The Way West run was held on the Sunday of the May Bank holiday weekend. In fairness due to my own work & Family commitments, it wasn’t as well flagged to members as it could have been. However as it turned out, quite a few people decided to come and a few made a weekend of it, due to the great offers available in the Falls Hotel.
Sunday morning and the weather Gods were favouring us in our endeavours. Partly I suspect this was due to the frequent and late night ritualistic offerings at the altar of some of the local hostelries by our most indoctrinated members. After a hearty breakfast, the troops began to assemble in the car park and the attending cars were duly whipped into line for identification and photography purposes by the General.
In all we had 8½ Porsches in attendance plus 2 other cars which in fairness were driven by Porsche owners who just had family commitments for the weekend.
The ½ Porsche was my daughter Ruths’ new pedal Boxster which was a source of amusement to Adults and Children alike as it had been driven around the bar of the Falls the previous night.
The first port of call was the Cliffs of Moher. Due to the weekend it was, I think 80% of the tourists in the country had descended on the Cliffs at the same time as us. It took almost a half hour to get all the cars in, which sadly broke up the group for photography purposes. The Cliffs are 214m high (700 Foot) at the highest point and range for 8 kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. Spectacular!
Onwards we rolled following the coastal route through Doolin. I once heard an Australian tourist say that there were only 2 places worth visiting in Europe… Amsterdam and Doolin. Locally both places would be well known for the same substance. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a stop, but the humming beasts did attract a few admiring glances from the outdoor patrons of the local watering holes. Beautiful coastal Burren scenery greeted us on the route, along with the pristine waters of the Atlantic and views over Galway Bay as we rounded Black Head.
Into Ballyvaughan and we broke for lunch in the Burren Lodge which somehow managed to accommodate the cars and get us all seated for their carvery lunch, which went down well with everybody.
The “North Loop” took us on past the Aillwee caves. Formed by glacial melt water after the last ice age, the caves had been inhabited only by animals including the Brown Bear which is extinct in Ireland over 1000 years now until their discovery in the late 70’s. They extend about 1.5km into the mountain and there are numerous stalactites and stalagmites which were formed over thousands of years. Well worth a visit if you were never there before. Unfortunately our timing didn’t allow a stop, but maybe next year?
Our next stop, just up the road, was Poolnabroin dolmen. The dolmen was reconstructed about 10 years ago after developing a crack in its top after 5000 years of service. (Bit more reliable than even a Porsche really). Worth seeing as it’s free and part of our megalithic history. Apart from that, it’s a serious feat of prehistoric engineering.
We carried on through the village of Carran (sorry residents, did you really think we were attending the funeral?) and along the Stelvio Pass, sorry the R480, along a green road which at one stage I thought was going to end up in some farmers yard! Anyway we passed Eagles rock and some beautiful “Lunar” landscapes in the heart of the Burren, which not many tourists get a chance to see. The road took us back through Ballyvaughan again and heading for base this time via Corkscrew Hill.
A regular feature on the original Circuit of Ireland Rally (when it was a true circuit) I was looking forward to a spirited drive up its many hairpin bends. Unfortunately, due to a couple of untimely temporary traffic lights and an “idiot” coming down against them, (mucker!) the spirited drive never really materialised.
We headed on through Lisdoonvarna and back to the Falls. I had informed Dennis the previous night that I know Willie Daly quite well and that it was possible for something to be arranged…but sure roll on September, the Matchmaking festival presents its own opportunities!
The evening was rounded off with a convivial dinner and a copious few refreshments in the bar along with the usual banter and craic.
With grateful thanks to Jas & Tanya Rait, Michael & Kathryn Comber for much needed help in planning the event. Also thanks to all who participated and turned up to make the day:
Dave, Vivienne & Katie Whelan
Margaret & Ruth
Jas & Tanya Rait
Derek & Maria Doyle & beautiful girls
Michael & Peggy Spellman & Family
John & Pauline Moylan & Family
Look out Falls Hotel, I think we’re on for another excursion in the Future.