The Best Things To Do In Clifden

Clifden

Clifden is the main town in the Connemara region of County Galway a base for many coming out west to visit this beautiful and wild area.

Popular summer destination with tourist and locals to see the unique landscape. Home to a lot great hikes, views and a huge amount of history.

Known for some great traditional Irish pubs,  traditional music and a region in Ireland where you would still hear the Irish language.

Location

Clifden located in Ireland’s way out west in the Connemara region

Getting There

From Galway City to Clifden: Take the N59 road signposted to Clifden. Distance 80km.

From Dublin to Clifden: When coming from Dublin, take the M4 & M6 routes to Galway City. When you reach Galway City, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

From Shannon Airport to Clifden: When travelling from Limerick and Shannon use the M18 & N18 routes to Galway City. When you reach Galway City, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

From Knock Airport to Clifden: When leaving Knock Airport, take the N5 to Westport. When in Westport, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

Diamond Hill

Don’t be fooled by its nice name its a tough slog to the summit of Diamond Hill. But it well worth the final assault to see the views of the Connemara National Park and Valley.

Looking up at Diamond hill

Never fear though there are 3 other tracks for the less experienced hikers and even a track which is friendly for young children.

Diamond Hill Maps

Be prepared wear comfortable appropriate shoes and check ahead for wind conditions. It gets very windy up Diamond Hill and especially with its location on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kylemore Abbey

One of the jewels in the Connemara region is Kylemore Abbey. One of the most picturesque and striking Manor Houses in Ireland.

The beautiful Kylemore Abbey

See the house, take the walks and  enjoy there extensive walled gardens.

Such a grand building and is known to be one of Irelands most photographic buildings.

Take note as we found out Kylemore Abbey closes January and February, so maybe check ahead if travelling off season.

Sky Road

A beautiful scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way. Catch some glorious views, and view some stunning coastal properties.

Looking over the Sky Road and the views

The route is a  circular route, with a distance of 16km from Clifden, onto the Kingstown peninsula, and back into Clifden.

Sky Road Map

It’s on this scenic drive where you will find the Clifden Castle ruins and Abbeyglen Castle Hotel. (See below)

Clifden Castle Ruins

The Clifden Castle ruins is a old Manor House/Castle built in 1818 nestled in the hills of the Wild Atlantic Way.

What lies of the Clifden Castle

Enjoy the 1km windy walk through the countryside with great ocean views rugged landscape before hitting the castle itself.

The walk down to Clifden Castle

As far as ruins go the Clifden Castle structure is very much in tact. See the towers and what use to and the huge courtyard at the back.

Live Music Lowry’s Bar

Lowry’s bar on the main street of Clifden is known for its great live music scene and has become an award winning pub in that category. Add to this the bars impressive selection of Gin’s and Whiskey’s it makes for a interesting night.

A look at the front of Lowry’s music bar

We settled in on a friday for a night of music and drinks and had ample fun. A little clip below shows the music on offer.

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Live music at Lowry’s

Bog Walk

A bog Walk you may ask ? Well the story behind it is a interesting one.

This particular bog land is where pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crashed-landed in the bog in 1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight.

They landed close to a wireless telegraphy station which had been set up 14 years earlier by Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi. Today this bog location  is home to a memorial dedicated to the pair.

With it 5km walk its an area of beauty and a great look at the rugged Connemara landscape.

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Situated 2 minutes drive from the centre of Clifden is a 4 star rated converted castle and manor house. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel was built in 1832 by John d’Arcy the builder of Clifden Castle and founder of Clifden in 1812.

Walking up to the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Following the death d’Arcy, his son Mitchen sold the property 1854, during the famine the castle laid derelict until 1969 when the castle was bought and the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel was formed.

Helicopter at Abbeyglen Castle

Today the hotel is known to be  top getaway in the region with romantic breaks, weekend getaways with great food and full of history.

Visit The Boutique Shops

The two main streets of Clifden are lined with a variety of boutique shops. From gifts, art galleries, wine,books and local hand made products its a boutique shoppers dream. With no big chain shops in Clifden you really get amongst the Clifden locals in these places.

Where To Stay In Clifden

The Station House Hotel, situated just off the main streets in town. A hotel steeped on history as it used to be the old steam railway station.

Facilities include bar, restaurant, pool, spa, wellness center, cinema and a museum of the old Clifden steam railway which was once the sight of this hotel. (Note this museum is closed January and February)

Signal Restaurant

As well as well catered modern, stylish rooms. Well maintained, clean and comfortable.

Station House Hotel rooms

Add to all above its reasonable pricing and great location its the perfect location for any getaway.

Grab A Coffee In Clifden

12 Pins Coffee at the church end of the main street is a little boutique coffee shop with a great selection of small chocolate treats from the cabinet which you can see below.

Although 12 pins is not a dine in venue it’s great for a good quality grab and go.

A Great Lunch

Guys restaurant on the main street is a great spot to enjoy a wholesome lunch.

We enjoyed locally caught fish and handcut chips with fresh tartare sauce.

Fish and Chips at Guys restaurant

A further selection of great lunches large or small are available you can View there menu to see for yourself

A Laidbacked Dinner

The Signal Bar located in the Station House Hotel is a relaxed dining experience and one we had the pleasure of enjoying.

You can find out our review of the Signal Bar Here

And Finally

Check out more of our Wild Atlantic Way trips with our road trip to Doolin or our day out to Killala. With more to come soon so stay tuned.

You could also head on over to the Wild Atlantic Way website for some more options on these areas

40 Things To Do In The Gold Coast Australia

The Gold Coast

Gold Coast History

The history of the Gold Coast Australia is one of fast development since WW2.

After WW2 the South Coast region of Queensland was a popular holiday destination for servicemen returning from the war. From then on and with inflated prices for real estate and other goods and services led to the nickname of “Gold Coast” in the early 50s.

