Debbie Deegan's Clifden - 'my idea of heaven'
My idea of heaven is Connemara - any time of year. For a weekend, I can't think of anywhere nicer than the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, on the Sky Road in Clifden. I've been going there for years. I leave Dublin as early as I can, so I can get into my room and snuggle down. I love a fire lighting in my room, and I love stunning views, and it has both.
Friday night is dinner in the hotel's very special dining room. Later, the bar is party central, and the owner, Brian Hughes, sings with guests until the early hours. It's a unique experience, and you may even win a medal for dancing.
Sunrise on the Sky Road would take your breath away, so I'm up early. Then, after breakfast, it's off to Letterfrack, to climb Diamond Hill. The views are stunning from the top. Then I'd drive on, past Kylemore Abbey, through the breathtaking Inagh Valley, and head to Ballynahinch Castle for local salmon on their brown bread, and turf fires.
On Sunday morning, I pop into the prettiest guest house in Ireland, The Quay House. The owners are friends of mine for years, and I'll have the best organic breakfast there.
I head back towards Dublin via Dogs Bay, where I always grab a walk, then to O'Dowd's in Roundstone for crab claws to die for. After lunch, I sadly leave behind the wild seas, the white ponies on the hills, and the heathery air, and I'm back home by 6pm, refreshed and rejuvenated.
The To Children With Love ball is on May 11, at Clontarf Castle, D3. For tickets, contact Debbie, tel: (087) 817-4217
Sunday Indo Living