August 2007

Grace O'Malley's Castle
Rockfleet Castle & the Road to Dooagh on Achill Island

Croagh Patrick in the morning, and a driving tour of Achill Island in the afternoon. What a day! Here are some scenes from our drive.

Beep Beep

This is Rockfleet Castle on the shore of Clew Bay. It was the home of Grace O'Malley, the "Pirate Queen" of Ireland during the 1500's. She is a fascinating character, a female who boasted a fleet of pirate ships and an army of men who fought loyally for her for over 40 years. We followed a brief tip from a driving guide I found online and travelled down an out-of-the-way country road to find this castle sitting empty on a farmer's land. The guide said to ask for a key from the gatehouse but we found the castle open and went in.

The castle has recently been renovated with new wood floors and a ladder to the second floor.

Sitting in Grace's bedroom on the fourth floor. How many times did she look out this very window to the Bay below?

The huge fireplace in Grace's bedroom included two ledges on each side.

The front door was standing open...

From inside the castle looking out the front door.

The mysterious doorway from Grace's bedroom leading to nowhere. Watch your step!

The Road to Dooagh
Achill Island

It was on Achill Island that we also had our scariest experience. On our way from Keel to Dooagh, we found ourselves on a narrow (of course) road snaking up the side of a mountain. This was the only road I believe in Ireland that does NOT have a wall on the side of it and the edge, a mere three or four feet from the edge of the road, plunged steeply down into the sea hundreds of feet below. I was hyperventilating too much to take pictures as I looked straight down from my left side passenger seat into the ocean below - trying NOT to think about the fact that Craig had been driving over curbs constantly (took a while to get used to driving on the left side). In the picture above you can see the road coming down the side of the mountain from the top right. This picture does not convey how steep the dropoff was!

Driving back up the road wasn't so scary since we were next to the side of the mountain so I snapped some pictures. Note the narrow patch of grass from the end of the road to the dropoff.

This was Craig's face during this nervewracking drive... LOL.

NEXT >>>

On the Road to Westport
County Clare & County Galway
"The Quiet Man" Village
Cong & Ashford Castle
Croagh Patrick
Climbing the Mountain in County Mayo
Grace O'Malley's Castle
Rockfleet & the Road to Dooagh on Achill Island
Mizen Head
The Southernmost Point of Irelend
Dingle Peninsula
The Celtic Sea, Beehive Huts & Galorus Oratory in County Kerry
Co. Kerry & Co. Clare
Shannon Ferry, an Irish Cemetery, Lahinch & the Cliffs of Moher
Mooghaun Ringfort
Magic in County Clare
Online Resources About Ireland
Cliffs of Moher
Computer Desktop Wallpaper