Took the Irish Day Tour to Connemara yesterday. This tour included the boat ride in Killary Fjord, driving through Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, and Galway. During the boat ride, there were varying degrees of rain and one small spot of sunshine. There are three levels on the boat. The first is a cafe under full cover, then a smaller second level that is also full cover, and the third is open air with an awning. You can move freely between the three levels, so I alternated between braving the rain for the best views and pictures, to relaxing with Irish coffee in the cafe. An all together pleasant trip and the rain added the benefit of dozens of beautiful waterfalls coming down the mountains.
Next we had a full hour and a half at Kylemore Abbey. We packed snacks with us so we chose not to eat a full lunch and explored the abbey, church, and mausoleum instead. The abbey is nicely preserved with antique furnishings and several religious vestments and items. The gothic church is beautiful with marble pillars from all over Ireland. Walking to all the places was nice with well kept pathways and scenery. You walk past Klyemore Lake which is also very pretty. Some people on our tour bus chose to take the shuttle to the gardens. The line for this was long and they barely had time to go, even with an hour and a half to spend.
On the way to Galway, our driver stopped to let us take pictures of Connemara. This only happens when time allows it and I was happy to get photos of the scenery without bus window glare.
Our last stop was Galway and we had an hour. It's really not enough time to do much. We never made it to the harbor. But we had time to visit a couple of shops, listen to a few street musicians (there were many here), and sit in the park for a bit where we were dropped off.
As for the trip itself, it is a solid amount of time in a bus. This was a smaller group with the smaller bus. There is not anything wrong with the smaller bus. The seats were comfortable and it was easy to see out the windows even from an inside seat (where I was). There are no assigned seats. The first ticket holders in line get dibs. Larger groups may not all get to sit together, but that is the nature of it. The bus was warm at times, especially when the sun was shining through the top window. So wear layers! Noah (our driver) was a straight forward guide. He sang a few songs that I hadn't heard. What I liked about Noah was that you could tell that he cared about getting us to our destinations so we could have as much time there as possible. It seemed like we were cutting it close making it to our boat ride. We didn't hit an excessive amount of traffic, so leaving Dublin a little earlier may be in order since you have to reach the docks at a certain time. Noah got us a full hour and a half at Kylemore, which is more time than I've seen in other reviews. He also gave us a photo op stop, which doesn't always happen. We also had quick stops on the out of Dublin and back in to use the restroom. Gas stations with clean restrooms, fresh croissants, and drinks.
This was a wonderful tour!
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