As tourism grew throughout the decade businesses began to adopt the term in their names, and a memorable day the 23 October 1958 the South Coast Town Council was renamed “Gold Coast Town Council”. One year later the Gold Coast was labelled a city.

By the late 60s Surfers Paradise had established itself as the main destination and then the crazy introduction of bikini-clad meter maids in 1965 the aim to feed parking meters to prevent holiday makers from getting parking fines was a particularly popular innovation. And even still alive to this day.

The 70s came along and with that did the high rise boom followed 10 years later by the Gold Coast Airport, making the Gold Coast Australia number one holiday destination.

During the 80s the introduction of the 5 theme parks that lie there today (see in list) only solidified its presence as a number one destination.

The turn of the century bought a real estate boom with it’s economical peak in 2005 with the opening of the 322.5m ‘Worlds Tallest Residential Tower’ Q1, in Surfers Paradise.

To this day the Gold Coast continues to grow and strengthen its position establishing itself as a international destination to add to its domestic success.

Moving On

The Gold Coast is not is not one place that is short of things to do and see, its the number one destination in Australia for fun and entertainment and boy do they do it well.

You would think making a top 40 list would be hard but, and to be honest we probably haven’t even scratched the service.

Location

Located half way up the east coast of Australia, an hour south of Brisbane and hour north of Byron Bay.

This beautiful city is made up of a number of suburbs along the coast line forming the Gold Coast as a whole.

The Gold Coast has it’s own international airport in Coolongatta on the south end of the coast. Services many parts of Asia and domestic Australia routes

Gold Coast Top 40 Things To Do

This list has been tried and tested by ourselves and we hope it can all be of some value.

So without further ado here is our Top 40 things to do on the Gold Coast Australia.

Take a Surf Lesson on the Famous Gold Coast Strip

The most well known suburb of the Gold Coast aptly named Surfers Paradise so it would not do it justice if you didn’t take a surf lesson.

With some of the best qualified instructors around you are in capable hands. We tried the long standing company Get Wet and found them great, well organised and really imformative.

Visit Q1 Observation Deck

360 degrees views around the Gold Coast, as far as the eye can see. If you get a clear day you wouldn’t believe what you can see.

The tall residential tower stands head and shoulders above most buildings and the Skypoint observation deck is located on an impressive 77th floor, with a bistro bar and gift shop available.

One of the best views in Australia and with 300 days of sun on the Gold Coast it’s normally a good chance your get a great view.

Catch A Sunset On Burleigh Hill

The place to be for sunset, sit on Burleigh Hill with the view looking back over the Gold Coast across the white sandy beach. Grab your picnic, blankets and drinks and unwind with these sensational views.

Top Tip: Weekends get there early it gets pretty crowded.

The view on Burleigh Hill

Visit A Gold Coast Theme Park

With many a theme park to choose from, the Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia. 

The five main parks are

  1. Warner Brothers Movie World
  2. Dreamworld
  3. Wet and Wild
  4. Seaworld
  5. White Water World

Top tip: Walk along the boulevard in Surfers Paradise and look for the theme park booths, there are many deals available.

Check Out Miami Marketta

Love the street food markets of asia, well Miami Marketta brings a taste of it to the Gold Coast.

A trend setter for food markets on the Gold Coast. With it’s converted warehouse and 20 plus international food stalls, live musicians and a fully stocked bar make this a great night for all.

Open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 5pm

Miami Marketta

Make Your Millions At Star Casino

Star casino is one of the Gold Coast most popular venues, with numerous bars, restaurants and huge casino floor you would certainly never get bored inside here.

Even for people who don’t gamble its a great night out. Residents at the casino have great options with cinema and huge outdoor pool to name a few.

Perfect localality to Broaadbeach and Pacific fair shopping center.

With it’s 24 hour opening time the casino comes a late night hotspot for the Gold Coast locals and visitors.

Barefoot Bowls At Broadbeach Bowls Club

A bit of a tradition on Australian soil is the barefoot bowls. Grab a group of mates some beers and get competitive.

Broadbeach was our favourite but there are a scattering of clubs all over the coast. The venue was also home to the bowls during the Commonwealth Games.

Visit A Brewery

The craft brewery scene in Australia and on the Gold Coast especially exploded a few years back and is flourishing still today. With tours around your favourites breweries and weekends the taphouses open for the public with live music and food trucks.

Here is our choice breweries and favorite tipple in each .

  1. Burleigh Brewey – Big head
  2. Balter Brewery – Balter IPA
  3. Black Hops – East Coast Haze
  4. Fortitude Brewery – Fortutude Pacer

Afternoon Drinks At Edgewater

Nestled in on the beautiful Isle Of Capri is Edgewater Dining. With its river side seating and views of the impressive Surfers Paradise makes for a excellent late afternoon drinking spot.

The view at Edgewater

Farmers Market Bundall

A perfect Sunday morning would always be wandering around the ever popular farmers market. More than just farm supplies with food trucks, boutiques pop up shops and live music.

Farmers Market

Visit the Gold Coast Turf Club

The Gold Coasts only horse racing track and home to the Magic Millions Carnival, one of Australia’s premium horse racing carnivals.

Get trackside or enjoy premium stands either way you are guaranteed a fun day out.

Top Tip: 150 public house is a stones throw away and is the perfect post race spot.

Visit the Botanic Gardens

Walk round the beautiful Botanic Gardens in Benowa. Well maintained and array of plants, pond and wildlife.

Two other bonuses are the 2 km walking track around the grounds and lake to the side. The gardens also has it own cafe with a whole host of treats, coffees and preboooked high teas.

A great place to bring kids, with its large playground and plenty of grass for them to run around in the sun.

High Tea at the Botanic Gardens

Go see the Gold Coast Suns

The Gold Coast now has it’s own AFl side, playing out of the 25,000 Metricon stadium in Carrara. Catch a game against some the countries best sides.

