A little while back I went on a tour of Connemara with Irish Day Tours ... okay so it was like ... a WHILE back. My blogging style hasn't quite been the same for the last few weeks but I am aiming to get it back on track.
This was one of the first tours I really wanted to do because one of the stops it makes was at the top of my Ireland Bucket List ... Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry MP as a gift for his wife, Margaret. They both are buried on the estate and in 1920 The Benedictine community became the owners of the estate (and still are today).
Now I am jumping ahead of myself, the Irish Day Tours starts at a crisp 6:30am and doesn't go straight to Kylemore Abbey. The first stop of the tour is the Glengowla Silver Mines. The silver mines were opened in 1850 and abandoned in 1865 after exhausting its resources and serious flooding. But in the 1990s, the current owner of the property discovered the "tumblers" which led to the rediscovery, restoration of the mine, and reopening to the public in 1998.
After exploring the Silver Mines, you take a very scenic drive through Connemara and stop for a photo-op before making your way to Kylemore Abbey. It's a nice little break to walk by the lakes, take in the view, and maybe even get close a close up shoot of the sheep that are rooming around.
Next is the very anticipated Kylemore Abby! The grounds are massive and there is not enough time to see it all while you are on the tour (insert a sad face here). I would highly recommend looking up the Abbey ahead of time to see what interest you more: the Gardens or the Abbey itself. You will have to buy a ticket to get in, either once you arrive or online, since it is not included in the Irish Day Tour ticket.
This is one place they recommend to get food for lunch, it can be a bit crowded or busy at the cafe since you are usually there right at lunch time. I am not a fan of relaying on cafes or restaurants when I am on day tours - they are usually over prices and not worth the value (since every bus tour goes to all of the same destinations.) I would highly recommend packing a lunch, snacks, water, etc., just so you have options.
On the way to the Killary Boat Cruise is the little drive-by town of Killary and it has some of the cutest shops, cafes, and pubs. Still on the pricey side but this is a great option if you want to sit down (off of the bus, that is) and enjoy a hot meal.
Finally, the last stop of the tour is the Killary Boat Cruise. You can either sit up-top with the wind or enjoy the sights down below from the comfort of the indoor deck where they serve snacks and drinks.
Hopefully this inspires your adventurous side to get out of the city and go see more of the Irish country side.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)