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We stayed near the small village of Cong, on the shores of Lough Corrib, at Ashford Castle. Not only were all 3 of these things (the village, the lake, the castle) drop-dead gorgeous, but we found plenty to do and tremendously enjoyed our stay. The entrance to the castle grounds (which were extremely large grounds, by the way) was meandering and unfolded in a way you'd expect to happen only on film. The castle was originally built in 1228 and eventually was purchased by the Guinness family in 1859 (they extended the estate to 26,000 acres, and added two Victorian wings to the castle) and stayed in the family until it was sold and re-purposed as a hotel in 1939.
|Ashford Castle...view from the back by the lake|
|Inside the lobby.|
|I want a little tunnel pathway!!|
|Now that's a driveway.|
|A view of Lough Corrib.|
|Rosy cheeks and bagpipes!|
The School of Falconry was one of the best experiences ever. We learned so much about the birds and falconry in general. We even got to meet Dingle the Owl...quite awesome when you're a foot away from him! The birds we flew are Harris Hawks, which work well for hunting with multiple people because they naturally work as a team.
Wow, this is a long post. Sorry about that! There's just so much to talk about in this area and I couldn't conceive of how to split it up. What follows are some pictures of Connemara, which we saw on our drive from the castle to Clifden (where we got a flat tire that was--amazingly--replaced in only a couple of hours). Connemara is beautiful. All the pictures I see of it look a little like Nevada, which is funny because it didn't look like that when seeing it through my eyeballs. :)
|Remnants of potato farming still exist on the mountains.|
Love this area...lot's of good memories, would love to go back and explore more!