The Connemara - not to be missed in Ireland.
Trip Start Dec 23, 2010
21Trip End Ongoing
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Only a short drive today to Clifden but we thought we would take a scenic route around the coast road. A nice sunny day for a relaxed drive. There is less traffic the further north we go. The coast is not always as visible as the hedge 2 feet from the side of the road but often one would burst out onto an open area to reveal a spectacular coast line.
Lurching along the secondary highway we saw a 20 year old faded billboard that promised a beach or a bay if we turned left. Seconds later we wheeled around the corner with Helen grasping for the hand holds as we headed to an unknown beach. Love this kind of touring. Hahaaaa!
10 minutes later we pulled into what looked like a lazy sunny beachside holiday village
Time to get off to our accommodation in Clifden (gateway to the Connemara National park). The Ardagh Hotel was very spacious, comfortable, hospitable and relaxing. Recommend it. The Ardagh is run by Stephen and his son. Ask him about South African trekking, which he does through the northern winters. We settled in on the terrace view, overlooking a beautiful sparkling bay, with a glass of wine and watched the 2 hour sunset with dinner served to the table. How blessed we are!
We had two nights here and if we could choose to stay in the Connemara 5 nights we would. There is a myriad of shimmering inland lakes, spectacular coastal bays, castles and abbeys and 12 major mountains to climb with awesome views.
We climbed the 400m 7km Diamond Mountain http://www.irelandadventures.com/activity.php?id=537 which has a marked track and is serviced by the National park authority. This mountain offers great 360 degree views of the 12 Bens http://connemara.galway-ireland.ie/twelve-bens.htm which may be walked but maps and provisions would be advised.
Later we drove around to have a look at the Kylemore Abbey visible from Diamond Mountain, situated beside a lake and boasting some beautiful gardens. We finished the day with a drive around the inland lakes, then back to Clifden for dinner on our last night here before Dublin.