Fixture List

Go see the Titans

If rugby is more your thing then rugby league from the Gold Coast is also available with the Gold Coast Titans playing in Australia’s premium league NFl. applying there trade out of the 21,000 Skilled Park stadium in the suburb of Robina.

Fixture List

Take a drive to Tallebudgera Valley

At the end of Tallebudgera Valley lies a great little place so quiet to many and home of the great cream track walking track. A difficult but rewarding walk over the mountain range.

Tallebudgera Valley

Wander through the rainforest forest with only the sound of the whip birds and the crunching of twigs on the floor. Relatively untouched area, so very important to bring away whatever you bring with you.

Walk over the Burleigh Headlands

Take a walk from Burleigh Hill through the headlands and out the other side to see the stunning view of Tallebudgera Creek.

Tallebudgera Creek

Eat tacos at Bonita Bonita

Gold Coast number one Mexican and taco bar Bonita Bonita is a must on any visit.

With tapas style small plates you really get to indulge. And the tequilas, oh the tequilas an impressive back bar with over 50 to choose from. Did someone say Margarita?

Bonita Bonita restaurant

Try the acai bowls at Cardamon Pod

These are a must, pleasing to the eye and even more so on the belly. A wide selection to choose from, all vegan plant based.

Cardamon Pod is a regular haunt for tge Instagram faithful trying to get the snap. But to Cardamon Pods credit what they deliver in appearance doesn’t waiver the quality of the food.

Acai Bowl at the Cardamon Pod

Visit Pacific Fair shopping center

Shopping center or village ? it’s hard to tell so many shops to choose from with a scattering of restaurants, 2 food courts, cinema and a range of entertainment. Find top brands like Tiffany and Prada or budget like K Mart and Big W it has something for everyone. Perfectly located in the heart of Broadbeach.

Tackle Surfers Paradise slingshot

Warning!!! Make sure you have a empty stomach before attempting, based just outside Surfers Paradise is Slingshot.

Get fired from your seat at 160km and 80 metres in the air, and well basically bounce your way back down. Best of all it gets captured on video for you to purchase after.

Holey Moley Gold Coast putt putt golf

Holey Moley is a themed putt putt golf center or for those Europeans crazy golf. All indoors with many a fun twists and turns to keep you guessing. Drinks are available only to enhance the experience or decrease the playing experience. But a fun night out is certainly had.

Take a river cruise

Follow the famous waterways of the Gold Coast, meandering past luxury residences and even the odd famous inhabitants.

Enjoy this trip with Surfers Paradise River cruises with on board bar and snacks, its no thrills just good old cruising round the outskirts if the city.

Gold Coast Gondola Rides

Take a romantic gondola ride all around the Gold Coast rivers at sunset. Unwind with certain packages, food, drinks or just the ride. A perfectly relaxed experience, can seat up to 4 people on board tours last from 45 minutes to two hours.

Visit the Collective Restaurant

Its like a food market and restaurant at the same time. The usual restaurant set up but 4 different purposely built kitchens run by different vendors and with different cuisines.

Its a unique experience but a great idea for a restaurant with its variety and options.

Go see Curtis Falls

On Tamborine Mountain between North Tamborine and Eagle Heights lies Curtis Falls and the walking track. A beautiful waterfall and viewing deck.

Curtis Falls Mount Tamborine

Go enjoy the views of the coast at the Spit

Out past Main Beach and past Seaworld is the spit. A bit of beach sticking out looking back at the coast. With further walkway heading out to sea, gives you the best views of Surfers Paradise of the remaining Gold Coast.

Visit Eagle Heights Tamborine Mountain

A long road quite aptly named Long Road is Eagle Heights. Full of boutique shops, eateries, wineries and antiques.

Compared to the vast growth of the city, this part of Tamborine feels like it hasn’t changed in 30 years. Making it refreshing change.

Go wine tasting at Mason Wines

Mason wines on Mount Tamborine is a boutique winery and restaurant in the woodland of North Tamborine.

A great selection of Reds and whites, with tasting tours and guided tours to talk you through the winery.

The food is known as some of the best on the mountain and with its lush green views, really sets a great scene.

Check out Getaway Day Spa

Located in North Tamborine also Getaway, has its own spa rooms with steam room, jacuzzi and mineral pool. Take 2 hours of relaxation in these before unwinding with one of there treatments.

Great quiet surrounding, which is just a perfect setting to relax in comfort.

Stay at Pethers Rainforest Retreat

This is a special treat nestled in the deep hinterland in North Tamborine lies Pethers. 10 large eco friendly tree houses. That’s right tree houses, who wouldn’t want to stay in a tree house.

With log fires, in room hot tub, fresh breakfast baskets and stunning views out into the rainforest who wouldn’t want to get lost here.

Natural Bridge

One of the most spectacular places to see in Queensland. This naturally formed bridge, glow worm cave and walking track is just paradise to see. The walking track is a loop track, of 2.4km taking you through the forest and beneath the trees.

The Natural Bridge is about 40 minutes out of the main center of the Gold Coast, but certainly worth the drive.

Natural Bridge Springbrook Mountain

Purling Brook Falls

One of the best and biggest waterfalls on the east coast. With uts 200ft waterfall drop and 3.5 km loop walking track to the bottom of the falls makes for a great experience.

Purling Brook Falls is accessed at the top of Springbrook Mountain in the heart of the suburb.

Too Tip : its a big incline up the Springbrook Mountain so be prepared

Purling Brook Falls

Visit HOTA

HOTA meaning home of the arts. Is home to all things entertainment. Theatre, cinema, music, comedy and live festivals is all readily available.

Walking tracks with sculptures and the well maintained Evandale lake to swim in.

Top tip: 150 bar is only 500 metres away a river side bar and restaurant well worth the visit.

Check out the Heinze Dam

An impressive site is the Heinze Dam, you get the sheer size of it when you see it up close to it. And has grown over the years since it’s 1976 opening.

Now the dam is a huge attraction with visitor center, cafe and walkways along the dam and the adjoining woods.

