Ireland – Wicklow Mountains and County Galway

We headed straight to the Wicklow Mountains on arriving in Dublin. They are not mountains by our standards but a lovely area. The Wicklow National Park was just up the road from our accommodation in Laragh.

Some interesting history with the remnants of an old Monastic City – apparently one monk went there to escape all the other monks and live the simple and pure life and lots of others decided to follow him and copy. So the “Monastic City” came to be.

Such lovely weather – the lake felt warm enough to swim in.

We managed a day trip to Dublin by catching a train up from Bray. Visited Trinity College – quite different from Oxford and Cambridge – the earliest university in Ireland.

The Long Room and Book of Kells were worth a visit- floor to ceiling old books pre 1850’s. The smell of old books was amazing.

Some interesting street art in Dublin.

The coast south of Bray has a lovely coastal walk.

From Wicklow we drove west to Clifden – about an hour north of Galway. It was busy with tourists but in a low key way. Clifden has a lively and authentic Irish music scene in the pubs which we enjoyed. Most of the people listening to the music were clearly local.

We did lots of exploring around Clifden. Some superb coastal scenery on part of the Wild Atlantic Way which runs up the entire west coast of Ireland. We did parts of it – most of the roads are very narrow and windy – often one car wide and traffic jams are common in popular coastal villages in the weekends.

Some typical coastal scenery west of Clifden
Village of Roundstone – a popular lunch stop on the coastal road

Western Ireland has some beautiful white sandy beaches
Typical landscape along the west coast – lots of peat bog

We drove as far north as Achill Island on our day trips from Clifden. Some really striking coastal scenery there.

We loved the black faced sheep which wander at will along the roads, often sleeping half on the narrow roadway.

Another day trip was to Inishbofin Island where we were able to walk around the northern half of the island.

It is like a non touristy version of the Arran Islands which most people visit if they are in Galway.

More spectacular coastal views. But it must be bleak in winter and a tough life.

We were apparently lucky to be there one of the few fine and not windy days in summer!

Our lunch stop – an old double decker bus taken by barge to the island

Closer to Clifden we visited the ruins of the Clifden Castle.

Connemara National Park and Kylemoor Abbey were not far from Clifden.

We were lucky enough to arrive at the abbey when it was absolutely calm. Stunning reflections.

Connemara National Park

After a busy week in Clifden we headed south to our next stop – Kenmare – in the south west of Ireland.

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