Ireland had been on my and Blake’s list of places to see in our lifetime. We were lucky enough that 2014 was the year we finally got to see it. And for a special reason too. Thirty-nine years prior, my parents had spent about four months living in Glengarriff, Ireland on the southwest coast, and we were traveling as a family foursome back to the village so we could meet the grown kids of the family they had rented their house from years prior.
However, Blake and I started our journey alone in Galway after a bus trip in from the Dublin Airport; jet lag allowing me to sleep for most of the trip. And while Ireland is incredibly green, even stepping outside of the Dublin Airport I exclaimed, “It even smells green!” The majority of the middle of the country reminded me very much of the Midwest of the United States, quite uncanny to Iowa. And God knows I’ve driven through Iowa my fair share of times getting to Colorado.
So we arrived via bus in the middle of Galway and commenced to try to find a local bus that would take us to Salt Hill, a place that could be described as a small suburb just outside of city center Galway. We found the local bus, hopped on without exact change (don’t do this!), hopped off because we didn’t have exact change, hopped back on when the driver told us to just get back on the bus and made us change. See, the Irish are friendly.
I had my Google map printout with directions on how to get to Atlantic Heights. This doesn’t help much when the bus doesn’t announce where it is and the nice old man next to you only speaks Gaelic. But he tried to help me, he really did. So we got off the bus at what we thought was close to where we needed to be and started to hike with our suitcases. Turns out, this isn’t fun when it’s hot out for Ireland, you’re jetlagged and you really have no idea where you are going. A nice lady at a pharmacy up the street, and nice people in a pizzeria helped point us in the right direction.
We finally arrived at Atlantic Heights, sweaty but smiley that we were finally there. Catherine brought us tea and water while they “hoovered” our room for us since we were there a little early.
We stayed in Room E, a standard king ensuite room. Rooms are tight in Europe, but I found it very quaint and comfortable. It also had a really pretty view of Galway Bay.
After our showers to freshen up, we took a walk into Salthill. It is a delightful walk along the coastline and the beaches. On the way back to the B&B we were able to meet Madeline, the owner of the inn. She helped us book our tour to the Cliffs of Moher for the next day. In fact, the tour bus even pulls into the parking lot to load up the guests and then drives around to other local inns picking up guests for the tour. It was only about 50 Euros for the two of us for an all-day bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. A great plan if you don’t want to drive on the other side of the road and you’re still suffering from jet lag.
For our second night we actually switched rooms. We had called the inn when booking because we wanted to stay here so bad we were wondering if we could book two separate rooms since they were fully booked on two night stays in their other rooms. Madeline was happy to accommodate us. In fact, the morning of the switch we just left our packed bags in our room and staff moved it to the second room during the day.
Our second night we stayed in Room D, a standard double ensuite room. The bathroom was actually slightly more spacious in this room than the other, and the window overlooked the back garden.
But, let’s discuss breakfast. They have a really pretty sunroom that looks at the garden set up with tables for breakfast. The first morning I had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Blake had scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, which is actually ham. Along with your breakfast entrees come a fruit bowl, a breadbasket, juice, and coffee and tea. They actually hand you a menu in the morning to choose from the many options available.
Our second morning Blake had scrambled eggs and sausage again, and I had, at the recommendation of a Canadian the morning before, porridge (oatmeal) with a shot of Bailey’s on the side. And Irish breakfast indeed! Not that you’d want a shot of Bailey’s every morning for breakfast on a normal morning, but when on vacation… It was quite good.
After our second breakfast, we packed our bags and got ready to check-out. It was about 186 Euro for our stay for two nights with breakfast. Madeline was a pleasure to talk to and even helped point out local areas of interest in Ireland that we might drive past during our stay. We actually stopped at a few of them, the Titanic museum in Cobh being one of them.
She also let us know that her and her husband Robbie plan on retiring and selling the B&B in about a year. I’d hate to see this inn be sold, but I can understand wanting to retire to their farm. She was even sweet enough to drive us into town and drop us off at the train station to catch our train. She did a little driving tour of Galway showing us the sites before arriving at the train station. Madeline hugged us good-bye and I was quite sad to see her go! She tops out at one of the sweetest B&B owners we’ve ever met.
I hope some day that we will return to Ireland. I would love to explore Galway a lot more than we were able to!
Atlantic Heights Bed and Breakfast
2 Cashelmara, Knocknacarra Cross
Salthill, Galway City, Ireland
Phone: +353 91 529466