I have something very special to tell you about, The King’s Trail has recently launched in Boyle, Roscommon and it’s an absolutely brilliant idea! I went along today and check it out after seeing a video about it. You can see the video and read more details here.
Bright and early this morning I made my way to Una Bhan which is the craft shop and tourism office in Boyle. It’s in the grounds of King House and well worth a visit for gifts alone. I met the other ‘time travellers’ who were also going on the tour and we were introduced to Sabrina – the brains behind the trail, John – the tour guide and Seamus the bus driver.
We went onto our bus and headed back in time to the 1600s. As the bus made it’s way to our first stop John told us a bit about Boyle and pointed out places of interest along the way. We soon arrived at Rathcroghan Visitor Centre where we were welcomed by the Queen of the O’Connors, I felt at home here as I was an O’Connor before I married.
The Queen told us about her life and how her people lived and invited us to break our fast with her. We were served beer, apple juice, homemade bread, bacon, pigs blood pudding, oat cakes, fruit and mushrooms.
We had a wander around the centre, watched the videos (including the one about Queen Maeve getting killed by a lump of cheese), spoke to the cows and got back on the bus. I am going back to Rathcrogan one day because I really want to into Oweynagat – the cave of the cats. This cave was known as the Gate to Hell in the early days of Christianity; the gateway to the other world.
We said farewell to the Queen and off we went to our next stop which was Strokestown. This place has the second widest street in Ireland, it’s so wide I saw a lorry u-turn today! We arrived Strokestown House and knocked on the door, a cheeky looking character opened it and ushered us in before the owner of the house came back.
This was Tricky Tom, he was brilliant! He really brought the history of the house to life and he should us around the house and pointed out various things of interest. I loved the toy room, it was fascinating.
We had time for lunch at Strokestown and there was time to check out the famine museum or go for a walk.
I went around the gardens – which isn’t included in the bus trip but I love the gardens and haven’t been for years – last time I had the selfie taking cat to accompany me.
I was delighted to see Broom Hilda now has a husband and a child, fair play to her 😉
Back on the bus and we were driven along some fairly bumpy roads as we went past the windmill in Elphin and through Croghan. Seamus, the bus driver, was pointing all places of interest including a fertility stone – I went nowhere near it! The strangest thing happened, weeks ago I dreamt about a place and I had no idea where it was, today as we were in Croghan I realised it was the place I’m dreamt about! So freaky because I’ve never been there before! Anyway I’m rambling….
Our next stop was Rockingham (Lough Key Forest Park) where Mary was there to meet us in the fishing house (the temple). I was so excited to get into this building and it was opened up especially for the King’s Trail. Mary was telling us about her job and what life was like in Rockingham back in the 1940s.
John showed us around the forest park. We had a wander in the tunnels, up to the tower and across the tree canopy before heading back on the bus for our final destination.
The last stop was King House in Boyle where a guided tour was on offer. I have to confess I was flagging at this stage and as I’ve been around the house several times I bid farewell to my fellow time travellers and headed for home.
I purposely haven’t told you the stories we were told on the tour because I don’t want to spoil it for any of you. I would really recommend this for a day out, I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s €30 per adult, there are concessions and family rates available. The price includes your bus journey and entry for all the places you visit on the tour, it also includes the feast at Rathcroghan. You need to bring money for lunch and any other drinks, snacks etc. The tour only runs for the next five weeks on a Saturday so don’t miss out.
This was the friendliest tour I’ve ever been on, it was a pleasure to go on it and I’d love to see other places do something similar. It takes all the hassle out of finding places and driving to them and the theatrical element added something extra special. Well done to all involved, Boyle should be proud of itself, it’s doing a brilliant job in the tourism and arts sector.
I paid for my tour, this isn’t a sponsored post and I’m happy to recommend it.