Friday, 9 March 2012

Galloping on to Galway

Fisher Street, Doolin, Co. Clare
We said goodbye to the lovely Doolin, hoping one day to be back & headed north to Galway where we were going to spend the next couple of days.  We weren't in any hurry, so decided to take the coastal route via Fanore, Ballyvaughan & Kinvarra.

16th century Ballinalacken Castle near Doolin

Church ruins, North West Coast, Co. Clare

Rocky coastline, North West Co. Clare
This was another stretch of beautiful coastal scenery and one that barely gets a mention it seems.  The road forges it way through the limestone rock in parts and spreads down to the sea.  And at times the rock seems to enter the sea.  It's an illusion though, as we found out when we stopped the car & took a walk across the rocky limestone to the edge, only to find it dropped off suddenly 100ft to the sea below.  There were no signs, no barriers & no warnings, and I suspect that most tourist travelling past this spot don't even realize how close they are to these sheer cliffs.  It was spectacular! 

Coastal Road Stop, Co. Clare
The Cliffs along the Coast of Co. Clare

North West Clare Coast on the R479, Co. Clare

North West Coast of Co. Clare

Lighthouse on the coast of Co. Clare

Muckinish Ruins, Co. Clare 

Coastal village, North West Co. Clare

We carry on around the coast through lovely wee villages that transport you back in time.   
We briefly go off the beaten track in to Finavarra & New Quay, looking for the home of one Susan Byron of Ireland's Hidden Gems fame.  At Finavarra we came upon the dilapitous ruins of Finavarra House, built sometime around 1825.
Finavarra House, Finavarra, Co. Clare
Further on down the N67 just on the outskirts of Kinvarra, we pass Dunguaire Castle, a 16th century tower house which sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay. 

Dunguaire Castle, nr Kinvarra. Co. Clare
Having no luck finding the elusive Susan, we moved on, taking another detour at Kilcolgan into the small settlement of Tyrone. 

Tyrone House, nr. Kilcolgan, Co. Galway

Here we found the massive ruins of Tyrone House. Built in 1779, Tyrone House is more famous for being torched by the IRA during the War of Independence in 1921, when the house was rumoured to be a base for the Black & Tan army.
Tyrone House, Co. Galway

The Abandoned mansion of Tyrone House, Kilcolgan
Once in Galway, i finally got word from Susan that she was actually in the city, so we made arrangements to meet up for a bite to eat & a quick chat at the Merrrick Hotel in Eyre Square.  How lovely to meet her after all these months of facebook banter & emails & to finally put a face to the name. 

Meeting Susan Byron from

From there Donna & I made our way into the pedestrian precinct of the city, teeming with shoppers young & old.  We eventually made our way to Taaffes Pub where we found seats next to the visiting musicians who played some fantastic traditional music & helped us wile away a couple of hours.  The band comprised of bodhran, banjo, accordion players, as well as a guy playing the Uilleann pipes & together they sounded amazing. 

Trad. Musicians at Taaffes Pub, Galway
We called in to Maxwell’s Restaurant for a fabulous meal before heading back to our B&B, the elegant 4-star Petra House B&B on College Road. 
Perfectly located as it was only a short walk down into the city centre.  Our hosts were Frank & Joan who were so welcoming & genuine.  We had struck it lucky again with our choice of accommodation.  A nicer a place to stay in Galway would certainly be hard to find.


  1. Thanks for the pics looks wonderful! Hoping to visit sometime, not too long from now! Martha St.George (descendant of Christopher French St.George of Tyrone House, County Galway.)

    1. I do hope you get to visit the ruins of Tyrone House one day Martha. Even in its ruinous state, it is still a very imposing mansion. How fascinating to have a ancestral connection.