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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The end of a legendary weekend....

The phrase "sleeping in a hostel" is an oxymoron - you can "stay" in a hostel but you won't get much sleep. Our room mates came in at various hours, some shouting and carousing; others creeping in but inadvertently crashing into someone else or something and creating an almighty racket! Gareth came in quietly and kissed me good night before getting up to his bunk - he'd drank the bar out of Jager; I was so proud of him (for the jager not the quiet). Just as I was dropping off to sleep there was some shuffling and some of the girls came in, giggling, rooting in their bags and then heading out again, trying to be quiet in that drunken way that actually makes you noisy like a rustling plastic bag in a cinema. So, not entirely sated with sleep I got out of bed on the Sunday to see grey skies and drizzle; no Slievemore today then. We were too late for breakfast in the allotted time and we decided that we would follow the Atlantic Drive that day for something to do. Unfortunately we were in a clothing bind; Gareth had literally run out of clean clothes, so we had a stop off in the campsite at Keel to put on a wash, try and find somewhere to serve us a late breakfast. We drove all the way over to Gielty's past Dooagh but we had literally just missed breakfast. Soup and sambo's it was then and we headed back to put the clothes in the dryer and get our walk on Atlantic Drive. We had another stop in Achill sound to pick up some booze for the evening and finally we were on our way.

We stopped at Kildavnet Castle, a legendary look-out for the pirate queen, Granuaile. The weather was clearing so we drove round Darby's point with a superb view of Achill Beg and Clare Island. We stopped twice and walked down towards the cliffs - I know Gareth thought I'd be afraid but I felt much more comfortable here - if the sheep were happy then so was I!
We looked at the stunning rock formations, and how calm the sea was and generally just marveled over the beauty of the island. We could see over the Minaun cliffs how the rain was over on that side of the island and we just enjoyed walking around, looking for crabs and sea-urchins in some of the rock-pools. A handful of cars past in the hour or so we spent there and I just loved being out in the wide-open space with the man I loved so much. We headed back to the Valley for a little rest before driving out to April's family cottage. They have a wonderful piece of land, beside the sea, opposite Inishbiggle island. We had the company of Jody and Patrick, who were working in the Valley for the summer, and they just adored the place. April presented us a lovely fresh beetroot and feta salad along with her tasty spag bol and we got down to the business of drinking and chatting. It was a great evening, new-found friends and laughter and we decided on a nightcap at the Valley around midnight. The bar was packed, we ordered in some shots and started the party but once again I had to shy away (at 3am to be fair) as I'd a long drive ahead on the Monday. Packing and leaving Achill next day was a speedy affair, Jody and Patrick wanted to go to Castlebar so we'd offered them a lift. We barely thought twice about leaving the island, we'd had a great weekend and I firmly thought we'd be visiting again in the future. At least I know I'll always have it to go back to.

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