Our day between Clifden and Oughterard was made up of three
parts: driving the Sky Road west of Clifden; climbing Diamond Hill and paying a
brief visit to Kylemore Abbey in the National Park; travelling through the Inagh
Valley with its majestic views.
The Sky Road is an exhilarating 7ml circular drive west of
Clifden, with a rugged beauty and stunning scenery overlooking the Atlantic.
Connemara National Park was opened in 1980 and encompasses some
2,957 hectares of rugged quartzite and schist terrain of north Connemara,
stretching from sea level at Letterfrack to some of the peaks of the Twelve Bens
mountains (Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanacht). The landscape is
mantled by blanket bog and wet heath vegetation with characteristic and varied
wildlife. The visitor centre gives access to a constructed walkway to the top of
Diamond Hill, which affords fantastic views of Kylemore Abbey and the mountains,
bays and islands all around.
Kylemore Abbey has been home to the Irish Benedictine nuns since
1920. The Benedictine nuns bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent
in war-torn Belgium in 1914, where they ran a boarding school for girls for over
300 years. They re-established the school here and it is still very much alive
The Inagh Valley road wends its way through the majestic heather
covered mountains and around the picturesque lakes. With the Twelve Bens on one
side and the Maumturks on the other, the vista is ever-changing and there is a
photo opportunity at every turn.
Scroll down to see the day's photographs
Travelling along the Sky Road the views soon start to impress
. . .
and we find some curraghs nestled in a bay . . .
but this one has an outboard motor - not quite expected on a
traditional craft . . .
taking the higher route . . .
gives us the opportunity . . .
to take in lots of . . .
The Connemara National Park visitor centre is set in an ideal
location . . .
and the routes are clearly marked - ours being Upper Diamond
Hill . . .
which we can see from the centre
As we climb we are soon able to look out to sea . . .
and get a closer view of the summit
Just short of the top we take advantage of a perfect spot to
check out Kylemore Abbey and Pollacappul Lough . . .
as well as even better views out to sea
But from the summit itself . . .
we wonder which summits are the Twelve Bens . . .
We can now see Kylemore Lough . . .
and zoom in on Kylemore Abbey
Leaving the summit we spot interesting cloud formations . . .
before heading down the paved path . . .
still taking in the great views over the Twelve Bens
A last look back at Diamond Hill . . .
as we take advantage of the duck boards across the bogland . .
making the walking very easy
We take in a brief visit to Kylemore Abbey . . .
but don't get any further than the visitor centre
Heading through the desolate Inagh Valley . . .
there are more views towards the Twelve Bens . . .
and take advantage of a very quite road . . .
to stop and record the views
Just before reaching Oughterard we locate the bridge used in
the film 'The Quiet Man'
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