Donegal to Westport

Yesterday our first stop after leaving the little town of Donegal was to call in at Belleek Pottery, just back inside the Northern Ireland border. The building is very nice:

Belleek Pottery building We didn’t get to tour the factory – the were two Trafalga tour groups ahead of us – so we had a look at their little museum and the shop (& couldn’t resist 1 purchase).
Passing through some very picturesque countryside we journeyed through “Yeats Country” (home of the poet WB Yeats), stopping at the Glencar Waterfall – pretty!

Glencar Waterfall

Traveling on to Sligo, the largest town in the Northwest, sitting at the mouth of the River Garavogue, we stopped for lunch. While here I decided to indulge my passion for history and decided a visit to the town’s sole surviving medieval building was in order; Sligo Abbey.

Looking down the nave at Sligo Abbey This was founded in 1253 as a Dominican friary; most of what remains dates from the 15th century, but it was absolutely fabulous, with some excellent carved stonework still evident. The abbey also contains the only surviving carved stone 15th century altar in Ireland. Well worth the visit!

Carved stone altar at Sligo Abbey

Our last stop was the Carrowmore Megolithic Cemetery (the largest Megolithic cemetery in Ireland). Although not as well preserved as Newgrange or Knowth, it was still great to see original dolmens that had not been restored.

Dolmen at Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Today was our first full day of rain here in Ireland so we didn’t do too much. However, I can say that even in wet weather the Irish countryside is still very beautiful!

From Westport, we drove out to Achill Island (Ireland’s largest island). We did the Atlantic Coast Drive, covering more spectacular cliff and oceanic scenery. We have seen a lot of peat cutting/ harvesting on our journeys so far, but on Achill Island, the bogs are plentiful along with the peat cutting.

Bog and peat cuttings on Achill Island

There are also a lot of black faced sheep wandering the fields and the roads! These ones were munching on the wild fuchsias.


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