We’re Off on the Road to Achill Island
We left Clifden Thursday morning with our sights set on tiny Achill Island on Ireland’s west coast. It was slated as a short drive (less than two hours), but we planned to take our time. Our first stop—just twenty minutes or so from the inn—was at Connemara National Park. On any other day, we would have trekked to the top of the park’s famous (and fog-covered) Diamond Hill. But two days before a marathon is not the time to take on an unknown hike (any hike, really). Instead, we poked around the visitor’s center and learned an unexpected amount information about peat moss and the evolution of bogs. We walked a short section of the Bog Road trail but turned around before things got serious.
We continued on and stopped in the small town of Leenane for lunch and a quick picture outside Hamilton’s Bar. I’m not sure if there’s any relation, but it’s possible since my family lineage (on my dad’s side) does trace back through Co. Mayo and nearby Westport, which was the next town we passed through. It was interesting to reflect upon the fact that my great-great-grandparents had lived in the area I was now passing through nearly 100 years later. I carried that thought with me as we continued northwest all the way out to Achill. On the approach to the island, we saw a billboard for the race we’re running this weekend. Our excitement was building, as was our nerves, as we guided our tiny rental car across Achill Sound and toward our next hotel. –J.