In praise of “The Wild Atlantic Way”


“Well that’s that” said Mother.It was the last great depression, 1980’s, and after careful scrutiny she had to admit defeat. The annual pilgrimage to the land of sun, sea and alll-day English breakfasts was not going to happen.

“No problem” said Dad, “leave it to me” and the withering glance Mum cast him would have felled trees in Alaska.

But there we were. my brothers, sister and Horace our Old (and smelly) English Sheepdog all packed up in the Renault heading for somewhere my father called “TheWest” with a wistful look in his eye.

From Newry we headed out on the well beaten pad towards Dublin then about half way to Drogheda we turned left and turned back about 50 years on an expedition across the backwaters of rural Ireland. Two hours in, we stopped off in Strokestown (I kid you not Strokestown) to have sandwiches from the boot and to let Horace stretch his legs.

Frenchpark, Caracastle, Swinford, Castlebar – “are we there yet! but no”. On my Da drove, out over the Atlantic, across the causeway and on to Keel on Achill Island.

This was it, next stop Boston,.As I remember we bailed out of the cottage in the mornings and had pretty much the run of the island all day.

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