Saturday, October 26, 2013

Leaving Roundstone.....

Hello again - it's been a few days and there's a few things to catch up on...
We left Roundstone this morning to the promise of wet and windy weather - more about that later.
Our last few days in Roundstone we spent exploring some of the lovely places to visit. Our first stop was Ballynahinch Castle which is now a hotel although open to the public to explore the grounds and eat at the restaurant. There are some beautiful walks around the lakes and rivers.
 The river walk takes you past gorgeous places like this.
 Salmon country!
 Ever seen the show 'An Idiot Abroad'? I have a contender for the next series....
 Deep in the woods. I was expecting a leprechaun to pop out at any moment - but no, nowhere to be seen!
 This little bird sang to us as we were getting back into the car. What a lovely little chap!
 On the way back to Roundstone - Connemara is a stunning region.
 We also visited Kylemore Abbey which is probably the most beautiful building I've seen here in Ireland in the most amazing landscape - nestled at the foot of a mountain with a lake at the front. And this Victorian walled garden with six acres of plants, trees, etc.
The estate has a very long and interesting history. It was originally built by Henry Mitchell, an Englishmen, who fell in love with Connemara on a holiday. He was a very clever man who designed many innovative things for the castle and gardens including hydro electricity to light and warm the castle and underground heating for the gardens so they could grow all sorts of exotic plants. 
 It is now the home of Benedictine nuns who moved into the estate after their nunnery in Belgium was bombed during World War One. They ran a boarding school for girls for many years which only closed in 2010. Now the nuns run the estate as a tourist attraction and they have done a wonderful job of restoring the castle and gardens to their former splendour.
Stunning spot to live.
 There's lots of fun things for little kiddies to play with in the grounds....anyone know the number for that TV show?!
 Yes, he's still following me around....
So we are now in County Clare in Ennis, south of Galway. As I said we left early this morning to the threat of some severe weather coming - heavy rain and winds, so seeing the Cliffs of Moher today was off the agenda. The trip down was wet but not too bad. We found a nice hotel to stay in and as we were getting our gear out of the car the heavy rain started. By the time we reached the front door we were drenched - just like we had been hosed off - literally! And within an hour it was clear! This weather is seriously changeable! Tonight it's falling down again, so we will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.
We are down to the last week here in Ireland. A few more days with the car and then four nights in Dublin.
Love to all at home - thanks for following us on our travels. xx

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