A Few Surprises

Driving back to Galway, we stopped a couple of times at interesting looking places. The first was called Ross Castle although not the famous one in Killarney, evidently named for nearby Ross Lake. A castle was built here in the 1500’s, also by the O’Flaherty family and later the current manor house was built on its foundation by the Martin Family. After two fires and much neglect it was sold to the McLaughlins who restored it. The main building is open to the public but we were too late to go inside. But we learned from two young men who were on the premises that it is available to rent and has room for 40 people so they had rented it for the weekend for a birthday celebration. Look how gorgeous – and it has tennis, indoor swimming pool, lake with boats and canoes, billiards, hiking trails on 120 acres.

We did get a peak inside one area.

Gorgeous gardens

My favorite flowers

The chapel

The next place was even more of a surprise. Glenlo Abbey which had signs advertising they hold weddings, it’s also a hotel with two restaurants, championship golf, falconry and archery. It has been serving guests since 1740. It was the manor home originally of the Ffrench family, one of the “tribe families” of Galway, same as the last home was the ancestral home of the Martin family.

Reception area where Bill asked if we could get into the restaurant but there was nothing until 8:30 and it was only 5:30.

But look at why I wanted to eat there! Two original cars from the Orient Express!

We did not want to wait three hours and then drive back after dark so we walked a bit and we’re going to our car when a woman called out to us that we were leaving too soon. Margarita, the blond woman in the picture below, told us there was a retirement party being held here for a colleague from the University in Galway and the President of Ireland would be coming in about an hour!

 But still not being sure we would even get to see him, we left to eat at a restaurant she recommended in Galway.


So to end the night we first ate dinner at the Artisan Restaurant above a pub in Galway.

We had a band right outside our window.

And THE BEST seafood chowder

And awesome beef ribs – I may never eat non-Irish beef again, this was that good.

Dessert assortment

The band was quite good, happy to see young people playing traditional music.

And ended our last night in Galway visiting the last pub on the Galway Pubs tshirt and watched Rugby with some local men in the back room.

Looking back at this day’s blog, I know the one thing I regret – wish I had waited to see the Irish president and stayed around until 8:30 to have dinner in the Orient Express train cars.  Well, almost regret – because the dinner we ended up having in Galway was up there with the top three we had in Ireland and this still held true through the whole trip. Ok, not real regret, unless we could have done both…

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