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The journey to Belfast and to Westport

Home -> Europe -> Ireland -> Travelogue Ireland -> 14 & 15 December 2002

Saturday 14 December, the journey to Belfast and to Westport

A snack at SchipholAfter a period of frost it has started to thaw today and we are being warned about slipperiness on the road, but we are lucky. Again, as so many times when we are going on holiday. This time we are on our way to the green island, Ireland.
I don't understand why Teije always has to take pictures of me while I am eating. Because we are in luck again with the weather and the condition of the roads, we are one hour early on Schiphol, the international airport of Amsterdam, and nothing tastes better now than a cup of coffee with a croissant.
I find flying still very exciting, well, just the lift off and touch down, but it won't keep me from getting into a plane. It is so easy and saves a lot of time to arrive somewhere far away (well, except the long journey to the airport, 2.5 hours for us, and the waiting on the airport itself, which often costs more time than the flying time itself).
Darkness has covered Belfast already and we don't enjoy our trip of 120 km., driving on the left side of the road. Most roads are narrow and not too well-kept. At some point we are almost driven off the road by someone who takes over and we hit a high pavement: a part of a wheeltrim is damaged, but nothing serious. The rented car is a Punto and very comfortably.
Lennard Arms Hotel, ClonesWe don't notice anything of a border between Northern-Ireland and Ireland and around 9 in the evening we arrive at Clones, the only place where we have made a reservation for a hotel on this trip. This way we have the freedom to choose our own itinerary and December is a quiet month, so we think we won't have any problems finding places to spend the nights.

Sunday 15 December 2002, to Westport on the west coast

At breakfast we make a small mistake by forgetting to say that we don't want to have a 'fulll breakfast' and so we are presented with 2 big dishes with sausages, bacon, beans, eggs and some more fat foods. It is a bit too heavy for us, this early in the morning and from tomorrow on we will ask for scrambled eggs on toast for me and fried eggs for Elisabeth (as you have probably noticed already, we tell our story in turns).
Brackley LoughOur plans will take us to the west coast, today, but we enjoy driving through the interior of Ireland with al it's many lakes; loughs are they called here. It is cloudy, but dry and sometimes we have beautiful skies like this one at Brackley Lough.
The west coast of Ireland Autumn?As usually, we often take small roads to see more of the country, more than you would see of it by taking the main roads. The quality of the roads is bad, very bad, although there are a lot of roadworks, sponsored by the EU. Large signs indicate that, as we have seen before, in Italy and Croatia.
Tullydermot FallsWaterfalls keep attracting us. Despite all the impressive waterfalls we have seen in Norway, last summer, we must have a look when we see a sign near the road with 'waterfall' on it. These are the Tullydermot Falls.
A lonely houseSoon we get the impression Ireland has a lot in common with Scotland, but it is less rough. Another difference is that there are much more buildings, especially dwelling houses. According to our travel guides, Ireland didn't have any villages or towns until the arrival of the Vikings, and still we see a lot of lonely houses, not always inhabited.
Carrick-on-ShannonIn Carrick-on-Shannon we take a break and a cup of hot soup will be our common lunch for the next days. When we continue our journey, we cross the village Boyle three times because the signposting is terribly bad. Road numbers are not being shown anymore or just seem to change. When I stand outside at a crossroad with a map in my hands, an Irishman stops his car, within a minute, to help me back on our route. The Irish are really very friendly!
The monastery of BoyleThe monastery of Boyle is a ruin of which there are many in Ireland. Houses which are left by their inhabitants are often not demolished, but just stand there and are left until they become ruins. Sometimes they build a new house just next to the old ruin.
Irish houseThe inhabited houses are very well kept and often very colourful. On the way to Westport we also see our first Irish palmtrees. It is a pity for Elisabeth it is not the right season to collect seeds of palmtrees. But it does show how mild the climate must be here, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream which enters Europe here in Ireland.
Driving through the woods, we see all the time how green Ireland is. Not many signs of autumn colours, and the green of the trees is really green, as we have it only in spring and summertimes. It gives us the feeling it isn't winter at all.
Westport WestportAt 4 o'clock it is getting dark already and since we wouldn't see anything of the country in the dark, we decide to look for a hotel in Westport. Westport is a colourful and historic city and, like all of the villages and cities in Ireland, totally prepared for christmas.
Westport InnThere are many hotels, but they don't show prices on the outside. So we first go to a pub, have a drink and ask the staff for a reasonable priced hotel. That turns out to be a good idea, because we get a very comfortable and also cheap hotel, the Westport Inn. We decide to use this trick more often.
As you can see, Ellisabeth is very happy with a bed, after this first long day. You ask yourself, why not a Bed & Breakfast? Well, we have found out that in most of the B&B's one is not allowed to smoke and since we both have this foolish addiction, we often have to look for a hotel.
Westport InnWe are not often together in one picture, but when we succeed in getting one (like here before a mirror), that is a nice memory for us. As you can see, we are enjoying this holiday as always.


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