Try axe throwing

They say when in Rome! well what about on the Gold Coast, Located in the backstreets of Miami is the Lumper Punks axe throwing.

What can we say you throw axes at a target sounds fun right ?

With multiple venues across Australia in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, these guys know how to put on some fun

Surfers Paradise beachfront markets

If you haven’t had enough of the beach then head back Friday and Saturday evenings for the beachfront markets.

A range of boutique stalls from jewelery, hand crafts, health products and even more. Its just as nice to meander through and maybe finish with some refreshments from one of many close by local bars and restaurants.

Curumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The Gold Coast very own little zoo featuring all the native Australian animals, like koalas, crocodile, dingos, kangaroos and many many more. get you pictures taken with the resident koala.

Cafe available on site for your refreshment needs, and this site is also the home of the Sanctuary Markets. A market dedicated to food around the world open every friday 4 – 10

Visit Gold Class Cinema

Want some down time catch a movie in style, order meals, alcohol, snacks and sit back in a reclining armchair and watch on the usual large cinema screens. You can even book your food and drinks to come at certain points throughout the movie.

Once you try you wont go back to a normal cinema experience..

Shopping at Harbour Town

Situated on the northern end of the coast lies Harbour Town shopping Village. A wide range of well known shops and local boutiques give Harbour Town great variety.

A 10 screen cinema with Gold class and wide screen rooms adds a bit of entertainment to this shopping town.

Ferry Road Markets

The trendy Ferry road markets in Southport bring a range of boutique shops, trendy eateries and top end food suppliers. we would certainly recommend the Providore bakery its certainly one of the best around for cakes, treats and our favourite sausage rolls.

The Round Up

A fine list for a fine city, the Gold Coast Australia is certainly a busy and entertaining place to be. The Gold Coast should be proud of its uniqueness and wide variety for all varieties.

Many more things that didn’t make the list but could easily of been included. Maybe one day we would need to do a volume 2.

We love all things Gold Coast and we have served you with the best things to do, but now you may need somewhere to eat. Make sure you try out our Best Restaurants Gold Coast, Best Cafes Gold Coast and Best Vegan Restaurants, Gold Coast guides offering an inside to the dining scene on the Gold Coast.

For now it’s goodbye but we will be back soon.

Zimbabwe Travel Advice & General Information

Here is a guide to some best Zimbabwe travel advice and general information, worth having on hand for any Zimbabwe trip or even for pre planning.

This is designed as an attachment to our 12 day South Africa and Zimbabwe trip South Africa Itinerary 12 Day Tour

Capital

The Capital city of Zimbabwe is Harare, located in the north east of the country.

Population

The Population of Zimbabwe is 15.06 million with it’s most populated city being the capital Harare with a population of 3.1 million.

Time Zone

The time zone in Zimbabwe is GMT plus 2

Best Time To Go

Zimbabwe is an all year round destination. The Zambezi is a popular spot for water activities and rafting and this is best august and December because of lower lying river levels.

If you a fan of green, lush vegetation then December to May is your time. Known as the best botanical months.

Climate

Summer

Summer months are October to April, days are generally hot and sunny in the mornings and chances of possibly thunderstorms in the afternoon.

During the day temperatures can reach 30 C with a nightly temperature of around 14 C – 16 C.

Along the Zambezi and around Victoria Falls temperatures could generally be higher due to the lower lying area

Winter

In winter May to September, temperatures are generally dry and sunny with temperatures sitting around 20C during the day with a low of around 5 C at night time.

A perfect time to visit with better guarantee of weather, with a lot less rain.

Currency

USD is the main currency used in Zimbabwe. The South Africa Rand is often excepted in many places within in Zimbabwe.

Language

The official language of Zimbabwe is English, however there are local indigenous languages spoken, such as Ndebele and Shona.

Tipping

It is not compulsory but it is customary to tip in tourist regions of 10 to 15 % in restaurants or hotel bills and 10 % to persons who are for example taxi drivers, local guides or private drivers.

Vaccinations

Please check with your GP and local authorities for further information, as such information can change.

Electricity

With the amount of gadgets, phones, cameras and computers have the right adaptors is important.

Zimbabwe uses 220/240 Volts AC, with 3 pin 13 amp plugs.

Did You Know

Camouflage clothing is strictly banned in Zimbabwe with imposing fines and potential imprisonment for people wearing such attire. Please be aware

Finally

Hopefully this lends to some useful information for yourself to have on hand or when planning a Zimbabwe trip. For any further assistance more information can be obtained on the Zimbabwe Embassy Site and information page

I hope this Zimbabwe travel advice is of use to you.

Want to read some interesting articles on Zimbabwe well here is the popular Victoria Falls Adventure – nature’s true wonder

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South Africa Travel Advice & General Information

Here is a guide to some best South Africa travel advice and general information, worth having on hand for any South African trip or even for pre planning.

Capital

A little confusing so Cape Town is the official legislative capital, with the administrative capital being Pretoria and Judicial capital being Bloemfontein

Population

The population of South Africa, as of 2020 is 59.3 million

Time Zone

South Africa operates its time at GMT plus 2

Best Time To Go

South Africa is known as a destination accessible all year round and is also generally visited all year round. However some regions may have more advantages than other (see below)

The northern regions are good destinations in the winter months, at this time game viewing is at it’s best, and temperatures are far milder.

The southern regions are known for more summer times and holiday makers with low rainfall and warmer temperatures.

Climate

Summer is October to April and winter is May to August

Summer temperatures average between 15 – 30 C (60 – 96 f) Despite a few regional differences, the climate of south Africa is generally mild throughout the year.

On a whole South Africa is a dry country with a mean average rainfall of 502mm and snow is normally only seen and limited to mountain peaks

Currency

The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand. 1 rand is made up of 100 cents. Banks notes are in denominations of R200 (orange) R100 (blue) R50 (pink) R20 (brown) and R10 (green)

Languages

Throughout South Africa there are a total of 11 official languages. these being Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsongo, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

For English speaking visitor to the country you would certainly be able and have no problem with travelling through the country and communicating.

