Blacksod, Co. Mayo; D-Day & The Tuke Fund

Cathy posting:

When we started this trip we thought that one month was enough, the plan was to drive along the Wild Atlantic Way and also have a few inland stops too, well, we underestimated the size of the coast and so apart from a few jaunts inland to escape stormy weather we have stuck to the coast, we love this island and will be back next year to explore the lakes and castles of which there are many and all the towns that we’ve missed.


Pogo with the Wild Atlantic Way marker point

So last night we arrived at Blacksod, Co Mayo, a small harbour

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Downpatrick Head Co Mayo – a Saintly place.

Cathy posting:

We are heading towards some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Downpatrick Head is a majestic heritage site 5 kms north of Ballycastle in County Mayo, it is a signature discovery point along the Wild Atlantic way, we are totally gobsmacked by the raw beauty of the headland as we arrive, we couldn’t get our coats on fast enough . We’ve decided this will be Pogos resting spot for tonight and the forecast says it will be reasonably calm.


Before the storm

There is a warmish breeze as we walk up the slopes of Downpatrick head, we near a blow hole called Poll Na Seantainne right in the middle of the headland! this huge cavernous gap has literally been formed by the sheer power of the sea, safely cordoned off with both a fence and glass panels, it was an impressive sight, advancing further up the head and nearing the edge, signs everywhere spelling danger! The ground looks like the hexagonal shapes of the Giants Causeway but covered in a soft bouncy mossy earth, it was a bit unnerving feeling movement under your feet when you are only feet away from a precipice.


unnervingly soft ground


blow hole


the power of the waves

Heading up to a WW II lookout out we can see to our left the Stags of Broadhaven and Benwee head and to our right Streedagh in the distance.  Carved into the Head with large rocks and granite is EIRE 64, this was to let the American Aircraft know that they were in neutral territory having crossed the Atlantic during WWII.


But the sight everyone comes for is Dun Briste, in 1393 the stack broke off in a storm, the stranded inhabitants allegedly rescued by rope, it sits 40 metres above the waves, it’s called a sea stack, many centuries of layered rock and sandstone of varying colours can be seen, and home to thousands of nesting sea birds.


Dun Briste sea stack

P1090501St Patrick is said to have founded a church here, hence the name of Downpatrick Head, pilgrims still flock here on the last Sunday of July known as Garland Sunday to hear mass at this sacred site.


Monument to St Patrick


Watching over the lands

Dave couldn’t get enough photos of the waves swirling and breaking against the stack. I had to prise him away and get back to Pogo for some food as it was getting more breezy, the waves forming white frothy clouds of spray as they hit the dark rocks in front of our windscreen, checking the weather forecast again before deciding to sleep here and opening the wine we were reassured the wind speed was no more than 16mph and there were no warnings forecast, storm Ali seems to have breathed its last breath.








a tempestuous evening

Well after Dave took 3 games of Yahtzee from me, scoring 2 Yahtzees in one game and getting an extra 100 points, 2 or 3 glasses of wine had been consumed and the gusts started, Pogo was seriously being bounced about, the Irish weather forecasts we learned later can change up to 4 times a day! Never mind 4 seasons in one day,  we were well chocked up with wood blocks and a fence in front of us but I was not that relaxed, a restless night was had, tucked up tight under the duvet even the earplugs didn’t stop the sound of the waves crashing and the wind scuttling across the roof and trying to find it’s way under the skylights.


loving the views 

Up early at 7am as the skylight sounded like it was going to take off, Dave assures me he’s put an extra two screws in it, having said that though he decides we’re off! At 7.15 am and  we’ll have breakfast somewhere else less scary, heading inland to Crossmolina, well the  R315 is one of the bounciest roads we’ve ever been on, Pogo is a creaky old soul anyway but the cups and plates rattling and chinking, we heard a crashing sound but on investigation it was only the shower screen that we hadn’t clipped back into place, finding a lovely harbour Aire at Crossmolina with 4 motorhome spaces at the top car park, it was deserted so we drove down to the pier a peaceful resting spot and we’ve got breakfast on, bacon butties and then a nap for me and photo sorting for Dave, he needs less sleep than me, all those years of being called out to work in the night with the newspaper industry, later on we were treated to yet another rainbow, so many different weather conditions in one day!


Crossmolina harbour


Ben Nephin from Crossmolina



Pogo and his mates

We relaxed for a few hours then made our way further south to Blacksod, Co Mayo, taking in a great road trip on the N59 which travels along the Wild Atlantic Way, we arrived at the square lighthouse at Blacksod pier, we are still tired after our sleepless night at Downpatrick Head, no exploring tonight, so after a tea of poached eggs and toasted sourdough we hit the sack!


