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Virginia Jun 8th, 2000 01:15 PM

Knock Shrine, Cong, Aran Islands
We will be Ireland the 2nd week of Sept. and plan on visiting the Knock Shrine in Mayo, any suggestions? We also plan on visiting Cong on the same day and plan on another day in Galway City and another on the larger of the 3 Aran Islands. Any sugguestions would be appreciated as to what to expect, see, where to eat, shops, etc.

kam Jun 8th, 2000 03:18 PM

Virginia, We will be there two weeks before you! It's our 3rd trip so we are returning to favorites and being very selective. Do you know the Ireland Expert web site? You can write a question and Pat Preston, who is a book author and tour guide will answer it within 24 hours. Great resource. In Cong is Ashford Castle, but you must check in to gain entrance. Galway City is a fav of ours.

Cathy Jun 8th, 2000 03:19 PM

Virginia, <BR> <BR>First things first bring a raincoat with you to both Knock and Cong as everytime I visit those two places it rains. <BR> <BR>Knock Shrine has catholic masses and services all day long, I would advise against visiting on a Sunday as it tends to be very crowded. It is very commericalised with lots of restaurants serving poor quality high prices food, however the old church is really worth a visit. <BR> <BR>Cong is a beautiful village, be sure and leave plenty of time to go walking around. There are some very good pubs serving pub food - good fish dishes. <BR> <BR>Knock and Cong are doable in one day if the weather is good. Where are you staying ? Don't plan on visiting Knock, then Cong and then doubling back. <BR> <BR>Galway city is very popular with visitors and is always crowded - it is a popular weekend break city for tourists and Irish people alike so expect crowds at the weekend. A nice hotel to stay in or just have tea or lunch is the Great Southern Eyre Sq. Good shopping throughout the city - but remember that both Galway and Knock have a lot of visitors and prices are set to take this into account. <BR> <BR> <BR>Post if you have any more queries, <BR> <BR>Cathy <BR> <BR> <BR>Hope this helps,

kam Jun 8th, 2000 03:56 PM

Cathy, A question for you since you are in Ireland......what are your thoughts about going to the Aran Islands (was there 30 years ago, husband has never been) and should we also go to Innisboffin? And, how to do it? We will be in Galway 2 days and then Clifden for 3. My ancestors are from the area, but we don't know any relatives. Last time stayed at the Great Southern, Eyre Sq., so really happy to hear you recommend it still. We have booked there again. Thanks.

Virginia Jun 9th, 2000 04:45 AM

Cathy - Thank you for your response, it is very helpful - we were thinking of Knock on Sunday, but sounds like a weekday will be better. We have rented a cottage for a week in Rossaveal. My 90 yr. old mother will be with us - she's in excellent health and gets around better than most. Would like to show her the "sun going down on Gallway Bay" any suggestions? That was a favorite song of her and my Dad.

Cathy Jun 9th, 2000 09:30 AM

OK Kam first re the Aran Islands there are lots of day trips etc from Galway out to the Aran Islands - I would play it by ear and head out if the weather is good otherwise it is miserable on the Islands with rain etc. <BR> <BR>I won't bother staying overnight - ceilis etc can be had on the mainland. However the Islands are very popular with a young backpacking set and tend to be very busy in the summer months. <BR> <BR>It is aboyt 3 years + since I stayed at the Great Southern (on an expense account !) but it is one of my favourite hotels as is its sister hotel the Corrib on the Dublin road out of Galway. Talk to the Great Southern Hotel about the trips out to the Aran Islands - they had some very good recommendations for tour operators. <BR> <BR>Re the ancestors - find out roughly where they are from, write to the parish priest and arrange to call and see if there is anything in the records. Everyone has relatives in Ireland. <BR> <BR>Virginia, <BR>Knock on Sunday is possible but with lots of crowds - best avoided if your mother is coming along. RE the sun going down on Galway Bay - it is not where you should go to see it go down but where you should to go to see it. Weather is cold, wet and autumn like here at the moment and not much sighting of sune at present. The Corrib Great Southern has a nice restuarant to view the Bay, otherwise Morans of the Weir (Pub) serves excellent food, good for dinner. Galway Bay Golf Club is also worht a visit just for a drink and a view of the Bay. Best thing to do is to drive along the coast, stopping here and there - there are some gems of views, <BR> <BR>Hope this helps both of you, <BR> <BR>Post if you have any more questions, happy to answer <BR> <BR>Cathy <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

Mat Jun 9th, 2000 10:04 AM

Hi Virgina, <BR> <BR>Having just been there in the fall I have a few pointers. <BR> <BR>First, if you are going to Cong, I would suggest Watching, actually you MUST watch the film "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara and directed by John Ford. It is a classic and is shot all in the city - it is fun to "recognize" places when there. <BR> <BR>AS for Ashford Castle, I won't give you particulars in email, but there is a pathway that leads you to the castle from the back - no guards, etc. I would ask any local there and they should tell you the way. I've walked freely on the grounds twice this way - just do not look touristy. <BR> <BR>Galway city is rather nice, and if you are headed a bit south, I think about 1-2 hours, you can visit the Cliffs of Moher. I strongly recommend the town of Doolin for a stop over - cheap and the BEST folk music. Ferries leaving from Doolin to the islands can be VERY choppy, and Rossaveal has a new high speed boat that I hear is VERY nice, smooth and fast - something important to remember because sea sickness is VERY possible. <BR> <BR>On Inish Mor (I think that's the big one) be sure to taxi or walk out to Dun Aengus a very old fort, and there you can experience the likes of the Cliffs of Moher - without the tourists. It is so pristine in fact, that that is where I chose to get engaged! If you overnight, there is a very pleasant Georgian B&B at the foot of the trail to the fort. <BR> <BR>Hope it helps!