Tipping

It is not compulsory but it is customary to tip in the region of 10 to 15 % in restaurants or hotel bills and 10 % to persons who are for example taxi drivers, local guides or private drivers.

Vaccinations

Please check with your GP and local authorites for further information, as such information can change.

Electricity

With the amount of gadgets, phones, cameras and computers have the right adaptors is important.

South Africa uses 230 to 240 volts 50Hz. The visitor to South Africa should purchase the correct adaptor with compatibility with South Africa. These can be purchased in South Africa or at most International Airports.

Hopefully this lends to some useful information for yourself to have on hand or when planning a South Africa trip. For any further assistance more information can be obtained on the South African Embassy Site and information page.

I hope this South Africa travel advice is of use to you.

Want to read some interesting articles on South Africa well try out a few from our own experiences. A look at Johannesburg, Cape Town, Franschhoek and Sabi Sands Safari.

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Things To Do In Roscommon, Ireland

Location

County Roscommon, Ireland located in the midwest. It makes up 1 part of 5 counties of the province of Connaught, alongside Sligo, Galway, Leitrim and Mayo. With the 3 County Roscommon towns, Boyle and Castlerea. The county is the 11th largest of the 32 at 2548 sq metres, however 27th largest in regards to population.

History Of Roscommon

County Roscommon Ireland was named after the main town Roscommon. With the word Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the first abbot and bishop of Roscommon.

Roscommon was officially established as a county in 1585

This county borders 7 other counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, westmeath, Longford and Offaly. 

Roscommon is home to one of very few famine based museums in the world. And with castle ruins, monestery and the renowned Rathcroghan which is is a collection of 240 identified archaeological sites. Roscommon is steeped in history and a hidden heartland within Ireland.

Top 5 Things To Do In Roscommon

So here we go the the top things to do in Roscommon

1.Lough Key Forest Park

Lough Key Forest Park. a huge 800 hectare park with a whole host of things to do from. Zip lines, boat rides, segways, look out towers and not to mention the stunning walkways a perfect day out for the family.

Catch a glimpse of the stunning McDermots castle nestled on its very own island. Take a boat ride to get up close to this stunning site one of the best in Ireland.

Cafe on site and ample parking makes this one of Roscommon’s premium destinations.

Photo below courtesy  of  Mark The Wateredge Carrick 

Lough Key Forest Park by air

2.Strokestown House & Famine Museum

A grade 1 listed building steeped in history.

Daily guided tours around this 300 year old manor house which is still as unique as it ever was.

Also home to the national famine museum. Learn about the history of famine in Ireland in Ireland’s only dedicated famine museum.

The grounds also have a garden walk and there very own walled gardens.

This also the start of the National famine walk. (see our walking guides below for more.

Strokestown House


3.Arigna Mines

Arigna Mines was an active coal mine from 1700’s until as recent as 1990.

 In 2003 the mine inspired by a community driven initiative was reopened as a visitor attraction. which since has seen just shy of half million visitors.

The experience documents the countries first and last coal mine. The tours are taken with ex miners so the knowledge is first class.

You can access the mine itself as well as video tours, and writing exhibits, the official name is the Arigna Mining Experience.

At the end the a cafe is on site for any refreshments. 

Please make sure you spend a bit of time outside as the locality of the mine has unprecedented views of the Roscommon / Leitrim countryside.

Arigna Mines


4.Roscommon Castle Ruins & Loughnaneane Park

One of our favourite spots is Roscommon castle, built in 1269 this once castle now in ruins, lies proudly in the heart of Roscommon town.

Its free to roam around and the many signs document the castles past.

The Loughnaneane park is beautiful with, walking tracks, lake and playground a great spot for any family.


5.Rathcroghan, Tulsk

Rathcroghan is known as Connaughts ancient capital. known as being the largest and largest unexcavated royal site in europe.

This impressive landscape boasts 240 archeological sites, of which 60 are protected. The site spans an incredible 5,500 human years.

Many references here are said to be in early Irish medieval manuscripts.

A great place for any history and especially medieval fan. The Rathcroghan Visitor centre also has it owns cafe area to enjoy after the visit.


Walks & Parks

One of the best things to do in Roscommon is to take in some of the great walks around the county. Her are the best below.

Mote Park

Mote Park, situated 5 minute drive outside the town of Roscommon. A stunning spot for the family to come with many a walking track, forest, fairy garden track and the perfect picnic spot. Easy walking conditions as its all pathed a great morning out for all.

The beautiful bluebell walk comes to life in the spring with a sea of bright blue bluebells.


The Famine Way Walk

The famine way walk, starting at Strokestown House and continuing a mammoth 165 km to the Dublin Quay.

The walk is a tribute to those 1490 men, women and children who made the walk during the Irish famine in 1847.

The walk is mainly flat and well pathed, is best taken in sections due to the length of it. The first stage keeping you in the county of Roscommon Strokestown to Tarmonbarry before meandering through Ireland.


Suck Valley Way

The impressive Suck Valley way is an impressive 105km loop walk, forming part of the famous 500km Breifne Beara Way.

The loop takes you through all sorts of terrains, through woodlands, riverbanks and farmland.

Discover derelict building, castle ruins and unprecedented views of this beautiful country side


For Kids Around Roscommon

Sensory Me

Situated in Roscommon town Sensory Me brings, Sensory Rooms and soft play areas. featuring a colour changing ball pool, sensory lights and sound room, cinema room and interactive floors and walls.

Catering for all ages even babies sensory me offers something different to the normal play centres.

Specialist classes and workshops are also run on site.

A list of some good playgrounds

Here is a run down on a few of our top playgrounds around county Roscommon.

