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Love is in the Irish Air
Savannakhét 7 Romantic Reasons to Bike with us in Connemara
There is a wild and ancient beauty in Ireland and with its array of castles and pubs, and vast stretches of lakes and mountains, there is nowhere quite as romantic. Join us on our Wild Connemara Bike Tour experience the romance for yourself.
Explore Galway City and its hidden gems. It is here in Galway that the American singer-songwriter Steve Earle roams the city streets lamenting his ‘Galway Girl’. Feast your soul at Ard Bia at Nimmos where they serve the most amazing weekend brunch guaranteed to ease you into a lazy weekend. The location is iconic with views out over the Corrib, dotted with swans.
Just across the river is the Claddagh where the original wedding ring, the Claddagh Ring, with two hands clasping a heart, is thought to have originated.
Here in the fishing village of the Claddagh, on Galway Bay, the villagers used this design as a wedding ring for over 400 years and, according to Thomas Dillon jewellers on Quay Street – the original makers of the Claddagh ring and the oldest jewellers in Ireland – the ring’s motif can be explained in the phrase: “Let Love and Friendship reign”.
Step into the bright red and yellow shop of Thomas Dillon on William Street, and they’ll tell you the secret to wearing this precious symbol of love: wear the heart pointing inward toward you heart means that heart is taken; wear it out and you’re yet to fall in love. So lovely.
We travel out to the picturesque Connemara where visit Kylemore Abbey with its lovingly restored six-acre Victorian walled garden and tragic love story. For more than a century, Kylemore has been the quintessential romantic nineteenth-century Irish castle overlooking a lake in the West of Ireland.
Its fairy-tale history started appropriately with a honeymoon in 1849, when Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy Manchester cotton merchant, married Margaret Vaughan and visited a Connemara. Captivated by the scenery, and promised to build his wife a Gothic castle there, which he did. Following Margaret’s death in 1874, Mitchell commissioned a lovely neo-Gothic church in the style of a 14th century English Cathedral, which can be reached along a leafy walk to the east of the castle.
We bike the Connemara coastline, arriving at Roundstone village in time for lunch at O’Dowds Seafood Restaurant. Roundstone (translates to ‘Rock of the Seals in gaelic) is one of the most picturesque fishing villages in the West of Ireland. Following the small roads and rocky shoreline, we feast our eyes on the landscape, with its lush sandy beaches, the Connemara ponies, the roads bordered with wild, flame coloured Mont Breesia.
Overnight at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel. Located 180 hectares of beautiful woodlands, gardens, lakes and rivers. It is a perfect romantic retreat. The Ballynahinch Estate is a beautiful setting with the Twelve Bens serving as a dramatic backdrop. The terraced gardens by the river, the walled garden with its labyrinth and 10km of river and lakeside paths, provide the perfect environment for a quiet and reflective walk.
This ‘savage beauty’ as Oscar Wilde once described Connemara, has been tamed and is ready for love!
Happy Valentine’s Day!