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One More Stop! Athlone, Ireland (Day 18)

We left the comfort of Inishmore, Aran Islands by plane and arrived quickly (8 minutes) back at Connemara Airport.  Our rental car was still there and so was all its contents.  I have to say it was very easy to travel to the Aran Islands by plane via Connemara Airport.  Someday, I would like to see and stay on the other two islands.

Today, we were headed back to base camp at Castle Chic (Donabate), but we were not just driving back across the mainland in one 3 hour trip.  Nope, we had plans to see some sights midway and overnight in Athlone.  We planned to first go to a petting farm and then to see the monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise as our last big hurrah on this Chic Family Road Trip.


Farms and fairy trails. My girls are right at home. We are making our way back around to our starting point. Mentally preparing for our return with mixed feelings. — at Glendeer Pet Farm.

My kids had a hard time leaving the puppies and kittens! They sure were darn adorable. The puppies, not my kids.  Molly has decided that she wants a farm when she grows-up, so we will soon have plenty of animals galore.

You are probably thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of pics of fairy doors." Well, Caitlin insisted on a pic with EVERY single one that she found. All 5,482,365 of them. So, I've actually spared you.

We ended our visit with lunch at the cafe located in Glendeer Pet Farm.  This is more than just a petting farm.  There's also a playground (with obstacle course and maze), picnic area, and of course, the fairy forest.  It's located off the M6, so was very convenient for our journey back east.  We continued from here to the nearby Clonmacnoise.

Ending our sightseeing the proper way - monastic ruins. Mid-6th century early Christian site boasting round towers and high crosses among its treasures. — in Clonmacnoise, Offaly, Ireland.

This was a treat! Super cool site that sits along the Shannon River. There is lots to see amongst the ruins - high tower, cathedral ruins, high crosses, and grave stones.  We knew we were overnighting in Athlone, so just took our time wandering.  

We could easily have made it back to Donabate in a couple hours, but were glad to add another stop as we could all sense the end of our trip approaching.  We stayed at Alverna House and it was perfect as they are a family with young children.  My girls instantly bonded with their daughter.  

We went into Athlone village for dinner.  I had read in one of my guide books that Athlone has THE best thai restaurant in Ireland.  Well, that is a pretty big claim so we decided to check it out for ourselves.  I will say that the service was great (the staff made it fun!) and we really did enjoy ourselves, but as we left, Rob said, "it would have been better if we hadn't heard the claim."  

We went back to Alverna House and the kids enjoyed playing with the homeowners' daughter, while Rob and I relaxed with a few rounds at their pool table.

Before leaving in the morning, we had a lovely breakfast and the kids got to play some more.  But, it turns out this wasn't our last stop.  We saved the best for last!


  1. Gorgeous photos!!!! What an amazing trip - makes me want to go to Ireland right now. This is so my passion as well-- to travel (as in adventure; not in the entertaining-only sense) and explore together with our kids while we're all still young. ;) we need to get together sometime to talk!!!

  2. Thank you Melissa for your kind words! I feel we are kindred spirits and look forward to getting together very soon. Let's encourage each other to travel :)