Day 6: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey

Day 6 - 313km
Day 6 - 313km
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle, the gate is open
Aughnanure Castle, the gate is open
Aughnanure Castle Grounds
Aughnanure Castle Grounds
Old banquet Hall Window
Old banquet Hall Window
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Turret at Aughnanure Castle
Turret at Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Inside the Keep
Inside the Keep
Top floor of the Keep
Top floor of the Keep
Castle Keep
Castle Keep
Guard Dog, sitting on my foot so I could not escape
Guard Dog, sitting on my foot so I could not escape
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Jen at Aughnanure Castle
Jen at Aughnanure Castle
Debbie at Aughnanure Castle
Debbie at Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Aughnanure Castle
Approaching Connemara on N59
Approaching Connemara on N59
Views from Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Local wildlife
Local wildlife
Views from Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Debbie & Bryan at Sky Road
Debbie & Bryan at Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Views from Sky Road
Welcome to Kylemore Abbey
Welcome to Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey
Palm Trees?  in Ireland?
Palm Trees? in Ireland?
Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey
Gothic Chapel at Kylemore
Gothic Chapel at Kylemore
Gothic Chapel
Gothic Chapel

We awoke Saturday in Ennis, had our breakfast at the Old Ground hotel, and packed up for a long day of driving through the Connemara region in western Ireland. After navigating through Galway, we were on our way on N59 heading towards Clifden on the west coast. Outside of Galway and before the town of Oughterard, is Aughnanure Castle. I had conflicting information on whether or not it would actually be open for the season, but not being far off the main road we decided to stop and check it out anyhow. We lucked out in having it open and strolled the grounds for a bit. It is very similar in construction to Ross Castle, perhaps not nicely as furnished, but still a great place to stop (and allow photography inside). We checked the time and proceeded towards Clifden for lunch. The N59 passes close to the National Park in the region and the whole drive is framed by rugged landscape and mountains that photos just don't do justice. We arrived in Clifden around lunch time and, having done reconnaissance work on TripAdvisor, located Guy's Bar & Snug on Main St for lunch. TripAdvisor did not fail me once again, the pub was cozy and had fairly priced meals. We located a gift shop nearby to load up on souvenirs, and had a lovely time chatting with the shop owners. When in Clifden, one should really take time to drive the Sky Road loop, which crawls along the backbone of a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. It has amazing views and we even made friends with one of the local cows who didn't seem to mind us stopping to take pictures. We proceeded west, following N59 past Letterfrack to Kylemore Abbey. This is probably one of the most beautiful buildings in western Ireland, and has an interesting history (google the history of it, it is too lengthy post here). The last visit we had to this site we opted not to go in, but just get pictures from the outside (travel advice from a famous travel writer, we'll call him Steve Ricks). This time we did opt to pay the admission fee and take a tour of the abbey first floor and the adjacent chapel. I do recommend this, they have done a wonderful job of setting up several rooms, full furnished, according to the time period. The gothic chapel is also amazing to see, and in season, there are gardens to tour also. We spent quite a bit of time walking around the grounds before we decided that we should be back on the road to Ennis as it was late in the afternoon, and we still had several hours of driving. The rain had finally decided to catch up with us on the drive back, but it was still a very scenic drive through the mountains back to Galway and then Ennis. Dinner was at the Poets Corner once again, and we lounged around in the lobby by the fire until live music began, taking in one more night of a wonderful atmosphere.