CIE Tours Travel Blog
CIE Tour or Fairy Tale?
By: Samantha Henderson
Date: June 21, 2017
This morning, we woke up to a terrific and easy breakfast buffet at Hotel Westport and had a chance to enjoy the food and chat for a while before heading out for the day. The first thing we did was go on a walking tour of Westport. Along the way, our friendly and informative guide told us stories and really interesting facts about the town. We had the afternoon and evening to ourselves later on, so he recommended many good places to go for food and good fun.
Humpty Dumpty, Westport House
Then, we headed to Westport House, which was a very quick ride from Hotel Westport. The grounds of Westport House are really, really beautiful. It is like we stepped off the motor coach and into a fairytale. Below the bridge that led to the estate was a flock of old-fashioned swan pedal boats. Sitting on the ledge on that same bridge was humpty dumpty himself. In the distance, we could see the nearby ferris wheel.
After stopping in front of the house for a group photo, which we were all gifted today, we headed inside. We all thought the outside of the mansion was pretty impressive, but then we entered through the doors and into the immaculate foyer. The detail in the home was something that would've taken a whole week to take in completely. Our guide met us in the Foyer and told us of the family and the house's history. She then walked us throughout the estate, telling stories and intriguing us all in the history that took place on the grounds and in the same rooms in which we stood.
Guide, Westport Walking Tours
I think the most interesting part of touring Westport House was when we explored on our own after the tour ended. We had the chance to shake the Angel of Welcome's hand for prosperity and good luck. We were able to walk up beautiful marble stairs to the second level and get a glimpse of how the family lived within the most personal rooms of the house. In one room there was a group of incredibly realistic wax figures of people who might have spent time socializing in the house at one time.
Guide, Westport House
After our fairytale at Westport House came to an end, we took a beautiful drive to Achill Island, stopping frequently for photos of the incredible coast and rugged mountains. I think the favorite part of Achill Island for most people was exploring the deserted village. On the side of a mountain, ruins of buildings that were once homes to families lie scattered about. The surreal experience was really interesting to think about and eerily peaceful to experience. On our way up the mountain, home to many sheep, we came across the friendliest border collie. We took turns sitting with him as he contently looked over the village. When it was time to go, he led us down the mountain, showing us the quickest and sturdiest routes. It is safe to say we were sad to leave Achill afterwards.
Swan boats, Westport House
Once we returned to Westport, we stopped for lunch at a fun little place on the water called Helm Bar. I loved the fish and chips I ordered and probably wouldn't have complained if I had to eat that same meal every day for the next month. Then, with full bellies, we had the option to either be dropped off in town or go back to the hotel for our free afternoon and evening. This day was Summer Solstice, meaning it didn't get dark outside till just after eleven-o'clock at night! Most of the guests soaked up the daylight around Westport and in the traditional Irish pubs.
Gretchen, guest, with Achill Island deserted village dog
Tomorrow, we will be sad to leave Westport, but it is going to be a really fun rest of the week.
Meet ya there!