Thursday, July 26, 2012

Connemara to Mayo - #100corners

On a glorious morning I set out west from Spiddle into deepest Connemara. The fine day made this one of the best days on the road I have had so far. The forecast was for a clear day, and for a change reality matched the forecast.

I headed for Rosaveel which was very busy with people heading to the Aran Islands. There are great views of the islands, and North Clare all along this Connemara coast.

Next up was Costelloe (Casla) - if you draw a line directly west from Blackrock in Dublin (where I live), it would pass through Costelloe. Villages and towns like Costelloe, Carraroe, Lettermore, and Lettermullan are very close to each other. The roads are quite good and I was enjoying myself riding through the rugged landscape of Connemara. There was a real treat in Lettermullan where I saw a sign for a Heritage Centre down a small lane. The Centre was a based on a collection by a local man called Conneely - lots of tools, traditional items, books, medals, and typewriters. A real treasure trove that is well worth a visit. Further down the same lane was a Lloyd Tower - the west coast equivalent of Martello Towers.

Patrick Pearse had a cottage near Ros Muc - set in a beautiful location. The curators told me that he did a lot of writing there, including his famous "The fools, the fools...." oration at the graveside of O'Donnavan Rossa. The cottage is quite simple and it does not take long to view it - but it is a must for any student of Irish history.

Moving on, I set out for Roundstone and Ballyconneely - the countryside here is very rugged, with little or no tillage. Lots of rocks and stone walls about. At Ballyconneely I turned off for Slyne Head. Great countryside, and a smashing location for the Connemara Golf Club. You can't get down to the Head as the land is private - there is even a "Beware of the Bull" sign to keep the nearby campers out.

On the road to Clifden I stopped at the Alcock and Brown monument - a simple sculpture in the shape of the tail of an airplane. Close by I saw a sign for the Alcock and Brown landing site and museum - so down a dreadful surfaced lane to nothing more than a lump of concrete in the shape of a bullet. Very boring and not worth the effort to see.

At Clifden I stopped for a coffee at Walsh's Bakery. Clifden was very busy with lots of people about. It was very crowded with cars and it was even difficult to park the bike on such a hilly street. After Clifden I headed out to Cleggan - not too much of interest out here. I rode past Letterfrack and Kylemore Abbey - a nice ride on a twisty road. Just outside Leenaun I was in for a real treat when arriving at Killary Harbour. It looked great in the evening sunshine. Killary harbour is really a fjord, and it was great to pass up and down both sides before heading to Louisburgh via the Lough Doo Pass - another treat though mountains and valleys.

The final leg of my journey today was along Clew Bay to Westport. I stopped in Murrisk to view the Famine Memorial and Croagh Patrick - the crowds had gone for the day, though there were still a few hardy people on the mountain.

I am staying with the Bourke in-laws tonight - tomorrow it is off to the rest of Mayo, though the weather forecast is for more rain tomorrow. The weekend and next week is not looking good either.

(No photos this evening as I am not in 3G for WiFI land).

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