Loughnaneane Park, Roscommon Town

This playground lies next to the Roscommon castle, a well equipped and large playground which is regularly looked after. Loughnaneane Park also has a great little lake in for the kids to see ducks.

Castlerea Demense Playground, Somers Park

A high quality playground with a large selection of climbing frames, slides, roundabout and many more.

Situated on the same site as the Castlerea swimming pool which is open throughout the summer months, and joins on to the walking tracks of the Demense.

Boyle Playground, Pleasure Grounds

located quite centrally in the town of Boyle this playground doesn’t have as much variety as the other two but is as equally as good. And like the others well maintained and look after.

A Hidden Gem

We have picked one place that normally doesn’t get a mention but are worth while visiting.  

Castlerea Demense

With it’s tiny gated entrance at the square in the town of Castlerea. You would be forgiven for not given it a second look.

But enter and 50 metres in the Demense opens up into this wonderful and surprising park.

A well maintained walking track along the Suck Valley river and meandering through the forest.

Along the way lies a fairy garden, musical area and at the end of the way the local swimming pool and childrens playground. 

Moving further a field is a track leading through the dense forest a great peaceful retreat.

Places To Stay Around Roscommon

We have picked our top 3 hotels in Co Roscommon. The 3 we have picked are spread across the county. Click on pictures for more and to have a look direct at these great stays.

Hudson Bay Hotel

Hudson Bay is a 4 star hotel and spa located 10 mins outside Athlone and 20 from Roscommon. Set on the beautiful Lough Ree, with unbelievable views and walks.

Abbey Hotel, Roscommon Town

The Abbey hotel is ideally located in the heart of Roscommon town center. With indoor pool, sports center and restaurant making the Abbey a perfect spot for a weekend away.

The Abbey is lucky to be in close proximity to the train station and local bus routes.

Kilronan Castle, Ballyfarnon

A stunning castle hotel, spa and grounds make Kilronan one of the most popular destinations in the area. 

Some of the best quality food in Roscommon is available in the main restaurant and the drawing also available providing snacks and bar food. Newly opened underground cafe also offers a different option.

Kilronan is also known as one of Ireland’s premium wedding venues.

Restaurants and Cafes

Roscommon has a ever growing food scene with some good food Ireland can be proud of. Here below are a few of our favourites.

The Old Stonehouse Ballinlough

Set in the heart of this little quaint village lies the Old Stonehouse. One of the most impressive visually aspiring restaurants around and add to that it’s top quality food makes the Old Stonehouse a must.

Advice would be to book 094 964 0332 or Facebook

Rogue & Co

The first name on the list when you think of lunch or breakfast in Roscommon is Rogue & Co. 

Offering something a little different to the normal but not forgetting there roots and a host of classics also.

In the heart of Roscommon town and a big hit with the locals.

To Call 090 6630077 or Facebook

Benny’s Deli

A cafe running since 1981, that’s 30 years says it all. Freshly baked breads, cakes, pastries  and much more, a deli counter serving great snacks. Benny’s also has its own restaurant serving homely food with breakfast and lunch menus available.

There latest addition is the fantastic shop selling local and national pantry and fridge items. With a large focus on organically produced goods.

Lets hope benny’s is around for another 30 years.

Call ahead or to place orders call 094 9620575, or place a online order Website

The Purple Onion

Situated in the lovely little town of Tarmonbarry. The purple Onion is a food destination of high quality.

Fresh locally sourced food with a warm atmosphere. Even its very own art gallery on site.

A destination restaurant with people travelling to visit this resataurant.

To Book 043 3359919

Transport

Nearest Airport

Ireland West Airport is the closet airport in Roscommon Ireland and the main airport in the north west of Ireland.

Alternatively Ireland’s main airport being Dublin.

Trains

Roscommon and Castlerea train stations serve on the Dublin Heuston to Westport line. While Boyle runs the Sligo to Dublin Connolly line. All train lines are available and are available for pre booking.

Taxi

For a list of all the best taxis in the certain Roscommon areas check taxi directories for any lists.

Bus

Bus Eirean operates runs within county Roscommon. With stops found in most towns.

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Ireland Adventures

We have given you some of the best things to do in Roscommon Ireland was our starting point for our family trip to Cliffs of Moher and Doolin and our Road Trip. Here we explore historical sites must see attractions and the best things to do for kids.

Take a look at some of the things to do around the west of Ireland like Clifden castle, Diamond Hill Hike or Glencar waterfall.

2020 Travel Roundup

2020 Travel Roundup

2020 a year like no other,  a year the travel industry shut down but regardless with ploughed on with our site and took time to really go back over our past trips and share around our favourite experiences from past years. And here we have our 2020 travel roundup

A couple of things we took from the year was to appreciate our own surroundings, we have travelled the globe but often forgot what was right here on our doorstep. We have seen such places like Glencar Waterfall Day Trip, Mote Park Roscommon, Killala Bay (a quick stop off), Roscommon Castle Ruins, Lough Rynn Castle (Walk Round The Grounds) and Lough Key Forest Park We had planned more but lockdowns had put a halt to that.

We did get to England early on in the year and saw the stunning Swanbourne Lake Arundel West Sussex a real gem in West Sussex.

Secondly was going back over old trips and reminiscing and writing about them and enjoyed looking through old photos and really transporting ourselves back and really enjoyed what we have done over the last few years.

Reviewing our previous trips

We went over our Vietnam trip such posts about like Nikko Hotel Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh Food Journey, War Remnants Museum Ho Chi Minh City and Ben Thanh Market.

We shared our Hong Kong trip with such posts like Hong Kong Restaurants!, The Cordis Hotel, Hong Kong, Mongkok and Disneyland Hong Kong Fun Times.

