One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

Day 6 – County Mayo and County Donegal

Whew…after a real night’s sleep (even though it was a really bad mattress) I feel much better today! 🙂

We had a lazy morning… Hung out in the apartment, walked up to the market to get some coffee and breakfast. Didn’t hit the road until about 11:30. We really didn’t have much planned today as there just isn’t that much to do in this part of the country. This was basically a travel day to get us up to the northern coast and into Northern Ireland. We meandered through some small towns and followed some detours to a couple castles but mostly just drove backroads and saw a couple things along the way.

When we left Galway, we drove through a couple small little towns in the middle of Sunday mass. The streets were lined with cars…unbelievable just how Catholic the whole country is… 



We saw a sign along the road for the town of Ballymote  and a castle…so having nothing major to do…why not 🙂

Turns out this is one of the oldest castles we’ve seen- built around 1300 by the Normans. Normans were from the present day Normandy, France region (named so for the Normans who inhabited the area) Norman is actually a loose translation (and a few hundred years worth of miscommunication) of “Northmen” or “Norsemen” as they were decendants of the Vikings. 

How the Normans ended up in Ireland basically goes back to a woman. (doesn’t it always?)

A king of a region (Mac Murchaida) decided he wanted more land. (Such a tired story, isn’t it? Men…) so he kidnapped the other King’s wife and cows. He was buddy-buddy with the High King of Ireland, so he apparently felt he was invinsable. Then the High King died unexpectedly and the new King didn’t like him, so he banished MacMirchaide.

He fled to Normandy and convinced the French to help him invade Ireland and win back the throne. Thus, Normans in Ireland.    


We drove past this large graveyard… I saw the opportunity for some artsy photos 🙂 



It’s easy to see why the Irish from this area colonized Indiana and Kentucky…it’s like the Indiana of Ireland around this area.  


Drove past Muckree Castle which was closed for a wedding   


Seriously. It was Indiana. There was nothing exciting for a while. Ha Except for lunch, we stopped at a SuperMac’s. It’s basically the knockoff Irish version of a McDonalds. It was just OK. It was no American McDonalds. Lol





We eventually ended up in County Donagel where the rolling hills quickly started becoming mountainous… The views greatly improved! 🙂 Basically afternoon of some great scenery. 




My favorite picture of the day:









This is called the Gleniff Horseshoe…the picture doesn’t do the vastness of this justice…it was so awesome.






We arrived to our rented room for the night early and the family wasn’t home and wasn’t answering their emails or phones… So we decided we could probably fit something we had on the plans for tomorrow in before sunset, so we headed to the opposite side of the little peninsula to the town of Maghera. I had seen online that there was a really remote beach with some caves around there. 

Eos Waterfall outside of Maghera.


   The little sign along the road and small car park is misleading. It’s still a half-mile or more away down a path and eventually over some sand dunes. The wind was freezing and blowing so hard that all of our tracks we made heading to the beach were already gone on our way back. Unfortunately, it was high tide, so we couldn’t co inside the caves…but was still cool to see and to find a beautiful beach that remote. I felt like we were the only people in the world out there! Ha






Tomorrow is another very similar “choose your own adventure” day. We’ll see what kind of random awesomeness we can find 🙂


  1. Bob Hamilton

    Who mows the grass at a castle which has been abandoned for centuries? They all appear to be well-kept. Is that an obtuse question? Is it obtuse to ask an obtuse question?

  2. Lisa Hamilton

    We are so enjoying getting to read about your adventures and seeing the pictures.

    • Bob Hamilton

      What she said!

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