Diary 4 and the south-western Ireland, I now
head further up north along the west coast.|
13/8 2021. I find the beginning of R341; the road circling a remote peninsular. It runs through the Roundstone Bog, a wild area with peat. It follows the coast most of the time, on the narrow land between the sea and the high hills.
At first, it is mainly grassland and quite some
lakes. Then I reach the little harbour village of Roundstone.
I walk the pier and the entire main street - all 50 metres. It is
close to nine, but still appears to be real sleepy .
The landscape changes into way more rocky, and the hills get higher. This is part of the Connemara, and I have a long walk, on a farmers field. Besides from the sheep, here are so many flowering plants and different ferns. Creeks crosses the trail all the time, and if just I got sun and not rain! I find some real red peat-moss, which name I have forgotten.
R341 continues along the coast, among small harbours, fishing huts and the sheets of the sheep farmers. Some amassing golden beaches turns up, and I make yet another de-tour around an even smaller peninsular. Grass in the middle of the road, small summer huts and sheep along with great views. Some of the beaches are real rocky.
I pass some green fields with ponies, must be the famous Connemara ones. The heather covers huge areas along with the yellow Furze; Ulex europaeus. Among many other signs, I spot Sky Road Loop, and why not? It leads over the high hills, offering some great views to the sea and the many islands.
R341 joins N59, but the it does not spoil the views. Here are quite some peat-industry, dug up to make fire. I spot another tempting sign: Pollacappul Lough & Kylemore Abbey. Well, I see it from a distance, and I can't be bothered with the crowds.
I then reach Connemara National Park, but figure I can see enough from the road. It is some mighty hills, covered in a thin layer of grass and little else. Here are still many lakes, and when the sun peaks through, it look so great.
I reach the larger town of Westport, with its Georgian houses and lots of visitors. I do a tour around the old centre, enjoying the sun occidental.
Through more great nature, and I reach the 18th century village of Newtport. Just before I get to the town, the famous Viaduct is found, crossing the river. The river is more like a fjord, on the other side of the bridge. The town have some rather depressing shops. Compared to Westport, it is dead!
Outside of town, a huge beach with sand and round, red sandstones are found. Here are a few people, but most does not dip after all. I follow the coastal road, and it brings me to Ballycroy National Park. Here, I do the Tóchar Daithí Bán tail, circling the bog. Not really interesting in any way, but cold due to the wind. At least, it keep dry.
I drive through more bog and peat industry, till I reach my home for the night; a great looking private home, way out in the nature. And the view is amassing: Green grass with sheep, forest and towering everything else, the mighty mountain of Néifinn. I have a chat with my hosts, pat the little dog, do some work and then cook. Day 12.
14. I sleep two more hours, in this lovely
house. It is a greyish but calm day, when I set off to the first
site; Céide Fields. It is a real nice drive, despite the lack of
sun. Small roads leads through the green hills with scattered trees,
cattle & sheep and old farms.
The Céide Fields are some stone-walled fields, extending over hundreds of hectares, which are the oldest known globally, dating back almost 6,000 years. it is truly huge, but not really that impressive. I have to climb the fence, as it it closed, and there are no signs of opening times. The visitor-centre look real closed, but I'm not here to be bounced.
I do the long trail around the area,
seeing the lines of rocks, exposed from the meter
of turf. I guess
one have to get the history at the visitors centre, to get it. Well,
I do find some nice Common Butterwort; Pinguicula vulgaris.
Right across the road, there is a great view to some coastal rocks. And my next site is actually these, seen way out at the horizon. Sliabh Liag Sea Cliffs are not that tall, but here are several blow-holes, one quite some inland, and big.
I walk the edge, and see the around 50 meter tall cliffs. Several people are fishing here, 50 metres from the nearest water, but it should be good. I have a long and interesting chat with Alex, who came here from Ukraine 17 years ago. The area is quite flat - except from the cliffs. The vegetation real low, and the Sea Thrift ; Armeria maritima grow in a strange way; large, but real flat hills, entwined with grass.
As I head on, I spot a real tall and slender tower, and head for it. It turns out to be Killala Round Tower, towering 26 metres. It is thought to be build by Bishop Donatus O'Bechda somewhere between 1170 and 1238. The entire area is dominated by old, dark brown stone buildings, but the drizzle start, making them less interesting.
coastal road leads through a few old harbour villages, and I do a
loop in one. They have a train station, but no lines. The fjord is a
mirror, and fields continues into the village.
The area have been real flat most of the day, but now I pass a almost vertical mountain. Grass-covered, but steep and huge. Then two more turns up, one on each side of the road. I stock some food, and reach my hostel at four. That is; what was supposed to be my hostel, found in a villa area in a family house in Letterkenny.
However, one of the guys living there felt bad
this morning, and got a Covi-19 test - but not the result. Luckily,
the owner have several buildings in the area, and after picking the
owner up at the main hostel, we drive to another house. I have a chat with another guy,
living here permanently, it seems.