We were able to visit the west coast as Galway is only 2 hours drive from home. We arrived in Galway Friday night and got checked in to the Victoria Hotel. This is a nice enough place, and very close to everything. The plan was to get up Saturday morning and do a driving tour around Connemara. We didn't have everything exactly planned out and would change course as we went.
We started off driving north to Cong. This is a quiet little village with a nice abbey to walk around. We then decided to skip Castlebar and Westport and drive through the country to Leenaun. We had some great views of the countryside and some large lakes. It started raining while driving, so we found a place open for lunch, the Leenane Hotel. They did a pretty good job. After lunch the rain had stopped, so we drove up to see Aasleagh falls. The rain was trying to spit again, but these falls, while not high, were flowing impressively. Next we drove south to Kylemore Abbey. It was raining some still, but we went in to the gift shop. Our travel guides said walking to and paying for the abbey is not necessary as it is expensive, and the view from the parking lot suffices. We drove a bit further and saw the sign for Connemara National Park visitor centre. My research indicated that it had closed the weekend prior, but the sign said open. So we stopped and learned that the sign was for the park, not the visitors centre. Oh well, still a neat area. We drove next through a little area called Letterfrack and then saw a sign for Avoca! We didn't think Avoca was that far away, so of course we stopped. It was small, and had no food, but was having a huge sale. We continued our drive with many great views and pull-offs, including Gurteen Bay beach. We didn't get to drive all of the Sky Road, but a pretty good amount of it, before heading back to Galway for dinner.
Pictures from Connemara
Sunday morning we woke up and walked around a bit before heading south. We walked through the Spanish Arch and up toward St. Nicholas church. We stopped in a few shops before starting our drive south to Cliffs of Moher.
Pictures from Galway
The drive through the burren was nice, with a good view of Galway Bay on our way up. There are other sites in the area, but we were only out there for one thing at this time. We got there and it wasn't really raining, but it was not clear. So, since it rains a lot out there, we were happy with it. The views are pretty impressive. One could spend quite a bit of time walking around the trails. They keep the edges pretty well protected, so you don't get real close to the edge to take pictures.
Pictures from Cliffs of Moher