West of Ireland Tour

We departed Londonderry later than planned and eventually commenced the day’s tour about midday, after some refreshment and internet access at Starbucks.

Firstly, we drove down to Lettterkenny, our first major town in the Irish Republic. Here the plan was to change Dollars to Euros, a task which proved easier said than done. Incredibly, none of the banks would assist and eventually we concluded an exchange at an independent foreign exchange bureaux. This was very inconvenient and time wasting. For future reference, visitors from USA to RoI should be aware of the potential difficulties in changing foreign currency notes and are recommended to bring Dollar bills of less than 100 Dollar denominations.

Aside from the currency problems, Letterkenny proved an interesting and colourful small town resplendent with a number of traditional pubs as per images below:

Central Bar, Letterkenny

The Cottage Bar, Letterkenny

After a light lunch at Letterkenny, we drove down to Donegal where we stopped to admire the ancient Abbey which is in a ruinous state but benefits from a pleasant aspect on the shore of Donegal Bay where the River Esk enters the sea. The Abbey was built in 1474 but only a few Gothic windows and cloister arches remain. It was here that in the 1630s four Franciscan monks wrote the Annals of the Four Masters tracing the history of the Gaelic people.

 Donegal Abbey

Next we continued south to Sligo passing the imposing Dartry Mountains which we stopped to photograph at the small town of Grange.

 Dartry Mountains

At Sligo, we focused on visiting Sligo Abbey (actually a ruined Dominican Friary) which was founded in 1253 but mainly dates from the 15th century Best features are the carved alter and cloisters. There also many interesting -and very old- stone grave markers dating from as far back as the 16th century. 


Here is a video clip of the ruins.

After Sligo, we continued south, eventually arriving at our evening destination of Westport about 7.45pm after a long day. We availed of dinner in the town before retiring to our lodgings for the night at  Rockville Guest House.


During the day we encountered a heavy, sharp rainstorm but otherwise benefited from dry and sunny weather.

Tomorrow we are off to Limerick.


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