Day 72 27th April 2017
The Sky Loop Road remained a recommended trip that we had, so far, missed. Before leaving Clifden we hoped to hire bikes and leisurely cycle the circuit. On our last day and last opportunity – time was limited – we had pre-booked a boat trip up the Killary Fjord which was about 40 minutes drive from Clifden. Wandering into the Connemara Bike Hire shop we had a discussion which proved very worthwhile. Jonathon had a very helpful suggestion – which was we could do it if we maybe take Electric bikes. Gulp! That was the thing I had been nervous about yet wanting to try.
In addition to all the safety gear we were given instructions and a map with detailed instructions of the road to take, with the scenic points along the way. In my nervous state as we headed out, I locked my bag in the car. At our first road junction I realised the map was in my bag – in the car. The major consequence was we I relied on memory of instructions given and went the wrong way. I navigated from memory and found we took the route that was all uphill. Yet so loving the whole ride we kept going and did an extra piece that was quite beautiful. Then decided to come back along the river.
Being our first time on electric bikes – I was nervous setting out. Chris was excited. Different emotions for the same reason – that the bikes would race off speedily. This proved not to be the case as we pedalled our way with a lovely gently assistance up the hills. I loved the Electric bike – so much easier to control than I expected. I was very pleased I had overcome my nervousness and given it a go.
On return and after a quick lunch at a local Clifden Café and a wee bump to the car in the narrow street we headed out towards the Killary Fjord and our boat tour up the Fjord. The boat tour was fraught for a number of reasons – we were both a little out of sorts about the small car bump in Clifden, and Chris was not sure where his wallet was. The expedition was interesting but not the spectacular Fjords (think New Zealand) we were expecting.
Once back on land we went on around lakes, Connemarra park and farms to Cong. We coined the phrase Terminally Cute Village (or TCV) in Ireland as there were endless numbers of endlessly cute villages of which Cong became Chris’s favourite.
Cong’s fame is built upon, and maintained by the filming of “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in 1952. Cong uses The Quiet Man to excess but fun, and of course a town popular with visiting Americans.
As we walked around the beautifully kept houses, the crisply painted shops there were quotes and signs of the movie everywhere. My favourite was a house that’s board read “So and so died here”. I commented to Chris who on closer inspection discovered it was a character in the movie!
Our bed for the night was not the expected hostel but Mickaleen Manor an immaculate Bed and Breakfast about 1km walk from the centre of town. Our room was spotless, quotes from the Quiet Man were hung throughout. Margaret, our host and a tiny ball of energy, gave us tips on dinner spots and organised us for breakfast in the morning.
On consulting the map we realised we could walk into town rather than take the car which also meant Chris could sample the local ales. We headed for one of Margaret’s recommendations – Pat Cohan’s Bar (John Wayne’s character in the “Quiet Man” movie). Both the town and Pat Cohan’s appeared a mecca for Americans who were following the movie.
It was a fun night at Pat Cohans. Our waiter like so many young people we met – had spent time in Australia. For dinner – I had a delicious slurpy bowl of mussels simply cooked – don’t tell the Kiwis but I thought they were tastier than many I had had previously! Followed by a seafood chowder. I really enjoyed the Chowders as they are seafood and potato based rather than the heavy cream version in other countries.