I'm not going to bore you with every B&B I have stayed in on this trip, and every meal I have photographed before eating, but I want to post a recommendation for the first B&B we stayed in after we left Dublin, as the experience was really special:
Clifden, Co. Galway
00 353 (0) 95 21263
It's situated on a hill on the edge of the town, about 10 minutes' walk from the fleshpots of Clifden, as part of a working farm. That means it isn't pretty-pretty, but the views are spectacular. Here's the view one way ...
... and here's the other ...
Don't expect IKEA furniture and Laura Ashley curtains. It's clean and modern, but far from trendy. Just how I like it, in fact. Everything worked*, the bed was comfy, and the 'Full Irish' breakfast (same as a Full English, but further West) was an all-dayer. Best of all, the welcome was friendly, genuine and fulsome. I had phoned the owner, Mrs Coyne, the day before to book, but by the time we got there she had wisely decamped to Lanzarote for a well-earned break, leaving the operation in the charge of her daughters.
In the hospitality trade, there is a fine balance to be drawn between over-familiarity on the one hand and over-formality or, worse, unctuousness on the other. I'd rather be called 'mate' than 'Sir', I suppose, but rather than either of those I like to be greeted with polite but genuine friendliness. As if I matter, but not too much. The girls managing the B&B delivered this in spades, and we left with genuine regret.
I mentioned to Mairead that I wrote a blog with a mainly motorcycling audience, and asked if they had any objection to motorcyclists as guests. Not at all, not at all, was the response, so I asked if they minded if I gave a recommendation to any bikers touring the area. They said they were happy with that.
So, if you are touring the West Coast of Ireland and need somewhere to stay in the area NW of Galway, you would not be disappointed if you stayed here. Fabulous, remote and beautiful scenery, and a great place to lay your head and let the bike cool down a bit.
We'll be visiting the area again, and where we will stay is a no-brainer.
*I'm lying again. I couldn't get the iPhone or the lapdog to connect to the free wi-fi, although this has not been a problem elsewhere. However, since one of the brothers set up all the IT in the house and it works for everyone else, I'm sure this is something that could be resolved if it really mattered. For me, it didn't matter enough to make a fuss about.