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This was a beautiful drive through rolling country with hills and ocean views.  The Folk Village shows the creative genius of Fr.James McDyer who helped to invigorate a depressed community on the west coast of Donegal.

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Fr.James McDyer himself

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Map of the counties, featuring the most prolific rock

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Killybegs

It was nice to moor alongside a quay in a deep water birth, so we didn’t have to zodiac ashore!  We got a taxi into town, climbed the hill to St.Catherine’s Church and admired the recently renovated interior. After a hot chocolate we went to the museum in the old carpet factory.  The quay is full of wings for a wind farm.

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Clare Island

After an exciting ride in a zodiak we reached Clare Island and were greeted by a piper, Paul.  We were told the story of Grace O’Malley who talked to Queen Elizabeth in Latin!  It was her castle on the hill. The parish priest, Fr.John and David had much to discuss. Then we walked to the Sailors Pub, where we were fed and watered and entertained by a fiddlers band, folk singers and dancers.  Sharon O’Grady made a big fuss of us and escorted us to her wayside stall.  We rode back by zodiak to a watery sunset.  It was a lovely afternoon and evening.

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The harbour at Kilronan

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Decimated thatched cottage

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Early purple orchid

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Limestone pavement

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Fossils in the limestone

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Dun Aong Hasa fort

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Inside fort on cliff top

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Cliffs from the fort

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Habitable thatched cottage

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Traditional crab & lobster boat

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Chancel of St.Ronan’s church

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Local transport and crafts

We moored in Galway Bay and were zodiaked to buses which took us across Galway and then on a wonderful day tour of Connemara.  After lunch we visited the exquisite Kylemore Abbey and learnt its history from the days of the Henry family until the Benedictine nuns whose community occupies it today.

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We were roused early in the morning to see the famous cliffs of Moher.  Unfortunately there was too much mist to see them properly so I returned to bed in my dressing gown!  Alas this is only a picture of a picture.

The pictures which follow are of the glorious Kylemore Abbey which blew my breath away, it was so stunning.

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Here are shots taken on the drive through picturesque Connemara.  It was lovely in the morning but even better when enhanced by the sun in the afternoon.

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Peat cutting which is illegal in the EU, so they pay a fine to continue this traditional activity.

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The Skelligs

These two amazing rocky islands rear out of the Atlantic just off the Irish coast.  Extraordinarily Skellig Michael was the home of a group of monks who made their monastery and hermitage at its summit for 700 years.  It was an adventure just to view the site from our fragile rubber boats.

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Guillemots

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More guillemots

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Harbour Seal pup

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Skellig Michael

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To the lighthouse

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Little Skellig & Silver Cloud

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Cave & Zodiak

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Kittiwakes

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Welcome back!

Overnight we reached Ireland, County Kerry and moored on Valentia Island.  From there by zodiak to Knightstown and by coach to Kells Bay Gardens.  The owner was away building his fern garden at Chelsea Flower Show.

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Portmagee, Star Wars Village

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