Well there I was last week thinking it had been a while since my last stay at the wonderful Twelve Hotel in Galway when I saw the bags being packed and loaded in the car.
I supervised proceedings to ensure that my bag was packed too, as I wasn’t going to be left behind no matter where we were off to.
Snuggling down in my bed in the back seat, we set off and I sniffed that we were heading North, which was very promising indeed.
We stopped on the way for a quick dogguccino in Clarinbridge but in short order, we continued on to Galway city and out the other side. This was really looking promising and I howled with excitement as we pulled into the Twelve.
I strutted into reception and who was there to greet me only my favourite receptionist, Monika, who always makes a great fuss of me.
Going up to our room, there was another lovely surprise. Not only had Monika left me one of her wonderful sketches of me, there was a mysterious package on the table. What could it be?
I sniffed it carefully and determined that it was for me – I mean who else could it have been for? I’d like to say I neatly opened the package but it’s a bit difficult with paws – I ripped the paper to shreds in my excitement but luckily didn’t damage the contents because what was inside only two beautiful paintings of little old me.
I knew Monika was a talented artist but I had no idea how brilliant she really is. There was one of me outside The Twelve Hotel and a gorgeous portrait that had me thinking I was looking in a mirror.
I was thrilled with them both. I’ve been an opera star and a TV star but this is the first time I’ve been an artist’s muse. I rushed downstairs to thank Monika with lots of loving licks.
The hoomans got smartened up for their dinner in The West Restaurant that evening while I stayed in the room, happy to admire my paintings.
They came back after their food raving about the cod for starter and the pork main course but they didn’t save any for me. How inconsiderate of them.
We got up early the following morning to head out into the wilds of Connemara. It was a lovely Autumn day and the blue skies made us think we were abroad. Our destination was Mam Éan, a mountain walk leading to a little church where we wanted to take pictures.
Leaving the main road, we drove slowly along what was little more than a cart track, with sheep all around us. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the car park, it was a case of No Dogs Allowed, on account of all the cows and sheep wandering around. Reluctantly, I had to concede the wisdom of that so we continued down the road, passing loads more cows and sheep and even a friendly horse or two before we arrived at the beautiful Lough Inagh, where we stopped to take some pictures.
From there, we drove to Clifden, where the Arts Festival was in full swing and the place was only buzzing. The hoomans had a nice G&T and later, we all had a dogguccino before heading back to the Twelve, stopping off for a final dogguccino at O’Sullivan’s, the brilliant Grocery/deli in Oughterard.
After a tasty pizza in the Pins Bar back at The Twelve, it was back into Galway city as Friday was Culture Night.
There was a real buzz about the streets and we were lucky that the weather was holding out. We strolled around, enjoying the atmosphere and stopped at Tigh Nora for one of their own Gins. They smelled delicious but I wasn’t even allowed the merest hint of a taste.
On to The Claddagh then, for a special performance of opera arias as part of Culture Night. Beautiful Galway Hookers had their sails up and excerpts from operas were projected from the shore, with the music wafting over the water. I really enjoyed the spectacle and posed for some photos in front of the lovely boats just as darkness fell.
It was back to The Twelve then for a cocktail to round off a magical evening
What more do you want? Culture, Cocktails and a dogguccino or two. Life is good.
Motoring editor - The Clare Champion
Former Chairman and voting member of Irish Motoring Writers' Association