to join in with them. Well I had such a great time running around I forgot myself, Me who doesn.t really like water & especially doesn’t do water that has waves that chase me went in the sea & quite deep too for me. Then I realised where I was & ran out much to mums amusement.

We decided to stay here the night & mum never heard a peep out of us we were so exhausted. The next day dawned much brighter & after another beach walkies we headed off to Connemara National Park visitor centre. Well mum walked our legs off again it’s tiring this campervanning malarkey! Connemara National Park is one of Ireland’s six National Parks. It covers some 3,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expansive bogs, glorious grasslands and enchanting woodlands.

Next we did quite a bit of driving so we got to thankfully have a rest. We drove round the spectacular Sky Road then on towards Claremorris for yet another excellent parkup.

This parkup is at the home of another motorhomer who invites people to park up & stay & use the facilities. Mum had rung ahead to check it was Ok & it was a marvellous stop. It had electric hook up & water & bins & various outbuildings with a toilet, washing machine & dryer, kettle, microwave & loads of useful equipment. There’s lots of places to sit out although it was a bit chilly for that this weekend. Grainne one of owners arrived after dark & brought us a wonderful welcome tray. True Irish hospitality.

The following morning we headed back so mum could do some work & get some shopping in before her next day working at Center Parcs. We’ll be fit as fiddles all of us with all these walkies while we’re in Toddy.


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