Our most popular and favourite experiences our Africa adventure. With such posts like Savanna Private Game Reserve Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls By Helicopter, Franschhoek Wine Tram Tour, Best Things To Do Cape Town and Johannesburg Our First Stop

We were already under way reviewing all our present hotel stays which you could find in this list Our Hotel Reviews and of course there’s more to come

And finally we managed to continue to cover our 1o years in Australia which still has some way to go but here are a few snipets so far. Top 10 Things To Do Gold CoastGold Coast Beach’s Are Stunning, Curtis Falls Waterfall Mount tamborine and Natural Bridge, Springbrook Mountain.

Looking Forward

What’s our hopes for 2021, well firstly and foremost stay safe and hopefully see the light at the end of a tunnel with regards to this pandemic. Continuing to write about Australia and also to get out and about around our home Ireland and explore the beauty we have here right at our finger tips. And fingers crossed by the back end of the year maybe be able to look at a trip abroad. But we will take it one step at a time.

So for now its happy new year thanks for all the support over the last year and we wish everyone the best well wishes for new year.

If you enjoyed our 2020 travel roundup leave us a comment below

10 Things To Do On The Gold Coast

10 Things To Do On The Gold Coast

Gold Coast Australia, we had the privilege of living here for many years. Its Australia number 1 holiday destination.

With so much to do and see you could hardly get bored there. A city that can boast on average over 300 days of sunshine a year, yep that’s right 300 days

We recently posted a few of our favourite places but lots of people have been sending in messages asking us for tips so here is our top 10 things to do.

Beaches

A trip to Gold Coast wouldn’t be right without a trip to these famous beaches. Golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see.

Do a surfing lesson, play volleyball, or just catch the sun it is a must on any trip here.

Many of events like sand sculpting, beachfront markets and concerts happen throughout the year. A good place to find the latest thing would be on My GC

Theme Parks

The one thing the Gold Coast has an abundance of is theme parks. With 5 to choose from it could be a whole holiday planned in one.

Bus links, trams and taxis link all the major theme parks.

Here’s the List

Movie World

Probably the most known and popular. Owned and run by the world famous Warner Brothers.

Enjoy the thrill rides of the DC Rivals Roller-coaster or Superman escape. Catch a show with Hollywood stunt rider or see where movies are filmed at the village roadshow. For young kids see the Yogi – Bear 4D experience.

Dreamworld

Another Gold Coast iconic theme park. Not for the faint hearted, try Buzz Saw and The Claw (maybe before food) or unwind on Tiger Island and see the tigers up close and personal, with daily shows at midday. Plenty for the younger kids also with dedicated sections.

White Water World

Sits next to Dreamworld and part of the same group. The water park offers an array of water theme slides some thrill slides and some geared towards the youngsters.

Tube rides offer the chance for groups to ride together adding a extra thrill

A large wave pool sits in the middle of the park, good for all ages.

Wet And Wild

Wet and Wild Gold Coast lies next door to Movie World. A park full of rides from thrill seekers to family orientated fun. Shows open daily and Kabanas to kick back to relax in.

Coming soon to Wet and Wild is Australia’s biggest and tallest water slide.

Seaworld

Closet park to the city on the main beach stretch. Seaworld a worldwide company, see seal encounters and Dolphins. Catch the Thunder Lake Stunt show, try the rides the new Atlantis or the Storm Coaster. Or just submerge yourself we the marine life that Seaworld presents.

Top Tip: If you check out some of the booths in Surfers Paradise there is always somewhere doing a deal or 2 on these.

Top Tip 2: If you planning to hit the parks a locals package of a year pass for $169 gives you unlimited access to Movie World, Wet and Wild, Sea World and Paradise Country (a Australian themed farm) for a whole year. a 7 day pass is $159 See Ticketing

Tamborine Mountain

A tropical heaven in the mountains only 40 minutes from the bustling center of the Gold Coast. Plenty to do, see and explore, especially in the quirky streets of Eagle Heights, seeing waterfalls, boutique shops and wineries make Tamborine Mountain a must escape.

With Tropical retreats such as Pethers Rainforest Retreat and Getaway Day Spa its a destination to unwind from the busy city life of the Gold Coast.

As mentioned some great waterfalls in the area and none better than Curtis Falls (below) and equally as impressive is the Witches Falls and the walking loop.

Byron Bay

You haven’t visited Australia until you visit Byron Bay. Situated about 60 minutes from the Gold Coast Byron is the perfect backpacker destination beach town. With surfing, walks, food, micro breweries and boutique shops.

The famous lighthouse walk which can be tough especially in the Australian sun, is the most easterly part of Australia and provides ocean views and a regular spot for whale watchers.

Byron Bay is as relaxed as it gets with a clientele that just takes everything in there stride.

Stone and Wood brewery tour would be one of our top picks to do.

Pictured below is the view half way along the lighthouse walk.

Visit A Brewery

The Gold coast is not short on breweries either with the original Burleigh Brewing company and a whole host of other breweries like Balter, Lost Palms, Black hops and Pickled Pig to name a few. We recommend you try them all, well just tell the wife its for research purposes.

Top Tip: Burleigh Brewery do a great beer BIG Head was a favourite of mine light, refreshing and so easy to drink.

Some of these breweries often have a food truck on, allowing the best possible way to line the stomach. They often have live music as well making for a great afternoon evening out.

Here’s The Directory

Burleigh Brewing

Lost Palms

Balter

Black Hops

Pickled Pig

Fortitude Brewery

Q1 Skypoint Observation Deck

Standing at 322 metres and consisting of 78 floors the Q1 Skypoint has some of the best views I have ever seen. Add to that a city with more blue skies than anywhere is a great spot to visit anytime of the year.

There is a cafe situated at the top for you to sit back and enjoy the stunning views with a cup of coffee.

Situated right in the heart of Surfers Paradise you right amongst it all.

Springbrook Mountain

Springbrook to me is just beautiful set in the Hinterland Rainforest Springbrook has some of the most stunning places to visit in Australia. Our personal favourites are Natural Bridge and Purling Brook Falls.

Around a 40 minute drive from the center of the Gold Coast and well worth the journey.

