We continued on to our castle adventure.
When we finally arrived at Ashford Castle we were amazed at the beautiful setting the approach is a long drive through a forest, you cross a bridge and there it is, the castle. The service is definitely 5 star. The entire staff was there to make us comfortable and make sure our experience was beyond our expectations. And it was beyond our expectations. We walked the grounds, in the rain. We saw a tour boat and decided to tour Lough Corrib. It's 43 miles long and full of islands. We arrived at the boat just before it was due to launch to find we were the only people interested in a tour. We hung around talking to Captain Patrick and a couple from Zurich arrived. Well Captain Patrick liked our spirit and took us out even though he would have liked more passengers. The water was delightfully misty and mysterious. We did get a wonderful view of the castle from the water too. The water was rough so we did not stay out long. Everyone enjoyed the stories of the lake and the castle, the spirits served by Jack and the accordion music supplied by Martin.We had dinner in the bar and then enjoyed piano and singing in the drawing room in the evening.
The next day dawned fairly clear so we wandered the grounds after breakfast. We saw people taking falcon lessons while we wandered up and down the garden paths. Strangely though we did not see any small animals at all.
Eventually we had to check out and get on the road to our next adventure. We stopped by in the village next to the castle, Cong. It's half in Co. Mayo and half in Co. Galway. The river that flows into the lake rises in Cong. Next stop Galway City.
Ok so we drove about two hours in the pouring rain to get to Ashford Castle. The roads were narrow and lined with stone walls. Quite a harrowing ride. We gasped at all the cars coming towards us at top speed. I kept thinking they were in our lane. We stopped in a little village for a break and to have a pint of Guinness. We tucked into a little place that was so quaint and old world. The little old lady behind the bar was about 70 and so sweet. She started to pull the first pint and Jim stopped her to ask if she took credit cards or US dollars. She said "oh no dear, we do not." When we said we had not changed money yet she said, "Just have one now and bring the money back later." Now, who in the US would say that? We of course did not take her up on the offer. We got directions to a market, purchased some supplies and stopped at a place that took credit cards for a quick lunch.