Driving on the wrong side of the road, we left Dublin and headed towards the left coast of Ireland. Aptly named, we stayed in the small town of Westport: full of charm, shops and pubs aplenty. The small town vibe was refreshing given that we’ve been spending so much time in large cities. We even made a friend whom we ran into on the streets and chatted with while out and about. The genuine friendliness of the people and their openness was remarkable. Westport was a lovely town. We sampled lots of the restaurants, pubs and shops during our four night stay.
We slept in our first B&B of our entire lives, St. Anthony’s. Our host, Paul, was an extremely friendly Catholic Monk who was helping run the B&B with his life long buddy, also named Paul. Two Pauls do, in fact, make a right. Forgive the corny nature of this assertion but these gents made our stay nothing short of perfect. We arrived to a bottle of champagne in our room, and chocolates. They certainly won Tarin over right away. They continued to provide a bottle of something to drink nearly every night and were extremely helpful in our daily planning. We were simply blown away with the hospitality.
Early on our third morning, we had a hike up Croagh Patrick, a mountain just a few minutes outside Westport. We had a crystal clear day (Irish context, of course) and enjoyed a 5km hike up a portion of the trail used as a pilgrimage since the 11th century, then turned back towards the bay below. The views were absolutely stunning.
True to our love of the open road, we spent an entire day driving the surrounding area. Paul highly recommended we see Kylemore Abbey, a castle built in the middle of the 19th century.
Along the way, we passed Ireland’s only Fjord – Killary Harbour. The day was full of everything we thought Ireland would bring – green covered mountains, rivers, lakes, coastal views and lots of rain.
Earlier this month, we posted about our desire to maintain plans in Paris early next month, even in light of recent terrorist events. During an afternoon spent in front of the woodstove fire at St. Anthony’s B&B, T and I decided to change course. Our resolve to disallow these terrorists to negatively affect our trip have not given way, but the simple fact is that Paris is a very different place than it was just a few weeks ago. Armed soldiers walk the streets while special forces continue to carry out raids throughout the city; we cannot deny the ability of such sights and sounds to detract from our quest for a romantic week in Paris. Thus, we have decided to extend our time in Ireland and exchange the days originally earmarked for Paris for time in the Netherlands! For now, we will continue on through Ireland…