We set off in convoy to the west of Ireland about 11am on the 7th May and travelled to Westport and then down through the Poetry mountains and via a Lough to Clifden. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains to our destination of Clifden where we arrived about 8pm. We did explore the capabilities of Van Mauriceson with six of us in it for lunch which worked well with two of us standing but we even managed to boil some water for tea on the stove.
Cousin Marcia a professional photographer took lots of pictures of the landscape and her friend Ellen and Barney and Caroline booked into the Abbeyglen hotel which is an old hotel complete with tennis courts and helipad where many celebrities had stayed in years gone by.
Maurice and I were going to find a caravan park about 20minutes away but Ellen asked the receptionist if it would be OK for us to stay in the carpark. She suggested asking the manager so we went with Barney who had on previous occasions met the manager to ask him. He readily agreed which was very kind of him. We had a very nice dinner in the dining room upstairs complete with birthday cake for Caroline and afterwards we retired to the downstairs lounge with nice warm fire to chat and listen to the live Irish music in the bar next door. The other four travelling companions slept in comfort in the large old hotel while the travellers spent the night in Van Mauriceson under a tree in the carpark which we regretted in the morning as it dropped bits on the roof all night and poured with rain depriving us of a bit of sleep.
We did however slip into Barney and Caroline’s room in the morning however to have a shower which was very welcome. We drove a little way back through the mountains to Kylemore Abbey in County Galway which was magnificent building which had been a private residence and then a school which had been attended by some of the family and one of Maurice’s and Caroline’s 1st cousin once removed who was a nun at the school was buried beside the church o the property.
We made our way then from Connemara through the very different scenery of the Burren in Clare and to Ennistimon.
We peeled off and booked into the Riverside Campsite in Doolin and the other four headed for the lovely Falls hotel
in Enninstimon. Maurice and I joined them (about a 20minute trip) for dinner and a spectacular view from the hotel
over the Falls which virtually run through the centre of town. It did rain for most of the day but we did get some
glimpses of the sun. A storm started while we were having dinner and it was very windy by the time Maurice and I drove
back to the campsite and bedded down for the night. The storm continued all night and there were heavy squalls which
rocked the van quite violently a few times. It was a cold walk to the showers in the morning and we were glad to get
back to the van and the reverse cycle air conditioning which was working very well.
After a light breakfast and refill of water for our tank we left for the Cliffs of Moher which were only about 15minutes
away. I couldn’t believe how much the area had changed since I was there about 25years ago. There used to be a small parking area with an old stone cafe but now there was an enormous carpark lower down the hill and built into the side of the hill was an enormous visitor’s centre complete with cafe, restaurant and information about the area. We paid four euros to park and access the area and on our ticket was printed “McCarthy week” so Maurice and I were able to show our ID and register to win a holiday for four in County Clare. McCarthy means “loving” but this was thought to be ironic as they were known in the early days to to be involved in many territorial disputes! There were 647 McCarthys in 1901 and now there are apparently over 30,000 people with the name Mccarthy in Ireland.
We four women went up to the top of the hill to take some pictures of the cliffs and we had to link arms as we came down as we were nearly blown over in the wind. It was a cold Summer’s day – about 7degrees but the wind made it a very high chill factor. Maurice saw a little girl knocked down by the wind.
Marcia wented to see and photograph a Dolman – an ancient megalithic new stone age tomb in Poulnabrone which is one of two in the area and supposedly one of the best preserved ones in the Burren. It was nearly as windy as on the coast and very
cold but it was a worthwhile site to see.
From there Caroline and Barney took us to Clontuskert church were the three cousin’s great, great,great grandfather John Martin
and some of his family were buried and we then went on to where the Martin family farm had been in County Galway and then we drove along to the land where the two Martin brothers lived before one went to Australia and then onto the USA and the other brother to the USA. The house unfortunately has since disintegrated but a lovely couple who have lived on the land for the last 40years showed us where the house had been and had us to tea. They have done this for other relatives as well so it was very hospitable of them especially as we got a little lost on the country lanes and didn’t get to their house until after 6.30pm.
We got back to Dublin around 10pm and all decided to have fish and chips from the “chipper” for dinner.
Marcia and her friend Ellen left Dalkey on Friday to fly back to the USA. It was great for us to meet Marcia again after many years
and to meet Ellen and spend some time with them both.
On Friday our friends from Perth Pamela and Ken came up to Dalkey and we all went off to Finnegan’s pub for a long lunch which was lovely and by the time we got back to the house we were able to sit in the sunshine in the garden.
We reluctantly left the very hospitable Barney and Caroline on Saturday morning for Wexford for the night and then on to Rosslare and to France on Sunday the 12th May.

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