Since our last post, we’ve continued our journey down the west coast of Ireland.
We spent a wet couple of days in Galway. We weren’t too sad about the weather, as I was stuck inside working on a magazine most of the time. A great spot to do this from was The Kitchen cafe at the Galway museum – incredible food, friendly people and free wifi. But it was good to get the magazine finally finished! We stayed at a campsite in Salthill, which had about the worst price to comfort factor ever! A high pitch fee, with any type of hot water metered left us feeling profoundly unwelcome. A rare exception, thankfully. At Salthill we met Kristy and Jared from the US, who are cycling through Ireland on a ‘gap year’ of their own. It was great to swap tales from the road, and offer them some shelter from the cold and rain.
From Galway we went on to Doolin, near the cliffs of Moher. Very dramatic views out to sea, but rather full of tourists, and with a very flashy visitors’ centre built into the hillside.
After Doolin we headed into Kerry, towards Dingle. We had a brilliant stay at the amazing Inch Peninsula – a 3 mile spit of sand which sticks out into Dingle Bay. We managed to camp for free in a car park (good karma after pricey Salthill). I had a great run on the beach beside the sea on flat sand, with the mountains in the distance.
Then we had a fantastic night at Greene’s Cafe Bistro. A delicious dinner of local fish and chips (perhaps the best I’ve eaten – and I’ve eaten a few!) followed by a few pints in the sunset. Then some live music, including a very appropriate cover of ‘King of the Bongo’. Most of the other people there were local, which made for a very friendly atmosphere.
After a late night we set off about lunchtime the next day to climb Brandon Mountain, a 952m/3500ft peak right by the sea. It was quite misty on the top, but we caught glimpses of a stupendous view out into the Atlantic, including the Skelligs. Our route back down the hill included a long tramp on the road in the hot sun – one of the hottest days I’ve experienced in Ireland, I think. So we were quite tired when we got back to the van.
Last night we drove over towards Valentia, and we’re now staying at Mannix Point camping. The contrast with Salthill couldn’t be greater – here the staff are welcoming and friendly, and everything is reasonably priced. Unsurprisingly, this site is famously rated in lots of guidebooks, and we would recommend it to anyone.
We’ll be here for a couple of days, and we’ll be making a boat trip to the famous Skelligs on Wednesday. Then at the weekend we head back to England.