Day 5 – Saturday – Dublin to Mayo

Posted: 23/06/2012 in Holiday
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Ariel House Hotel, Lansdowne Road

[Written by Mark unless AB before paragraph]

We both rose early this morning. We knew we had a long drive ahead of us and the weather forecast wasn’t good. Deirdre had asked us to take some photographs of the breakfast table for their website. We took a handful of photographs while we waited for a table. Breakfast was first class again. We felt we had both over-eaten over the last couple of days, so we opted for natural yoghurt and granola, the vegetarian breakfast and homemade soda bread. Perfect!

After breakfast, we left comments in the visitors’ book: “Tá sé ar fheabas ar fad. Bricfeasta blasta, táimid sásta! Tá sé go hiontach!” Google translate that!!

Back up to the room to finish packing, then loading up the car. I took one last photograph of the hotel, then negotiated my way out of the car park. The SatNav found a route, so we headed up towards the Liffey to find a petrol station. The SatNav then lost its signal, so we were driving blind for the best part of half an hour. We got onto the N4 (Ushers Quay), filled up the car at the first petrol station we found (nearly 1.57 a litre), then followed the signs for Westport.

We did think about avoiding toll roads and heading through the back roads, but it turned out that the only toll was €2.80! Again, the run was uneventful. As soon as we got out of Dublin, the roads got quieter and quieter. We stopped off at Ballaghadereen for tea and a ham sandwich (nothing to write home about), then carried on to Westport. The weather was deteriorating – mist and rain. We finally got to Westport and it felt cold enough to be March. We found a small supermarket and stopped for supplies. Westport was very busy – it turned out there was a festival on over the weekend and several well-known artists were performing, including Seasick Steve. We had no idea!! Supplies purchased: tea, milk, bread, beer, wine, bacon, eggs – just the essentials.

Heading off to Louisburgh on the R335, we passed what should have been Croagh Patrick, but it was shrouded in mist, as was Clew Bay. The view was still impressive. The road takes you right along the coast and is a challenging drive – mind you, most of the roads round here are challenging! Louisburgh is small and looks a bit run down, but blink and you miss it.

Room with a view

From Louisburgh, we headed south through Carrowniskey and Roonith Hill, finally arriving at Killeen and turning right up the hill towards Aillemore. This road is fiddly – it’s a single-track road and we met a couple of other road users coming the other way. There are occasional passing places, so we took turns pulling on to grass verges, etc. We finally got to the cottage – a largish, grey-walled bungalow. The caretaker, Mary, was waiting for us. She gave us a brief guided tour then left us to unpack. The lounge has a huge picture window, stretching almost floor to ceiling, and a sliding patio door of the same proportion. From the window, it should have been possible to see Clare Island but, yes, you guessed it, it was obscured by the low cloud and rain. Oh well, maybe we’ll get a better view tomorrow.

AB: The controls for the central heating (needed) were in a little brick hut in the garden. You had to crouch down and back into it to access them.  Nigh impossible for those who are not agile. Why not put them in the cottage? Mary had left bedding out on all the beds, so we could choose which room we liked. Hobson’s Choice: there was only one double room. It had an en suite, not that that made any difference with just the two of us staying there. The duvet was heavy and lumpy, and the bedding was poly-cotton. Hmm, should have brought our own lovely Egyptian cotton stuff. We didn’t relish a week lying under that, so decided to head to Galway early tomorrow to buy some decent stuff. There was the makings of a fire in the porch: kindling and briquettes. A real fire was one the criteria for choosing this place, so Mark got to work setting it. But then we couldn’t find any matches! A quick text to Mary and her daughter dropped some round. Yay, we had a fire! But then smoke started billowing into the room, and we had to open the windows. So maybe we won’t be snuggling up in front of a roaring fire every evening after all. I made tuna with wholewheat pasta for dinner; I always find that comforting and grounding in a new place. Once the fire had died down, we headed for our not-so-lovely bed. Not liking pitch darkness, and expecting it to be like that with no streetlights around, I’d bought a nightlight to plug in. Turned out it wasn’t needed; the sky retained a hint of light. Night-night!

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