Day Four
Cavan to Clifden

Friday, October 15, 2010

In what would amount to being our longest driving day of the trip, we woke up at the ‘normal time’ (never thought I would have a normal time to wake up, but it became 8:30 on this trip) and got ready before heading back to the castle restaurant for breakfast. With the wedding at the castle the night before, the restaurant looked a bit different for breakfast this morning – like, the place was packed! We had the same waitress, but she was way to busy for the same level of sociability we enjoyed the day before. We each took part in the buffet, and I had the full Irish breakfast again. This proved to be, overall, my most favorite of the three places we ate breakfast at. The taste of all of the components was spot on!

After breakfast, we packed up the room and said good-bye to Cabra Castle, Kingscourt, and County Cavan, although I dare say this won’t be the last time we see this part of the world. In the short two days we spent there, something spoke to us and it quickly became somewhere we would love to visit again. We took some last minute pictures of the entry way to the castle grounds, and it was off to County Galway. Our route snaked us through the upper third of the country, with mostly two lane roads making up our trek. This led to a longer than average travel time that’s for sure!

We arrived at Abbeyglenn Castle, Clifden, Co. Galway late afternoon on Friday. As a town, Clifden appeared to be the same size as Kingscourt, with the main part of town, and businesses, being broken into a ‘V’ shape with a roundabout being the point. Abbeyglenn Castle was situated just on the ‘outskirts’ of the town, with the town in full view from the window in our room.

Our check in went fine, and the girl at the reception actually took us up to our room and showed it to us. This room, of the three we stayed in, looked the most like a ‘hotel room’ that we would be used to in the states. Well, with a bit of outdated décor and an older telly and all, but you get the idea.

One oddity about this accommodation was the water. It had a brownish coloring to it – kind of like the water at home when it’s been raining for a bit and the silt in the well gets all kicked up. Apparently, the off colored water concerned enough people that there was actually a laminated note in the bathroom that pretty much said, “The water is this color because of the peat in the wells around here. There is nothing wrong with it, in fact with an increased iron content it’s actually thought to be good for you”. Okay, sounds good to me!

We went back out to the car to grab our bags, and on the way in were met by ‘Pedro’, a very nice young man that worked for Abbeyglenn and was quite insistent that he could get our bags. He brought them up to the room for us, and after a quick freshen up we decided to check out the free tea and scones in the hotel bar.

There, we found a quaint if not typical hotel bar. There were a couple of other couples there at the bar and at one of the tables, so Jill and I found an open table and sat down. The bartender (yet another person who’s name I don’t remember) came out and set us up with cups and plates and all of the accoutrements for our afternoon tea. When he came back, he brought us the best scones we had in all of Ireland, and he showed us how to properly prepare one. Cut it in half, us a liberal amount of that great Irish butter, on top of that a liberal amount of strawberry jelly, and on top of that a liberal amount of fresh cream. Holy crap, it was just awesome! Not sure if it tasted so good because this was the first time we had eaten since our breakfast, seven hours prior at this point, or if it was just that good, but I could have eaten a dozen of them just like that!

As we had done at Cabra, we sat for a bit and soaked it all in. The couple at the bar were from Washington – and I thought the gent looked a bit like Joe Lieberman – there was a couple from Holland that sat in the corner, and a couple that we surmised were ‘local’ sat behind us near the fireplace. Interesting to note, the fireplace was burning peat not wood as we would here in the States. Although it didn’t give off the odor in the bar, many, many places we went throughout Ireland had that distinctive peat burning smell, very much like the wood burning smell we have here in many places.

Having soaked in enough ambiance in the bar, and finishing our scones and tea, we went back to the room and got ready to drive into Galway. Heading to the car, walking along one of the hallways in the hotel, we ran into the bartender once again. He was petting a bird that was standing on top of its cage, and as we approached he had Jill come closer, took her hand so she too could pet the bird, and the bird promptly tried to peck at her hand. Silly bird.

The drive from Clifden to Galway was about an hour or so, depending on traffic, along the N59 through Connemara, one of the most beautiful drives we took the entire time in Ireland. The landscape here was much different than it had been in the north, where it looked very much like Upstate New York, Connemara was more reminiscent of Las Vegas – if it rained all the time in Vegas and the hills and mountains were covered in moss. There had been some road improvements – read: the road had been widened – just outside of Clifden, and for the most part the road, although winding, was much wider than the roads we had driven on the get to Abbeyglenn.

We arrived in Galway City around 6ish (I did poorly at telling what time it was the entire time we were there), and found a parking lot just down the hill from Eyre Square to park in. We made our way back up to Eyre Square, and searched out An Pucan, a bar/restaurant suggested to us by our friend Donal O’Shaugnassy. We found it, on Forester Street, and went in for dinner. At this point, there was Jill and I, and one other table of people. Kind of quiet for a place that boasted Irish music nightly (but, come to find out, everyone was up the road at the rugby match, which I didn’t know about – and Galway City became a bit more crowded once the match was over). We had a good meal there, and then set out to wander around the Eyre Square area. We had thoughts of going into a couple of other pubs, but neither looked all that inviting. We finally settled on the Skeffington Arms, which touted itself as the largest sports bar in Galway. Welp, this place doesn’t have anything on Tully’s or Buffalo Wild Wings, but the pints tasted the same, and there was some football game from Germany on the telly, so it was a good place to plotz down. There was one side room I went through where there were tall tables, and in the middle each person had their very own tap pull! Put the money in, pour yourself a drink – nice!!

Exhausting our sports bar experience, we walked back over to An Pucan and found it to be quite a bit more lively than it had been an hour prior. We each grabbed a drink, and found a place to sit so we could listen to a bit of the Irish music being played. (we actually at in a half of a boat that was sticking out of the wall). After finishing a couple of drinks, we wandered back to the car and made our way back to Abbeyglenn Castle for yet another well deserved nights sleep.

The Cabra Castle Irish wolfhound and friend out for a walk

It's an Irish traffic jam!

This one's for Forbidussi

The front just looked cool (while we were sitting in the traffic jam)

Tim sitting in the boat in An Pucan

Jill sitting in the boat at An Pucan

Total Miles Travelled:
187,788 Miles!

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Page Last Updated: October 22, 2010