I was sitting here reviewing some photos from 2012 walking tours, when I thought, well, why not share them in a blog post. So here we go. I’ve selected five photos that might inform the would-be visitor to this wonderful part of the world what a walking tour in Mayo and Connemara might consist of. I hope you enjoy the pics.
The first is of the wonderful Atlantic Ocean. Being out on a boat, heading to or from one of Mayo or Connemara’s offshore islands is a real treat. This pic is of the imposing cliffs on the western edge of Inisturk, on an impossibly beautiful early summer’s day. The light was fab that day and we really enjoyed a great stroll around this small, beautiful Mayo island.
The second is of the very special Bangor Trail, a centuries old drover’s track across bog and below mountains in west Mayo. Though this was taken on a bright day, it actually suits this lonely, hidden place to be under lower cloud cover. This is a fantastic, wet place – a place where Atlantic blanket bog and wild west of Ireland weather will dominate you, rather than the other way around.
This is the low-lying and very remote Mullet Peninsula, in north west Mayo. Beyond Belmullet town, this place is a full 80 minutes drive from Castlebar or Westport. But it’s very much worth the visit, even if only to tramp along its stunning beaches in bare feet. Feel the wind in your face and look out over the haunting islands and rocks of Iniskea, Inisglora and others.
In February, fog filled the valley floor below Maumtrasna, as we approached from Barnahowna. Slowly, it dissipated, to reveal the twin corrie lakes of Loughs Nambrackkeagh (foreground) and Nadirkmore (below the dramatic cliffs, beyond). Ireland’s finest example of a true plateau, Maumtrasna offers excellent loop walks, taking in its fantastic valleys.
With its broken down homes as backdrop, Iniskea Island makes for one of the finest day trips in the West of Ireland. The boat out from Blacksod is a treat in itself, skipping between the Mullet peninsula and various little islands and rocks. The island, with its fascinating mix of human history, tragic tales, industrial heritage and varied coastal wildlife, is a place visitors never forget. A very special trip.