Máméan to Mannin

Horses near Renvyle

Horses near Renvyle

Happy almost weekend! I am totally dragging today, but working from home tomorrow which is fun and helps to break things up a bit! Had a great dinner at dbar here in Dorchester this evening, which I will post about someday soon. I am excited to share more of our Ireland with you so without further adieu. . .

Back as promised with a post on Connemara, the mountainous, seacoast West coast of Galway, Ireland. If I had to pick one place in the world as my favorite, it would be here. While I could probably write forever about Connemara, I have decided to pick a few places that write about, and if you are interested more please feel free to email me.

Cleggan

Cleggan

We typically stay in my in laws house in Galway and take one of two roads out to Connemara, either the road through Oughterard, a charming little fishing town that is the gateway to Connemara, or out the Cois Fharraig, the coast road which I usually prefer because of its breathtaking sea views, and a glimpse at the Aran Islands if it is clear (And don’t be mislead by the bad reputation – Ireland can have really horrific weather, but I have been there more than once for a week of straight sun! The November we got engaged we had 10 straight days of sunshine and 60 degree temps!).

For a good workout and some great air, head to Máméan, a sheep-dotted mountain that houses the Shrine of St. Patrick and provides a medium level hike, along rock formation stations of the cross. At the top you will see a statue of St. Patrick and wonder how it got there (helicopter) and the curved rock that is rumored to have been St. Patrick’s bed. The top of the mountain doesn’t take long to reach from the parking area- maybe 40 minutes, but you can see for miles and miles from here, and all that you can hear is wind and intermittent baaaah’s. The hike down is easier and quicker, of course, but stop and look around. There is nothing like this in the world.

Mamean

 From Máméan I would suggest either heading to the majestic and woodsy Ballynahinch Castle for lunch by the fire in their pub or to the fishing village of Roundstone, probably most famous in America for being the set of The Matchmaker with Janeane Garofolo. In Roundstone, O’Dowd’s is a fantastic spot to try some local smoked salmon with brown bread, seafood chowder, and a perfect pot of tea or an Irish coffee.
roundstone
From Roundstone, drive along the coast to Dog’s Bay and then on to Mannin Bay and Ballyconneely. The beach here is particularly special because it is where we got engaged in November of 2005. It is also the place I brought my father’s ashes in 2003, and a place where I hold a lot of love and peace. The seemingly endless beaches and bay are perfect for picnics, running, long walks, and kayaking if you have brought a kayak along. Again, you are welcome to walk on land that belongs to farmers, but ensure to respect it in every way possible. I love the no borders way of life out in the country and hope that people respect that so that it doesn’t change!
Ireland can look down right tropical!

Ireland can look down right tropical!

engaged!
Mannin Bay/Ballyconneely are a very short and bumpy drive from the town of Clifden, that is quickly becoming a city! Stop here for petrol, to stock up on snacks at the grocery, or to grab a coffee or an ice cream. In itself, Clifden is a charming place surrounded mostly by still untouched countryside.
Be sure to make your way back in to Galway city in time to watch the sun set on Galway Bay and to hear traditional music at the many many pubs that offer it nightly.  I could keep writing for the next hour about Connemara, but am ready for bed. I am sure there will be more Ireland posts, as there will always be more Ireland. I leave you with a photo of the valley that my husband grew up in. Enjoy, goodnight, and I welcome any questions or suggestions!
Eric's home

Eric's home

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Tags: hiking, Ireland, Nature, Travel. Food

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