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A Travelling mum Without her Family in Ireland; day 1
My #active press trip in the Irish countryside was absolutely wonderful. A 9km #cycle past abandoned train tracks and sheep, fresh scones, warm #whiskey and even warmer #hospitality, this was definitely a trip that I would do again with my #family.
The trip was known as The Wild Atlantic Way West Coast Experience. That’s a mouthful so I’m going to call it WAWWest. We met early on a Saturday morning at the DoubleTree Hilton in Dublin and I made my way to the back of the bus to the cool kids seat. Extremely funny since I wasn’t the youngest kid on the bus, but I made some quick friends back there anyway, and it kept me feeling young.
Tea & Scones in Roscommon
Our bus ride was from the east of Ireland to the far west. We stopped in a quaint little place, Gleesons, for scones and tea. The room was cozy and at our tables I continued to get to know the fellow bloggers on our trip.
I didn’t have to share my scone with anyone, nor did any fellow travellers require me to wipe their faces after making a mess. It was quite leisurely.
Westport Walking Tour
It wasn’t a long walk as we seemed to be behind schedule, but a lovely lady showed us around this elegant heritage town. The town is filled with Georgian streetscapes, sweet bridges over little rivers and an amazing church with artistic stained glass windows. While the town smells like fish and chips the church smelt like mint and dust, but the undeniable beauty from those stained glass windows was just art.
How interesting buildings and painters beside the river are when you actually have time to look at them without wondering if your kids are swimming in the river or running onto the road.
...the undeniable beauty from those stained glass windows was just art
Gourmet Greenway Food Tasting
After our walk around the sweet Westport we were back on our bus to Mulranny Park Hotel to try some local gourmet food. It is here seated beside my new chef friend I was convinced to try my first oyster. As you can see there was a reason I stayed away from them, slimy little suckers. I’ll stick with the lamb, thanks.
A Surreal Cycle Experience
A short walk from our lunch spot was Clew Bay Bike Hire. It was here we were meant to commence our 18km bike ride. The last time I was on a bike for a decent period was more then a year ago in Ubud or perhaps the short trip in Yosemite, would I even remember how? Thankfully due to our demanding time schedule we only had to complete 9kms. Phew!
The ride was absolutely magnificent. It was such a surreal moment cycling that abandoned railway line through the Irish countryside beside sheep overlooking the Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick. Most of my team blazed ahead while I took the time to smell the grass, feel the breeze, baa at the sheep. It was a moment I will never forget.
The ride was absolutely magnificent
Downhill to Dublin Tour
Old Jameson Distillery Tour
Viking Splash Tour in Dublin
When they say you can cycle at your own pace, it was amusing to actually believe them. I didn’t have to wait for the kids or speed up for my fit hubby. I found myself thinking of them on the trip and how they would of loved the ride and I wish they had been there, hubby pulling them along in a trailer, stopping to chase the sheep.
As if we were not full already from our scones and gourmet food tasting we were then escorted to the famous Grainne Uaile Pub in Newport for chowder. Not a fan of chowder but we were offered delicious pumpkin soup as an alternative.
Despite my rather full stomach the soup warmed my insides quickly from the refreshing bicycle ride.
A Countryside Place to Call Home
It was barely an hour later that we were rocking up to our hotel for the evening. The Zetland Country House Hotel is set on the edge of Cashel Bay in Connemara.
Hotel Zetland House
It feels isolated out there in the countryside with the mountains around it. It’s quiet and peaceful until the door opens and out comes the funniest man I had yet to meet in Ireland. What a warm-hearted gentleman, Colm was, greeting each one of us by name and inviting us into the warmth and comfort of his hotel.
Our reception it seems had been much anticipated as after a long and tiring day. We walked into a warm room, magically lit with an amber glow, a roaring fire to toast my bottom by, a fiddler playing a happy tune and then a home-grown whiskey whisked into my hand.
Never being a fan of whiskey I gave it a try and felt the warmth or rather the burn crawl down my throat and into my belly. I was happy to hand the glass onto a whiskey lover. After we were encouraged to dine on oysters and sushi then out came the homemade chocolates. Each more delicious then the last.
It was hard to tear oneself away from such merriment and warmth, but finally we were shown to our rooms where my love for the place only grew. I found myself with nothing to do for the first time in a long time. No kids to feed, or shower or put to bed and I sat thinking deeply in my plush lounge.
It was hard to tear oneself away from such merriment and warmth...
But it wasn’t too long before it was time to move on to our next activity. There was no rest on a press trip.
So lonely in my big room with no husband or kids, until I realized I had a bed, a giant bed all to myself. Oh, this was going to be a fine sleep.
"Hey There, you Look Like you Need Some More Food"
Half of our party were staying at the Cashel House Hotel so we met them their for dinner. This place was built in the 19th century on 50 acres of gardens and woodland. It also served up a delightful three-course meal.
More food, I don’t think I could handle it. But I did. A delicious three-course meal was provided in which I thoroughly enjoyed and got to know my fellow travellers. I must admit some surprise during mains when my new friend Corey received 3 types of potato – mash, boiled and baked. The Irish love their potatoes!
Dinner with just adults is an amazing thing, but there was no one to finish my food when I was too full to carry on.
You may Rest now
After dinner we were bussed back to the warmth of the Zetland. Our loud and warm host encouraged us to all stay for a nightcap to finish the night. After 15 hours of strangers and touring the WAWWest I was done. I declined and took the stairs to my big, empty room.
There was no reception to say goodnight to my family and really no time, because sleep came fast and swift and sweet.