Sometimes out of bad comes good, and so last week, as a reward from my children for not checking out the week before, when (in case you didn’t read last week’s piece) I discovered that a load of my fuel lines were blocked, myself and Carol found ourselves heading off to County Mayo, where we were booked for a two-night stay in the wonderful Hotel Newport, in the village of the same name.
Now for years I have talked about Mayo, and the amazing scenery that is to be found along the west coast, but not since my days on the travelling bank that used to service such scenic spots as Geesala, Ballycastle and Rossport have I been back to the wild west, and I have to confess that I headed off last Monday morning with a fair bit of excitement and anticipation (and five stents) in my heart.
And the great thing as I reminisce now that I’m back at work on this absolutely beautiful Monday morning is that it more than lived up to our expectations!
On our way we stopped off in Balla for a round of golf in a wonderfully scenic Par 3 Golf course, that was literally carved out of a forest and while yet again the golf wasn’t exactly brilliant, the scenery more than made up for it.
I’m now beginning to think that I should just walk around the golf courses and not bother to bring the clubs at all – I need to keep up the walking, but for some reason I can’t seem to improve at the game itself at all.
Anyway on to the Hotel Newport and no matter what way you look at it, you would have to give it ten out of ten.
The accommodation was top class, all the rooms newly done up and re-decorated, the food (and the Guinness) couldn’t have been bettered, but for us, it was the staff that made it so special, and that the hotel is owned by a Kilteevan man, Peter Kilmartin, who lives in England, but whose family still reside in Kilteevan.
He bought the then closed hotel a couple of years ago, and it re-opened about 18 months ago, and from what we could see business is absolutely booming.
As I said all the staff were brilliant, but in particular, Michelle Murphy, the General Manager, and Caroline in the bar made us feel so welcome, and (I hope the children read this) this time, by hook or by crook, I will be back.
I said earlier in this piece that I haven’t been down that part of Mayo for many, many years, but that’s not exactly true, because in 1989 we took a house in Achill Island for a week and I can remember it so well because Mayo were in the All-Ireland Final, and the county was just a sea of green and red.
One of the highlights of that week (Mayo didn’t win the All-Ireland) was Carol winning a Mothers race in the sports on Dugort Beach, and so I took her back to the scene of her triumph.
The beach is still there but The Strand Hotel where she got her winner’s trophy was closed! I don’t know if it was just because the season was over or not, as the building itself was fairly well maintained, but we had to make do with a stroll on the beach – Carol declared herself injured and refused to do a re-run of her 100 metres dash.
We visited Keel which has another fabulous beach, although there too, it was hard to find any open hotels, which surprised me as I definitely remembered a few of them back in ’89.
Still, the weather was so lovely there was a good crowd walking on the beach while the surf boards seemed to be in constant demand.
Back then to Mulranny, although it too has fallen victim to what I call the changing name syndrome, and is now known as Mallaraney. It is also blessed with a marvellous beach at Murevagh, and with the mountains all around, it, truly is a spectacular place to visit.
As for the Hotel Newport, if you ever get the chance go to it, tell Michelle I sent you, and I guarantee you will have the time of your life.
Brannan’s pub was also very welcoming, and of course Newport is the home of Kelly’s Pudding which in my opinion is the undoubted prince of the white pudding, unrivalled anywhere in the country, unless by Michael Waldron’s in Brideswell.
As it happens we will soon know for certain who has the best white and black pudding in Ireland as we are holding the first ever pudding competition (in the twenty-six counties – Enniskillen held one in the Six counties) during the upcoming Harvest Festival when puddings from several different manufacturers will be eaten and voted on.
All the details will be revealed over the next week or two, but if you like your pudding make sure you’re in Creggs for the October Bank Holiday Weekend.
A few musings
Changing subjects entirely, and normally I don’t ‘do’ birthdays, but last Saturday night, in Terry Leyden’s I met Gerry Cunningham, whose son Michael was celebrating his 21st while I’m told that Seamus Ward’s mother Mary was a sprightly 88 also during the week. Congratulations to both, and many happy returns.
Also on Saturday night, I was privileged to see the remarkable victory for Wales over England in the Rugby World Cup and even though I had tipped the English to win the tournament, I have to confess that I hugely enjoyed the Welsh win.
Our lads are going along nicely as well, and the tournament as a whole is very entertaining and exciting. I’ll discuss it later on when the important stuff really begins.
Finally for this week we have been out and about for a couple of nights with the tickets for the Big Dance which is taking place in Dowd’s, Glinsk on Saturday, 10th October with music by Frank Nelson and his band.
I was given out to last week by a reader who told me I didn’t say anything about the charities involved, so to make sure that I’m not in trouble this week…we divide all the proceeds between the Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West.
Both of these organisations do enormous work to help our sick and ailing people and they can do with all the support they get. All I can ask if for your continued support, and please give whatever you can! I look forward to seeing you at the doorstep, and if I don’t make it to your door, please God I’ll see you all in Dowd’s. Thanks again!
‘Till next week,
Bye for now