Visitor's Guide of Tooreen in Co. Mayo

An appreciation of Tooreen as a holiday destination, from one delighted Swedish family who insist that Tooreen is so good it actually deserves a song!

Email from Gunnar Stahl, Linkoping, in Sweden

My wife and I and two good friends of ours, all of us from Sweden, spent the first two weeks of September in Western Ireland. It was our first visit to Ireland and we were really overwhelmed by the natural scenery, the culture and the welcoming people.

Even the weather was good, no rain at all during the first week. We made daily trips by car but every evening we returned to our accommodation in Tooreen in order to take a late walk in the quiet surroundings, make a visit to Frayne's bar or just relax after all the new impressions of the day. Sometimes it's quite a job being a tourist!

After travelling 3000km in 14 days in Western Ireland (no further than to Donegal in the north and Limerick in the south), including Achill Island and a boat trip to Inishmor, we have really seen a lot. But on the other hand, you can ask yourself the question: have you really felt the atmosphere of Ireland? Sometimes tourists seem to be in a hurry in their attempts to explore as much as possible.

Therefore I'm thankful for our stay in Tooreen with the tolling of the church bell, the mooing of the cattle grazing on the hillside, the morning fog looking like a fairy dance above the fields, people saying "Howyeh!" when passing by, hurling matches on the pitch, the pints at Frayne's bar or even just watching RTE channel on TV. These things are worth a great deal in order to compensate for the busy travelling.

The farm cottage we stayed in, and now owed by Anne and Tommy Feeney, was formerly the home of the late John Morely. He was, as I understand, a real poet and songwritter. I am not but yet I wish to dedicate a few verses to Tooreen.

As an admirer of Irish music, I've noticed that many names of towns and villages are to be found in the song lyrics. Whether this is the case concerning Tooreen I don't know, but it certainly should be. Even Tooreen deserves a song!

I am glad I have seen
the hills of Tooreen
and the roads where the
blackberries grow.
On the top of the hill,
I remember it still,
that wonderful, marvellous view
and the shimmer of
fresh morning dew!

In the end of the lane
there is gentleman Frayne
with his bar (when he's free
from the farming).
We were happy to finish
some fine pints of Guinness
while finding the
atmosphere charming
though our comsumption
got never alarming!

We were watching a sport
of a curious sort
and we learned quite a
lot about hurling.
If I give it a "go!"
I might end up as pro
but on that I won't bet
one pound sterling
at my age it's more safe
to play curling!

The night time we spent
at a suitable rent
in Feeney's self accommodation.
It's a house with good feeling
from the floor to the ceiling,
perhaps it's the best in the nation,
we really enjoyed our vacation!

So farewell now Tooreen
I'll keep your memory green,
in my heart you are always to be.
But you're still to be seen
on the computer screen,
I have found many websites about thee
and I can read 'Western People' for free!

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