The two most sort after trips are the Natural Bridge this naturally forming rock feature, fall and walking track is a must. Certainly one of the most beautiful sites in this part of the world

Another is Purlingbrook Falls with it’s 150 meter waterfall and 3.5 km walking loop track to the bottom of the falls make this a popular spot and highly sort after trip.

Burleigh Hill Walk

Burleigh Hill where the masses congregate to watch the sun fall down on a wonderful day and well probably sink a few tinnies. The view from Burleigh Hill looking over the Gold Coast is just unreal.

Combine the hill with the Burleigh Headland walking track and its a great afternoon / evening out. The walking track meanders from lush rainforest like trees looping round to show the most beautiful views over Tallebudgera Creek.

Miami Marketta

You could easily think you have been transported to South East Asia. Step into this back street warehouse and laneway and sample some delights.

The original street food market on the Gold Coast some may say its part of what the Gold Coast is. I just say that with its 20 full stalls and its delicious.

With constant array of live music and entertainment its a popular hotspot for any tourist and local alike.

Mount Warning

Situated 30 minutes from the Gold Coast is the incredible Mount Warning. Climb and see some of the best vantage along the east coast of Australia. A 3 / 4 hour round trip through lush rainforest and a final descent up a rock face to the highest lookout a trip not to be missed.

We took the trip up Mount Warning one morning and what a great trip it was and would love to maybe go back and do it for sunrise.

Summary

All in all the Gold Coast is a playground for the best and most adventurous. Somewhere you could never get bored. With some of the best cafes and restaurants around the dining scene is up there with the likes of Melbourne.

Hope this all helps as much as it can. We have any amount of of knowledge from our time on the Gold Coast please don’t hesitate to ask and send us a message.

For now its goodbye

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The Cordis Hotel, Hong Kong, Mong Kok

Cordis Hotel

The Cordis Hotel Hong Kong, Mong Kok. So here is the story on our flight back to Australia from our wedding last year, we thought we would have a stop over. We wanted somewhere different, somewhere were we could relax and enjoying our two favourite things. Yep good food and cocktails, and well there is no other place better for it than Hong Kong.

We had heard from numerous people that Hong Kong was flowing with eateries and bars and this was certainly up our alley and mix with a totally different culture we were on board and booked the flight.

Now being a kind of pre honeymoon, we were looking for something top end, and the Cordis stood out to us so we didn’t hesitate and we booked it.

The Cordis Hotel was situated on the Kowloon side of the river in Mong Kok. We found it has a bit of more Chinese culture, and full of great little markets and more of a local feel than crossing the other side.

As mentioned we had just got married so we decided to treat ourselves and add the club lounge to our stay. Now we did not regret this the club lounge offered complimentary food and drink all the way throughout the day. Including champagne hour with beautiful snacks and delicate canapes. There was also a cocktail hour also late evening offering spirts and host of mixers. These were great ways to start and end your evenings, and obviously part of the club lounge package. The views from the lounge over Hong Kong were unreal, you can see as far as the eye can see, great place to sip on that champagne and unwind

Club Lounge ( Photo courtesy of Cordis Hotel)

Rooms @ The Cordis

The rooms at the Cordis hotel are great, they are modern, ample room, comfortable and offering again some great views again over the Hong Kong skyline.Comes with mini bar, Tv, safe and all the extras iron, robes etc. The bathrooms are massive, huge power shower and large bathtub which looks out onto the room allowing you to see out over the Hong kong skyline.

( Photo courtesy of Cordis Hotel)

Food & Drink @ The Cordis

The Cordis is a mecca for food and drink, with 4 great venues for food and drink.

The Place

this is a buffet style restaurant, this is were buffet breakfasts are served offering great variety of cold and cooked breakfasts, providing local and international foods. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinners also although we didn’t try we were told they are great with great variety like the breakfasts.

The Garage Bar

The Garage Bar is a funky rooftop bar with food trucks and craft beers. Low sofas and dim lights set the scene to create a wonderful atmosphere. When we were there the food was American style burgers, they were delicious and flavoursome after a long day exploring. I believe the menu now it Mexican style burritos.

Ming Court

Ming Court is a Michelin starrred restaurant and bar far the fanciest of the all the eateries at the Cordis from top class food, service and a sense of sophistication Ming Court has it all. We were not disappointed one bit. I always say restaurants with high prices better deliver and Ming Palace certainly does

Alibi Wine Bar

Although we never ate here this is certainly the place to go if you enjoy a good quality beverage. A wine list like no other offering local and international wines. We opted for a few cocktails and well, we could not complain they were divine well mixed and beautifully balanced.

Alibi is a perfect spot to wine dine be social and enjoy a good time.

The Garage At The Cordis ( Photo courtesy of Cordis Hotel)
Ming Court At The Cordis ( Photo courtesy of Cordis Hotel)

Facilities @ The Cordis

Facilities at the Cordis are second to none and are maintained to the highest quality.

Chaun Spa

Top quality spa offering a range of treatments drawing on the power of five elements wood, metal, fire, earth and water. The treatments have been expertly chosen and development with naturopath and Chinese medicine in mind all in a relaxing and calm environment. Chaun Spa is great after a day on the road to unwind before that champagne hour.

Health Club

Offering full gym with all the usual machines and equipment. Such classes like spin bikes are also given (will need to check timetables). The views over Hong Kong are unreal, now I wouldn’t be one for training on holiday but the scene set would certainly encourage us a bit more.

Rooftop Pool

Beautiful setting at the top of the Cordis, offering spa, sauna and steam room. Fully stocked changing rooms with towels and robes etc. Great way to unwind at the end of the day. Perfect size lap pool to shake off those morning blues.

And Finally

Overall the Cordis hotel Hong Kong offers everything from comfort, luxury, great facilities, tasty food and quality service. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Cordis to anyone.

Whilst on this trip we managed to also make it to Macau as well as a few things around Hong Kong like Disneyland and we managed to sample plenty of great restaurants and bars.

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