Follow the intrigue of Western Ireland as Richard Bangs explores the “Episodes of the Moment” in Connacht – once the edge of the known world, now an enticing glimpse of Celtic legend. From Guinness stout to the extinct brown bear, castles and pirate queens, the hoodwinked falconer to the hard-headed hag of Moher, this is Richard’s video guide to Western Ireland.
Start with this Best of Western Ireland video to get a feel for the place.
WHAT TO DRINK
A fine stout (Guiness perhaps)… learn how to properly pour it.
Bootleg Moonshine from this guy…
The home of the Irish Coffee is here.
Catch some music at Matt Malloys Bar, Bridge Street, Westport. www.mattmolloy.com
Have a pint at the Roadside Tavern Pub, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare www.roadsidetavern.ie
WHERE TO STAY
Dromoland Castle, Newmarket on Fergus
Cullinan’s Guesthouse, Doolin
Connemara Coast Hotel, Furbo
Tigh Fitz Guesthouse (Aran Islands)
Lough Inagh Lodge, Recess
Carlton Atlantic Coast Hotel, Westport
G Hotel, Wellpark, Galway City
Bunratty Manor Hotel, Bunratty
WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT
Afternoon tea in Dromoland Castle
O’Connors Pub, Doolin – www.gusoconnorsdoolin.com
Joe Watty’s Kilronan, Inishmore, www.joewattys.com
Lough Inagh Lodge, Recess. www.loughinaghlodgehotel.ie
Ardbia at Nimmos Restaurant, Spanish Arch, Galway www.ardbia.com
Bunratty Manor Hotel, Bunratty . www.bunrattymajor.ie
Eat some of the best smoked salmon on the planet at the Burren Smokehouse, Lisdoonvarna www.burrensmokehouse.ie
WHAT TO DO
The Cliffs of Moher; Harry Potter was filmed here… what more do you want to know?
Over the hill from the Cliffs is the Lahinch Golf Club, Lahinch, Co www.lahinchgolf.com
Hiking in Connemara in the Maamturks; a light hike (check the video) or go big with a climb of Croagh Patrick in Murrisk.
Visit the “rainforest” of Ireland, but don’t get bogged down in Cnoc Suain.
Go underground at Aillwee Caves.
Feel the legend of Dan Ohara at the Connemara Heritage and History Center.
Hop a ferry, grab a bike, and check out the pre-historic fortrees of Don Aonghasa in the Aran Islands.
While your at the Aran Islands, check out these sweaters. Yes. Sweaters. Really. I’m serious.
Go on a hawk walk with Dave Atkinson, the on-grounds falconer at Dromoland Castle. The peregrine falcoln has eyesight six times better than ours, and is the fastest living thing in the world, flying up to 240 miles an hour.
After Dromoland, Visit Foynes Flying Boat Museum, www.flyingboatmuseum.com
Castles and more castles, but one of the best has to be this place. Kylemore Abbey www.kylemoreabbey.com/
Get yourself to Westport. Tell the Pirate Queen we say hello at Westport House, Wesport www.westporthouse.ie
Visit Ballintubber Abbey, Claremorris, www.ballintubberabbey.ie
Read all the episodes on Huffington Post: The Savage Craic.