bwells Jun 12th, 2000 12:04 PM

I just returned from Ireland. We didn't make it to Knock and Cong, but we were close by. I think that Westport is near to Knock. We only drove through it, but it seemed like a lovely place. From Westport you can drive to Connemara, passing Croagh Patrick. We stayed in Connemara on the Renvyle pennisula and it was unbelievable. Our B&B was called Sea Breeze. The owner has her own website and the pictures there will give you a feeling for the place. Inside it's very modern and comfortable. We stopped for dinner in Clifden and recommend the Derry Clare restaurant. In Galway City we walked around the city center a little, but didn't not stay over there. It was very lively.

richard a Jul 16th, 2000 10:23 AM

a firtst time visitor to ireland (and a short @ that) <BR>would three days be enough to take in dublin gallway area and killarney, back to dublin? <BR>if so what is train or car best? <BR>what are aprox driving times for each leg of the journey? <BR>thanks <BR>rich

Cathy Jul 16th, 2000 11:04 AM

Richard, <BR>Three days is def. not enough to see Dublin, travel to and see Galway, travel to and see Killarney. A trip from Dublin to Galway takes about 4 hours or more - it took me 5+ last week due to road works etc. Killarney ditto from either city - remember the distances are short on the map but roads are not highways and there is a lot of traffic on the roads at the moment. <BR> <BR>I would advise staying in Dublin and taking one day trip out of the city ie to the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, in fact you could also take a 1/2 day trip out of the city to Newgrange passage graves as well. Check out the national transport company cie at for their tour guide schedule. There is no need to rent a car for this short stay but book your accommodation now as it is high season with little or no availability on your choice. There is an unofficial train strike on at the moment and that would hinder your travel between cities by train - the train network is not as goos as on mainland Europe. Hope this helps, <BR> <BR>Have a good time, <BR> <BR>Cathy

kam Jul 16th, 2000 02:55 PM

Cathy, my name was O'Flaherty and it was my understanding that they are from Co.Galway, but who knows where. Sadly our family never kept track of ancestory the way my Italian husband's did. I've seen the name all over the West, but there are no relatives who can give me anymore info at this point. I guess we will just enjoy Ballynahinch Castle and would appreciate anything else you might know about them. Very big and very old tribe as I've read with lots of infighting etc.

Kit Jul 25th, 2000 12:55 PM

I will be in Mayo and Galway County's in Sept. as well. Does anyone know what the temperature will be like? Thanks!

RT Jul 28th, 2000 06:22 PM

Just back from almost two weeks of touring with my 4 sisters! First, always figure at BEST 30 mph as your average speed, less if you like to stop and take pictures. We drove all over. For one week we had a base on the west coast of Clare and traveled out from there every day. <BR> I found Knock very seedy and depressing - if you go in for shrines and can tolerate the tacky souvenirs stores that sprout in their wake - then go. But be warned. <BR> After a week on the quiet backroads of rural Ireland, it was jarring to be in a busy city such as Galway. We ate (well) but headed for byways rather quickly. <BR> Note that the ferry to the Aran's from Galway is a longer ride than the one from Doolin. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate so we did not make the trip time!! <BR> In my view, the sweaters got cheaper the further north we went. Same sweaters, same makers, cheaper in Sligo & Donegal than in Doolin, or anywhere in Clare. <BR> There were wonderful silversmiths for celtic-inspired original jewelry in Doolin. And a final tip - remember the VAT tax adds up quickly. So when buying several sweaters at once, try to do so from a place that has a cash-back or other refund policy. I bought a number of things from local vendors (cheaper, more fun) but the tax bite is significant (12-22%). <BR> Have fun! Watch out for the sheep in the road! <BR>RT

John Jul 29th, 2000 03:38 AM

Hi RT: <BR> <BR>Welcome back! I would be interested in places that you stayed in the West! We are going over in late September <BR> <BR>JOHN

Jane Jul 31st, 2000 01:31 PM

Knock is one of the tackiest places on the planet. Avoid it. <BR> <BR>Cong is a lovely little village--but not worth much more than a few hours. <BR> <BR>Galway City is a fun place, and definitely worth a visit. <BR> <BR>One of the finest inns/hotels I've ever had the pleasure to stay at is the Cashel House in Cashel in County Galway. It's not cheap, but not outrageous. It's a small inn with a tennis court, rowboats and horses for the guests, beautiful grounds, and what I consider to be one of the finest restaurants in Ireland. My husband and I are auditors in the hotel industry, so we've stayed at many of the finest places in the world, and Cashel House is right up at the top--possibly at the top because of the price. We paid about $550 for two nights, and that included a 5-course gourmet meal one night, and breakfast for two mornings. The dinner alone was probably worth $200.

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