Relax and see Ireland with Dove Chauffeur Drive
Executive chauffeurdriven vacations in Ireland with Dave Hogan and Dovechauffeurdrive
For your own especially designed Tour of the Republic of Ireland/West and South west

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chauffeurdriven tour of the West and South West of Ireland Nov 2013

This may not be the most exciting picture you will ever see on my Blog, but i took it at approx 4:30 am on Monday morning, as i waited to collect a very excited couple of visitors, who were arriving  from New York to tour with me for the next few days. I had stayed overnight in the Airport Clarion hotel, which is a short walk from Terminal 2, where all of the Transatlantic flights end up.

Our destination this morning was the wonderful Ashford Castle in Cong in county Mayo, on the Western side of the country. I was a little concerned, as our drive to Ashford was going to be a long one for my new friends, after their many hours of traveling from the USA. They were, however, in great shape, and in very good form, and we were not long together before we were enjoying getting to know each other.  In the picture above, you can see, Eliane and Joseph on their arrival at Ashford Castle.
This hotel is one of the world's most exciting destinations, with a great history dating back originally to the famous Irish O'Flaherty Clan, known to the English as the ferocious O' Flaherty's.  It was taken over from them by the invading Norman's, led by the De Joy family, in the early eleven hundreds, and later again by another Norman family, the De Burgo's, a name which was to change in later years to Burke. The De Joy name  also changed later  to Joyce. In later years again it was taken over by the Guinness family, and finally turned into a top class five star hotel. It was also the base for many of the actors, and those involved in the filming of that wonderful movie, "The Quiet Man", including John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
It has been visited by innumerable famous people, including Ronnie and Nancy Regan. It is even on the record that i myself have stayed there, eventhough i tried to keep it quiet, so what more can i say.

I took this picture of the castle as i approached it this morning (Tuesday) when  i arrived to collect Elianae and Joseph. They had really enjoyed their overnight stay, and had a really lovely meal last evening in the castle. The lake, pictured behind the castle, is Lough Corrib, the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland. Joseph and Eliane had enjoyed a boat trip on the lake yesterday, which is a great experience. The lake reputed to have 365 islands. I have not managed to count them all myself yet as i seem to keep falling asleep , usually after i reach about fifty or sixty.

I really like this picture which was taken in the hotel reception area this morning. I think i came out really well in it. Please do not get me wrong, as i think everybody else came out well also.
From the left we have, Joseph, Eliane, Yvonne Peters Hill, and , well, you know who.
Yvonne is the Reservations manager, and a really nice, and most obliging lady. If you are planning on coming to stay here, then please feel free to ask for Yvonne, and tell her that i told you to say that "Dave sent you". I wonder if Ronnie and Nancy mentioned my name? Yvonne knows that i only bring nice people to her magnificent hotel. This hotel has recently been taken over by the Red Carnation hotel group, and they are at present in the process of doing a complete overhaul of the premises. I cannot say enough about this wonderful place and the magnificent grounds and gardens and surrounding woodlands, where you can enjoy the great fresh air while walking in the woods, or just wandering down by the lakeshore. It also has its own golf course and you can even book a session with the Falcons. You should Google it and see for yourself all that this place has to offer.
Thank you again Yvonne for looking after Joseph and Eliane. They really loved their stay with you.

The lovely town of Cong, which is located just outside the grounds of Ashford Castle, was the centre for the "Quiet Man " movie, and was the location of a very early monastic settlement dating back to shortly after St Patrick in the late fifth and early sixth century. In my picture i have Eliane and Joseph, with one of the old churches in the background.

The town of Cong also featured in the "Quiet Man", and they have now erected this bronze of John Wayne and Maureen O' Hara in the town centre. I tried to get Joseph to replicate what John Wayne was doing with Maureen here, but he declined as he told me that after a breakfast like he had in the castle, it would be quiet impossible. I suppose that was reasonable.

I myself am most at home in the remote areas of this beautiful country, and my new friends were all in favour of leaving our plans in my hands. Even in these type of areas, you are being watched, as you can see from the photo above. Here we were in Joyce country, nothing to do with James Joyce, but related to the famous Norman Joyce's who had occupied Ashford. If you can find your way here, you have found your way to a little part of heaven.

Now you can see what i am talking about. This is Lough Nafooey, in the heart of the mountains near Finny in Joyce Country. You will never find a bus here, and if you want peace and quiet, and an escape from touristy places, then this should be your destination. It is off the beaten track, and the roads are really narrow, but you could always give me a call.

This pub overlooks Lough Nafooey and here we enjoyed a break where Elaine and Joseph had tea and i had my cup of coffee.

How about this for a surprise. This baby seems to have taken to Eliane and Joseph.

Now we were on our way again as we began our journey over the mountains to Tourmakeady, a town  located on the shores of another great lake, Lough Mask. This lake is actually connected by an underground tunnel to Lough Corrib.

Eventhough i myself am not in this picture, it is a lovely one, featuring Joseph and Eliane, with an old Church of Ireland ruin in the background.

This region is also one of those "Gaeltacht" areas, a region where the Irish language is the main language. The road sign above is bilingual, with the top section in both English and Irish , and the bottom in Irish alone. The bottom one for "Partrai", the Irish word for the small village of Partry, an area Joseph was asked to visit by his friend back in the USA, who has connections with this area.

The sign above shows Killavally to the left, and Partry to the right, and is once again bilingual, and specifically included here for Joseph's pal back in the States.

The village church in the centre of Partry.

Finally we made our way back to Galway city where my friends are staying tonight. The photo above was taken today in the city centre, and features the famous Browne doorway, the entrance door to the house of the famous Browne family, who were one of the fourteen ruling merchant families of Galway city. Most of these families were of Norman origin and lived inside the walls of this very Anglo Norman town. Galway would be my own favourite city, and has a great history, and is famous for its beautiful location on the shores of Galway Bay, its proximity to Connemara on one side,and the Burren of county Clare on the other, the Aran islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, its great restaurants and pubs, with the finest of music, its many famous people, including myself of course. You must come and see it for yourself.

A final picture of the centre of Galway today, where the Christmas market is now open and in full swing, and will remain so up until the Christmas. This picture shows only very little of this great market, which covers the whole of the city centre park. There are all kinds of stalls exhibiting their wares here today with a great selection of hot and cold foods to tickle your taste buds. If i could only have found a place to park the car. Just imagine how badly i felt when Eliane and Joseph abandoned me to head off and to sample a food stall they spotted advertising delicious crepes? Well, i suppose,they are the ones on holiday. I am off next week. The market will still be there. So will i. Watch this space.

Tomorrow we head for Killarney. Hungry or not, i am on my way again. Please feel free to come along.