Other info:

Miles walked – 1.5

GPS Downpatrick Head, free parking, N54.31868,W009.34564

GPS Crossmolina, N54.09347,W009.29855

GPS Blacksod, free parking, N54.09904,W010.06191

Spanish Shipwrecks and Rainbows

Cathy posting:

Along the West coast of Ireland in 1588 many Spanish Naval ships were wrecked, the Armada was the largest naval invasion fleet ever known at this time, 130 ships and 29,450 men, Philip II of Spain decided to try and overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and restore England to Catholicism. Whilst in the English channel trying to escort a Spanish army from Flanders the Armada sailed in a tight crescent shape to ensure protection from attackers, Fires ships sent at night thwarted their plans and caused panic, the winds changed and the order was given to head North and along the northeast coast of Scotland and down the west coast of Ireland, here from Antrim to Kerry during violent storms many ships became detached from the fleet and floundered, 27 ships and up to 9,000 troops or sailors. Continue reading

Big tasty Baps and Big Waves-Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

Cathy posting:

We awoke to drizzle at our parking spot behind the Singing Pub so there is one thing for it, we go with the s recommendation of the barman and head to McNutts in Downings for a proper Irish breakfast, 2 large breakfast baps containing a whole breakfast with white pudding and coffees overlooking the harbour soon sorted us out!


Downings Co Donegal

We are heading down to Donegal town but on the way we stopped for a few hours in Letterkenny to meet Sheila whom we first met in Potsdam on our previous European Tour 2018, caught up on her travels as she spends her time between Ireland & Spain, after scones, jam and tea we said goodbye with plans to meet in Spain one day and set off for our evening drive,

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Bumbling along the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

Dave posting:

Leaving the Giants Causeway in the afternoon we drive towards Fahan near Buncrana, Co Donegal, on the west side of Londonderry, the city of Londonderry, Northern Ireland is situated right on the border of the two countries and passing through from one country to the other was barely noticeable, there’s no border control, there’s no clear signs of leaving or entering another country, but we did see an old border stop point tucked away that looked worn, tired and beat up, it was a non-event as it should be for all who live here in Ireland.

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Ballintoy Harbour & on to the Giants Causeway

Cathy posting;

We heard it before we saw it! Crashing waves, peeling our eyelids open we peaked out the window and wow! What a spectacle, throwing our clothes on we made our way outside to see close up the sea tumbling, swirling and crashing over the black basalt rocks leaving trails of little white foaming waterfalls before the next powerful surge, our eyes taking in this scene that Mother nature was treating us to, I cannot tell you how much we loved this little spot. Continue reading

Causeway Coastal Road

Cathy posting;

Leaving Glenarm Marina after a free night close to the water (water tap here) we followed along the Antrim coast and it’s Glens which are designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty to the small village of Cushendun, Co Antrim, we are amazed by the beauty of Northern Irelands coast, this island is quite literally living up to its name as the Emerald green land contrasts with the blue grey coastal waters and rocky outcrops. We parked up in a National Trust Car Park, which is free, erm that wouldn’t happen back at home for us we’d have our pockets at least £3-4 lighter, we decide to try out our new wellies bought especially for this trip, we’re not expecting any rain though! well maybe a little, walking along the deserted beach outside the small village the sun warming our backs and the views warming our hearts, stopping to sit on the rocks and realising once again how much we love this travelling life.

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The Emerald Isle beckons- Ireland 2018

Dave posting;

Hi to you all,

We have been “home” since 10th August 2018 when we came back from our European Tour we have been very busy visiting family and friends up and down the country from Chesham, Oxford, Doncaster and Liverpool, old friends in Prestatyn and new friends in Manchester whom we met in Croatia, we didn’t manage to see everyone this time so if we missed anyone we’ll see you all on our return.

In this short period of time at home we have been living in Pogo on Caravan and Camping club campsites which were both working farms at Rivington and Jumbles Country Park and staying at our daughters’ house at weekends helping our son-in-law with house improvements ready for their baby which is due in the New Year, after all that we need a rest so off we go, the road is calling!

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The Emerald Isle…..


Well, it’s not long to go now before we catch a ferry and start our next adventure……… we are off to Ireland and we are going to travel along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The new road atlas has arrived!

We are really excited and looking forward to the fun, merriment, the views, the scenery, the history and of course the very friendly locals.

Dave & Cathy