This tour was one of the high points of our trip to Ireland in October.
The Lally Tour bus, which started just two doors down from our hotel (The Park House Hotel) normally carries about 16 people but on that particular day only my wife and I had signed up. The tour manager nevertheless let the tour proceed. One advantage is that we got to talk more conversationally with Michael, the tour’s driver/guide, and he was great. Michael was friendly, respectful and had a weath of knowledge. He couldn’t have been more welcoming.
There was a bit of dampness in the air around Aughnanure Castle, but not enough to slow things done. (We learned that the day before the roads around the Castle had flooded out, and that that day’s passengers had not been able to tour the Castle grounds.) At the Castle, Giles, another great guide, gave us a very informative talk on the Castle’s history, with special attention to its architectural details (details that we would have missed just looking at the structure with uninformed eyes.) The winding stone stairs inside the Castle to the third floor are steep but we found them manageable.
We later visited the Joyce farm where sheep dogs are trained to follow verbal commands (and as a bonus we were able to play with half a dozen or so puppies who were sheep-dogs-in-waiting.)The owner gave a short but entertaining talk about his dogs and his sheep, and then set one of his dogs up the hill to round up and bring down a dozen or so sheep. It was very impressive. And the Connemara countryside was truly breathtaking throughout the day.
Michael then drove us to Cong, making stops here and there to let us take pictures at sites where the movie The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara had been filmed. (We had seen that movie and remembered it well; if you do take this tour, and haven’t seen that film, I’d recommend trying to see it somehow.) In Cong, we ate at lovely café that Michael recommended.
My wife and I had a wonderful time on this tour, and recommend it highly if you visit the city of Galway.