Killary Harbour - Ireland's Only Fjord.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Leenane Hotel
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ahhh Ireland and the Irish - you just can't help saying "that's a bit Irish" as you would when something is a bit odd, then you suddenly realise, well, we ARE in Ireland so its allowed to be a bit Irish!

For example, we flew into the little known West Knock airport. Our flight was with a budget airline called "BMI Baby" - can you possibly think of a more bizarre name for an airline? After picking up a hire car we found the little village of Knock close by and learnt to our amazement, that the airport was built especially, so that religious pilgrims could come to the Knock Shrine! In 1879, 15 people saw an apparition of Mary.The witnesses stood in the pouring rain for 2 hours but apparently the ground where the Virgin Mary was, remained dry. The Pope has even visited to give this some credibility and huge numbers of pilgrims come to seek healing here, but, to date, no miracles have been authenticated.

Our GPS was VERY Irish. It seemed to pick strange routes to get us where we wanted to go, encompassing many hundreds of extra kilometers, without any method in the madness that we could discern. We soon gave up and bought a map and only used the Sat Nav to navigate out of towns. 

We found the most beautiful sight however in Killary Harbour after going a very long way round. This harbour leads into a fjord, Ireland's only one, and the towering brilliant green mountains dotted with tiny specs of white sheep, cut deeply into the blue water below. We came to West Ireland to see this and were not disappointed. This Harbour is in Steve Davey's "Unforgettable Things To See Before You Die" book of which we have nearly completed.

Finding Killary Harbour was difficult, confirming we had arrived was harder. On arriving in Leenaun the lovely little town at the end of Killary Fjord we found no signs indicating any harbour. On asking in numerous shops no one could confirm with any certainty that this was in fact Killary Harbour. None of the maps we had showed Killary Harbour, however we knew from Google maps that it was somewhere in the general area. The next morning we found Killary Cruises, who thought the Fjord and the harbour were the same place, there was no specific harbour.

A lovely Irish Hotel right on the fjord had a room for us and a really unexpected bonus was a view! Luckily we had taken lots of photos as we came into Killary, as the next day we awoke to cold and misty rain and low visibility of the fjord and harbour.  A few photos more, then off in our car and with our argumentative and almost useless GPS, (re-calculating, recalculating...) we set off for more Irish adventures.

We had travelled some 30 km when Heather spotted a sign indicating Killary Harbour (the only one seen since arriving in Ireland), but no distance indicated. We decided we had come a long way and would be annoyed if we had missed the actual harbour, so we set off. The road took us down a little lane and over a range, however we found periodic signs pointing further on for Killary Harbour. However after some 15 miles we came to a T junction pointing each way to different locations, but no mention of Killary Harbour. We knew that going left would only take us back to where we had spent the night, so we turned right. The drive was very lovely, but we never did find an actual harbour, and put it down to perhaps being a bit Irish.   

Footnote: Killary Harbour features in the book Unforgettable Places to See before you die. 
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