Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Now we fly home. A bus from Donegal to Dublin airport (18 euros), flight to Heathrow, flights to Sydney via Hong Kong and a bus from Sydney to Canberra. A total of 43 hours. Worth every second.

Dolores and Maugie dropped us a the small town of Millford, from where the bus company send a maxi taxi for passengers catching the Dublin bus from Letterkenny.

A great holiday with lots of variety. Mark survived well despite much discomfit and was a very patient support to me for all the walks and activities that we planned. As always, I'd do it all again tomorrow!


SEPTEMBER 2016 : IRELAND : Kerrykeel, Donegal


Our last day of our holiday today. A lazy morning with several courses for breakfast.

Dolores and Joe's home on the shore of Mulroy Bay in Kerrykeel.

Our view across the bay.

Despite the rain and cooler temperatures the girls were adamant that we go for their daily dip.

There was much deliberation about where to go because of the low tide so we went off the beach at Portsalon.

This is a very serious ritual and involves much squealing and dancing. It actually feels fabulous afterwards with the release of the adrenalin and endorphins.

A walk along the beach in showery rain. This is looking back to Portsalon.

Then we drove further up the peninsular to the lighthouse at Fanad Head.

Another spectacular view. You can rent various types of accommodation attached to the main building.

We had a walk around the site, communing with a goat with a lot of attitude.

As the rain set in we had our last pints at the pub at Portsalon.

Looking out on this extraordinary view. Swimmers were jumping off the pier.


SEPTEMBER 2016 : IRELAND : Kerrykeel, Donegal

Early morning over Malin Bay.

The tiny town of Kerrykeel. School market morning.

Maugie and Dolores are addictive swimmers. The Irish practice is to swim regardless of season or weather and dip for several minutes. Brave and absolutely crazy. It's common practice. Bit like 'taking the waters' for health purposes. It certainly gets the circulation going.

Dolores then drove us to Glenveagh National Park, 16,000 hectares, to the south- east of Donegal. 

We first visited the Information Centre with displays on the geological formation, wildlife, various programs of the area, with a comsiderable emphasis on school visits.

Dolores enjoyed all the hands-on experiences. This was looking through the eyes of a dragon-fly.

Glenveagh Castle, beautifully presented. It was built in 1870. Now it is owned by the Irish state.

Fascinating themed gardens, and others creatively interspersed with vegetables.

There was a concentration on Nepalese and other Asian vegetation.

Excellent walking trails.

Viewpoints to capture the full estate.

We had dinner at the Tap Room - pizza and beer cafe. It is in the cellars of the stately home of  Rathmullan House. Now an upmarket restaurant and hotel complex.

Excellent service with delicious pizzas.

Homemade icecream

Views over the bay from Rathmullan House of the full moon.

SEPTEMBER 2016 : IRELAND : Galway - Kerrykeel, Donegal


Final breakfast together as Miriam, Sergio and Claudia are returning home. We intend to meet in Cadiz in southern Spain next year.

Such a wonderful reunion.

Meanwhile Maugie and John drove us up north, through County Mayo with their Gaelic football flags flying as they are in the grand final.

The Emerald Bar - famous historically for being the meeting place for the IRA at its height.

Just out of Sligo we visited Lissadell House and grounds. We had lunch in the converted coach house before enjoying a tour of the house.

Built in the mid nineteenth century by Henry Gore-Booth, an Artic explorer.

Our tour led us through the extensive servants' quarters, which culminated in exiting via the tunnel where goods and coal were delivered and servants discreetly entered and left.

An interesting tour with the story of generations of strong women involved in the suffragette movement,  regular instances of schizophrenia and chronic mismanagement. It is now owned by the wealthy Irish Cassidy family, which includes seven children.

Benbullben dominates the valley to the coast. This is all called Yeats country as the poet Yeats grew up here and is buried in the churchyard. He wrote several poems dedicated to the Gore-Booth house and the family. 

Misty rain countered by rainbows up the coast.

A blast from the past.

We arrived in Kerrykeel about 8pm and were delighted to see Malin Bay from our window. We are staying with Maugie's sister, Dolores and her husband, Joe, and son, Brian.

Delicious meal and reunion.


SEPTEMBER 2016 : IRELAND : The Burren, County Clare

Today we walked the coastal path from Doolin to the Cliffs of Mohr,

An early morning cuppa in the comfortable Rainbow Hostel in Doolin.

Medieval structures around the town. County Clare is renown for its small castles.

As we began our walk there were many backpackers on the road, walking and catching buses to their next destination.

Our first few of the distant cliffs.

Following John on the well-marked path.

Views down to the limestone pavements on the coastline.

Ancient burial stones

Beautiful views up and down the coast.

Arriving at the cliffs. Maugie sharing some local knowledge.

It takes about and hour and a half to walk along the total area of the cliffs.

Kittywakes soaring in and out of nests. Puffins nest here from April to August.

A very happy crew after a fabulous walk.

Refreshments in the small town of Kinvara on the way home. We walked along the port looking at the Galway Hooker craft.

Mark was impressed with the bike maintenance station.

Such a pretty village, perfect place to finish the day.