Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Planning a Trip to Ireland? Where to Go - A Sneak Peek.

Touring across Ireland to Westport. What happened when Rosie returned. 

"When planning our journey, I had searched the Internet for good deals and facilities on hotels and had decided on the excellent Westport Woods Hotel and Spa as a base as it was

more central for our family visits combined with our itinerary of visiting booksellers stocking our book. This modern hotel is set in extensive grounds on the edge of town, not far from Westport Quay. With a large comfortable lobby and a choice of the more formal but stylish restaurant or the contemporary Café Bar with waiter ‘service-with-a-smile’, the scene is set for a relaxing stay. The hotel is near to the grounds of the 18C Westport House and gardens – the home of the Marquess of Sligo – which is open to the public. The grounds also house a Pirate Adventure Park. Westport House was built on the site of an old castle, which was owned by the Irish Pirate Queen, Gráinne Ní Mháille (O’Malley).
In Ballycroy Churchyard.
Westport Town. County Mayo, Ireland.

Croagh Patrick from Shranamanragh
A short stroll down the road is Westport Quay and Harbour. Well actually, a bit more than a short stroll. We did not go down there this time, as the road back is quite steep but on our first visit in 1998 we explored more and spent some happy hours down by the quay before strolling through the woods and grounds of Westport House. 
I still wonder if my grandparents used to come here when they were younger, but then, Ballycroy is quite a way from Westport so I expect that visits were on high days and holidays. One of my cousins (second cousin-once-removed) once told me that in days gone by, our forebears (grandparents and uncles) walked from Knockmoyleen, Shranamanragh and Ballycroy to Westport to catch the boat to America and the UK, carrying their shoes around their necks.
‘Why?’ I asked in naivety and ignorance, not fully understanding the conditions at that time.
‘Because they only had one pair of shoes,’ was the dry reply.
Such was the poverty at that time and I am talking about the very early 1900’s – not so very long ago. The road from the harbour and quay with its small fishing tackle shop, carries on to take you west, past Croagh Patrick, to Louisborough on the coast. Here you could enjoy an ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlour to refresh you before the journey back to Westport or beyond.
A large part of our itinerary involved touring through County Mayo to Castlebar, Ballyhaunis and Tuam; north to Ballina and Sligo; east to Cavan; south to Ballinasloe in County Galway. This offered the opportunity to see a good deal of the surrounding area. Sometimes ‘eventually’ was the operative word as Sat Nav recovered and took charge once again. Firstly, we planned to re-visit our cousins in Achill and Knockmoyleen. We had been in touch by post and telephone to make the arrangements beforehand. Both were disappointed that we could not stay with them. The hospitality in Ireland has to be seen to be believed."
Rosie eventually left her heart in Ballycroy. Find out why.

An excerpt from Chasing Rainbows: with Just Us Two. Adventures continued with a return to Andorra - eventually - after going into the French Alps and more. At last they went to the top of the mountain in Ordino in Andorra and more. . .

Rosalie x
** These photos are not in the book but there are many others. 

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