Achilles Keel

We left Galway with lovely memories, full tummies and clean pants, all thanks to the Kerrs!

Westport was next on our list of places to visit but when we arrived we found tourists wandering in the road, huge speed bumps, crazy traffic and a complex one-way system. We decided not to stop and just head straight for Achill, Ireland’s largest island.

When we caught our first glimpse of Keel Bay Camping I almost made us turn back - it looked like a refugee camp! However first appearances were deceptive and we found a lovely pitch in the dunes and set up to the sound of waves and happy surfers.

Keel beach was lovely and we had fun body-boarding, beach walking but especially jellyfish finding. Dot brought home ‘Hermione Rosetta Sil Cantlay’, the non-stinging jellyfish, to keep as a pet.

On our second morning there we were awoken by a lost sheep who decided our caravan was the best place to call for help. It hung around all day and evening, until one of our neighbours, who turned out to be a sheep wrestler, tackled it to the ground and put it over the fence, where it then continued to baa! Turned out to be the wrong field.

We visited Keem Bay via a very scary, sheer cliff road and then headed to check out the famous ‘deserted village’, which turned out to be not much more than a few piles of rocks, from cottages deserted during the famine.

Later that day I overheard a woman in the showers talking about eColi and it emerged that the beach had failed a water quality check and was supposed to be closed! That was our cue to leave and head to Sligo.

Camping there proved impossible because the biggest annual Irish festival was taking place that very weekend! We pushed on Northwards and arrived at Rossbeg in Donegal. Suddenly it felt like home. The landscape changed. The beaches became more golden, the hills greener, the Guinness tastier and the campsites more impressive.

The road to Tramore caravan site was terrifying - single track with very few passing places. Al nearly had a heart attack when faced with an articulated lorry to squeeze past. It was well worth it though - we had the most stunning pitch looking out over the dramatic sand dunes to the rolling waves. Dot made friends and disappeared to sledge, yes sledge, down the giant sand hills.

Rossbeg, Ardara, Killybegs and Portnoo were all lovely and we were blessed with fantastic weather. The beach was glorious, with lovely pools left by the tide, big enough to swim in, but safer than the sea. Despite the sunshine, there was hardly a soul around to have to share it with. On our last morning we went for a swim in the next bay round and were told that 12 dolphins had been there the morning before! Gutted!

We eventually had to force ourselves to leave otherwise we might never have gone. Definitely somewhere we will return to one day!

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