The trip was fantastic! We weren't crazy about having to go to specific hotels; we got delayed leaving Belfast so got to Giants Causeway late and then got to Lough Eske Castle really late, so we stayed as long as we could the next morning then got to the Ponderosa B&B about 9:30 p.ml., the owner was a bit miffed and we really didn't care that much for Louisburg.
The Europa hotel was really cool, our room was upgraded to the front view, and we were right next to the Clinton Suite....lots of history.
We loved Lough Eske, it was really NOT a castle, just a heavily redone manor home, but it was still very cool and we wish we could have had more time there.
Louisburg was out of the way and there was a nice beach but all in all we were disappointed, and the driving was so slow due to the narrow roads that it look us longer to drive anywhere than anticipated. The Ponderosa was ok but nothing special. I think you intended for us to visit Connemara but there was no time, when we left Louisburg we drove to the Cliffs of Moher which were great -- it was very foggy and you couldn't see anything so we sat down for lunch and then it lifted! Beautiful!
On the way to Louisburg we did drive through Sligo and right next to the read was a church where Yeats is buried, so we made a quick stop to see his grave, that was a nice highlight.
Gallows View B&B near Bunratty, on the other hand, was great -- we got the upstairs room with a balcony and it was very comfortable, breakfast was great -- that B&B actually won an award recently as the BEST in Ireland!
Bunratty Castle was a bit underwhelming, but overall it and the folk village were interesting, the banquet was hokey but fun -- good food. We did get into the early seating so that worked out well!
So thanks for everything!
Mike and Pam
Mike C. (August 2018)