Connemarra Dreaming

 

When I visited Connemara few years ago it was  love at first sight. The best  combination of lakes, mountains, rivers,  winding road to drive all day long and views. Horizon stretching bogs on one side, looming mountains on other. Unpredictable weather goes without saying.  Even though I visited this region of Ireland already couple of times, there was still places on my list to be visited.

So, with brief itinerary laid over, I set off one Saturday noon, just to arrive in Galway and then holidaymakers traffic on road to Cliffden.  After some slow-ish progress, I made it into open roads. I turn into direction of small town Roundstone, which was plagued by people watching regatta.  Quickly I navigate around pedestrians and continued further up. Arriving at first stop – Cleggan Bay. Again, not welcoming scene for me – full car park, people having picnic on low tide beach. I turned around and headed towards nearby Dog’s Bay.

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Much more to my like. Almost nobody anywhere, beautiful pristine soft sand and crystal clear waters. Both bay are actually on opposite to each other on small peninsula. Cleggan on east, Dog’s Bay on west.

Low tide was only let down, but then it revealed some nice rock formation at the begging of beach.  Walking on very soft sand, my feet were leaving prints few inches deep, I came across peculiar sight – cows grazing on grass, some of them wandered on beach.

I was once again in my elements. The sun was getting lower, sky was turning into amazing colour show.  Some local kids wandered in, but I was not to be distracted from my job – capturing nature’s beauty once again.

With camping on this beautiful spot I ticked another of my bucket list goals.  It was quiet night, and I woke up into calm foggy Sunday morning. There was a little less drama on sky, but then high tide was offering another opportunity.

After breakfast and some more sleep, I packed up and headed west towards another location – Derrygimlagh bog. This nature’s feature covers large part of Connemara from Roundstone to west and north towards Cliffden.  Once place of history in making. It was where Marconi build his first wireless transatlantic communication station and also landing site of first non-stop transatlantic flight of Alcock & Brown. There is very well laid trail with points explaining history of this place, both technical and nature. I highly recommend to visit this site.

The road brought me into Cliffden, where I stopped for some local shopping and was back in car. Heading back eastwards, I turned onto small road to Carna, which brought me to crossroad leading into Roadstone or scenic drive thru Derrygimlagh bog. i took the second option. The narrow, occasionally bumpy and twisty road was a pleasant change from hustle of busy main roads. I drove around for most of that day, just enjoying scenery and nice sunny summer day.

I planned another sunset shooting of famous Pine Island at Derryclare Lough. But the clear sky promised a dull evening without clouds to add any drama. I turned south, copying the banks or Owenmore river – famous for trout and salmon fishing.

I stopped at one of the small fisherman’s hut, as some clouds rolled over mountains. A lonely fisherman was trying his luck that evening. I got few photos including this guy. Then he finally stopped, turned around and finally noticed me being around. We had a little chat, explaining our motivation and what we trying to achieve that moment. I guess, I was a little more lucky. Since he was complaining about damage done to fisheries in rivers. IMG_0467_copy

I set down for night in beautiful and tranquil Lough Inagh valley. Morning I drove to planned location – Pine Island at Derryclare Lough. We I arrived, some fellow photographer was just getting out from night camp in his Land Rover Defender. We had a little chat, then everyone went his way. Without any cloud in sight it wasn’t looking for dramatic or long sunrise. And on top, usual  Irish midges were having breakfast on our behalf. Then I was distracted by some buzzing noise above my head – I looked up and saw a drove this other fellow was using. Damn things!

After some sleep and breakfast I went to Cliffden to post obligatory post card to family and set for another on bucket list – Sky Road and Omey Island. Now, I drove the Sky Road on my first visit, but the weather was so horrible, that I hardly could see 50 metres ahed of car. So long for great view.

This time it was much different story – sunny day, crystal blue water, beautiful vie over small islands and open Atlantic ocean beyond them. Only drawback was traffic of holidaymakers. And finally I arrived at packed car park at Omey Island. This island is accessible only certain times a day – basically one drives on sea bed when is low tide. It’s only few hundred  meters and well signed. Only have to watch out for pedestrians. I was surprised, it was little bumpy so no speed record was broken.

Also, annual horse race is being held here, but that was weekend after my visit. But it’s just another thing added to my list. As day was getting into evening, I was time to sum up this trip and find one more location for few last sunset photos.  I drove up the Errislannon, small peninsula just south of Clifden. From another Alcock & Brown monument, there was great view over Derrigimlagh bog and Cliffden bay.

I met some american tourist on bike, as he finished his mountain stage and taking rest, engaged once again in small conversation. We parted our ways, as I walked into the bog, searching for the best view to capture beauty of this part of Ireland. Connemara is still my favourite place. Since my last visit, I seen changes, which are to my like. Don’t get my wrong, the local businesses deserve boom they enjoyed, with more tourist attracting to visit this region. It’s just personal preference, that I try to stay away from crowded places. Next time I will choose different time of the year. Meanwhile, good by and see you again.

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