Ireland day 0819. Tuesday 26 December 2023- Louisburgh Day 4 *

Ireland day 0819. Tuesday 26 December 2023- Louisburgh Day 4
Today’s summary Had breakfast in bed then packed and left our cottage about 12:00.   Drove over to Louisburgh for a quick look round then back to Westport where we found a café for refreshments in this smart town.   Finally, on to Cong to look at the ruined abbey and impressive river, then drove back uneventfully to Malahide.   Back about 7:30pm
Today’s weather Clear sunny and calm early on, clouded over later with some wind and rain in the evening.   Light westerly wind.   Appx 7c
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The blue line shows where we walked)
(No GPX today)

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

After yesterday’s accomplishments, it was inevitable that today would be a bit of an anticlimax.   But actually, we really enjoyed it, even though it was the last day of our mini-holiday.

We had a cup of tea in bed, as is our habit these days, and then got up and packed all our stuff back into the Yaris.   It’s incredible just how many bags and boxes we brought, even though we were only away for three nights.   Though in our defence, we did have to bring Christmas dinner with us.

There was no specific check out time from our cottage this morning, so we didn’t leave until about 12.   But we didn’t have any deadlines so we weren’t in a rush.   Before we returned to the east coast, we wanted to have a look at Louisburgh – our closest town of any size.   It turned out to be quite attractive with plenty of cafés (all closed), a river and a curious standing stone down by the bridge, about which I could find no information at all.  It also had a petrol station which was open – something of a relief as we were running low on fuel and I was a bit worried that nowhere would be open, today being St Stephen’s Day.

Next on our whistlestop tour of Co Mayo was Westport – which we had driven through on our way to our cottage (I also visited last year by train and on my bike).   It’s a lively place – a lot like Kenmare in many respects – and most importantly we found a café where I managed to get a coffee and a heavyweight piece of cake.

Finally, before rejoining the motorway network and heading for Malahide, we wanted to have a look at the town of Cong [“Cong” is the Irish for “narrow strip of land between two bodies of water”] – renowned for its ruined abbey and for its starring role in a 1951 Hollywood movie.   It turned out to be an impressive little place, sandwiched between the giant loughs Mask and Corrib, and with a powerful river flowing through it.

The abbey was originally founded in the 7th century but ruined and rebuilt several times in its history.   The current remains relate to the rebuild in the late 13th century so are a mere 750 years old.   It’s an impressive yet serene spot on the banks of a powerfully flowing river, and a bridge over from the abbey to the far bank leads to some woodlands with a network of paths running off through them.   Lots to explore though sadly we didn’t have time today.   Perhaps we will come back one day.

By this stage evening was beginning to fall so we got back into the car and drove, to the accompaniment of a couple of podcasts, back to Malahide.   the journey was uneventful and we were back by 7:30pm.   A fitting conclusion to a totally excellent few days away.   All in all a very enjoyable and memorable Christmas.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

In Louisbugh which, like many Irish towns, is centred on a crossroads with shop-lined streets leading off in four directions Literary bench outside a book shop in Louisburgh.   Novel (forgive the pun) and charming, I thought
Colourful streetscape in Westport The Octagon in Westport town centre – complete with stainless steel “Chopper” bike, a Nativity crib, and St Patrick on a pillar.   An eclectic mix
Cong was the village where the Hollywood movie “The Quiet Man” was filmed in 1951.   The bronze statue depicts the two main characters, played by Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne Val spanning two counties!   In Cong village centre
Monks’ fishing house, located in the middle of the River Cong.   Curiously this large and powerful river is exceptionally short – it rises from underground fissures draining Lough Mask just to the north of Cong, and flows only 2 km before draining into Lough Corrib to the south.   The monks used to sit in the hut catching fish through a trapdoor in the floor, which stands over a side channel of the river.   Must have been quite a nice assignment on a summer afternoon
Interactive map

(No map today)

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