Achill Island and times gone by of Irish Country Life

Cathy posting:

It was a slow late start today and after bacon butties and paracetamol we cleaned Pogo up a bit and walked along the vast Keel beach, admiring the headland towering over it, many surfers out today and lots of walkers as it’s Sunday, we’ve heard about another cove called Keem, so we drive off there, there’s a walk near to Keel to the “deserted village” but we don’t feel energetic today!

So a little drive it is, the scenery is stupendous, jaw dropping cliffs and views of the Atlantic for miles, a very steep drop down to Keem cove which in itself is a picture postcard unbelievably there is a takeaway van selling chips and ice cream at the tiny hidden cove, that’s a no brainer they’re gorgeous and they are in a cone, why do they taste so good in a cone? We take two down to the beach and watch the gentle waves, it’s quite cold and breezy but the sun is out, a few kids in the water, they don’t care if it is cold, bare legs looking a bit blue! Back inside Pogo and I hear some ladies talking to Dave outside “is there room in there for two lovely ladies?” I hear one lady asking, Dave has trouble with one woman let alone 3! ‘’Don’t think my wife would like that’’ he replies, but she quickly comes back with ‘’ahh sure we can all roll in together!’’

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lovely jubberly!

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Keem bay

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Looking at Achill Island from Keem bay

Stopping briefly at Westport, County Mayo sleeping for the night at the Marina car park, next to the bottle bank, oops that was a noisy spot!? We couldn’t believe how many cars turned up, we think small businesses too, are they not having a regular pick up? Or are they just extremely good at recycling? Up at 8am as the lorry turns up to empty the banks lol! Westport is a very pretty and pleasant town, we had a nice walk around the towns streets and little bridges over the tree lined river, there are lots of interesting shops but we don’t enjoy it like we would if we were here for a weekend holiday or even a week, as everywhere is either a shop or a pub or some eatery and we cant spend money in every single place, having said that Dave buys a Euromillions lottery ticket!

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Westport

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It has seen better days! Westport Quay

We head inland now to Turlough near Castlebar, County Mayo to the Country Life Museum, this was a free museum set over 4 floors and it was very interesting, the plan was to cycle part of the greenway trail which covers 326 kms but it was raining so we drove there, years of Irish history of how life was in the past for people living in the countryside, we both really enjoyed it and especially because the museum itself had sought out dying crafts and trades such as thatching, basket making and shoe making, straw mattresses, using the natural resources around them, with limited resources they used their ingenious creativity using whatever they could grow or find.

Samples of things made in days gone by were on display with a little video and demonstration by the people who made them especially for the museum, after a couple of hours we head to the café for some sustenance and two tureens of spicy sweet potato soup with home made wheaten Irish bread, we were amazed by the food choices in the café, not cheap but 5 star quality.

Still in County Mayo and driving on towards the Partry Mountains range and back along the wild Atlantic way, we stop as the weather is awful and blowing Pogo about, veering right & left along the narrow road, the landscape in Ireland is beautiful but the roads are mostly terrible, we can see that this mountain range is stunning even through the thick mist and drizzling rain which obscure most of the views, we feel we’ve missed out on a particularly scenic location, we are heading to Killary Harbour, but not sure whether to pull over and stay in a layby, we do pullover but only to take a call from our son in Canada, it was lovely to hear his voice as we really miss him. The rain subsides just a little so we move on and so just a short drive later we arrive at Leenane at the end of the water inlet known as Killary Harbour, its dark, cold and raining and blowing a strong wind, lights can be seen through the rain in the pub so off we go being blown literally through the pub door of Gaynors Pub, we are greeted by the cheerful landlady, ‘’ah its not so bad she says?’’

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The Field Pub, know as Gaynors Pub 

It’s just us and the landlady but that’s ok the log fire is roaring and there is Guinness on tap she doesn’t serve food but offers to make us both a cheese and onion toastie, they were delicious as was the Guinness and the ubiquitous Tayto cheese and onion crisps!

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Richard is looking at us!

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Looking around the walls of the pub we notice a painting of the actor Richard Harris and a newspaper cutting about the movie “The Field” made in 1990 starring Richard Harris and Sean Bean. We recognise this as we recently watched it, the pub itself was used for the film as was the harbour outside.

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a local newspaper article about the filming

We leave the pub and are literally blown towards Pogo, hopefully the Guinness will help our slumber.

Cathy

Useful info;

GPS Keel Beach on Achill Island, Co Mayo, free parking, public toilets N53.97405,W010.07780

GPS Keem Beach Achill Island, Co Mayo N53.96717,W010.19531

GPS Westport Quay, free parking, free water tap N53.80217, W009.55529

GPS National Museum of Ireland, Turlough Country life Museum, free parking, free entry N53.88247,W009.20820

GPS “The Field” filmed at Gaynors pub, Leenane, Co Galway N53.59653,W009.69431

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