Beautiful Places To Visit In Co. Galway, Ireland
Our Travel To Co. Galway
We left Counties Donegal and Sligo behind us. We were on our way to County Galway, our next destination of these three weeks tour in the year 2004. We passed through Ballina, Westport and some fantastic places of Co. Mayo without knowing that in the next four years, we would be living in Carne Rock, Co. Mayo.
Our guest house was located in Oughterard, the heart of Connemara. On our way to the guest house, we passed the Croagh Mountain, the holy mountain in Ireland. Croagh Patrick is a few kilometers from Westport, Co. Mayo. According to Wikipedia, Croagh Patrick called the "Reek" to the local people is tall with its 764 meters height and is very important for the pilgrimage every year on the last Sunday of July. It was known that St. Patrick fasted for 40 days on the summit of this mountain in the 5th century. The legend says that a silver coin was thrown by himself down the mountain and knocking the demon and banishing all the snakes in Ireland.
Beautiful Places To Visit
The Twelve Pins or Twelve Bens
Twelve Pins or Bens are the twelve mountains located in Connemara, Co. Galway. They are amazing and breathtaking landscapes with lakes and wildflowers growing everywhere. We had to stop more often than we could, just to enjoy the beauty of the nature around us. It was so windy and cool without the sunshine although it was in May. We had met many people walking on the streets because Connemara is a great destination for walkers. It is also a destination for poets, painters and photographers. Once, we had to stop for an hour for there were a lot of people following a funeral in going to a cemetery nearby.
On our first day in our guest house, we drove to Connemara Heritage Center where we booked for our Connemara tractor tour in going up to one of the mountains. It was an amazing view of the mountain from where we could see theAtlantic ocean. Our tour guide was telling us that it was on that Atlantic ocean where loads of Irish people left their country by ship in going to America looking for a better life. There was a famine at that time.
The Famine Village in Connemara
The Famine Village is the village abandoned by the people who were living there before the famine. What exists now is all ruin cottages left behind by the owners. Nobody wants to restore the village as it is the reminder of hunger time in Ireland.
Clifden is the capital of Connemara. It is a good starting point or a base for your walking tours to the Twelve Bens. It is surrounded by beautiful landscapes that you will really have the longing to stay longer than you want. There are a Connemara Pony Show and Pony market every year in August. Connemara Ponys are small Irish horseriding Ponys.
Kylemore Abbey is a 19th-century castle and is one of the tourist attractions in Ireland and it is surrounded by mountains and lakes in Connemara. It has a Victorian garden and is very lovely for families who want to enjoy the beauty of nature. It has its own craft shop, pottery and restaurant.
Oughterard is in the heart of Connemara. It is a small village located upon Lough Corrib and it is known for fishing brown trouts. There are lots of amenities besides fishing. You can play golf, go hiking, walking, cycling, boating and lake cruising, horse riding and many others. You can visit also the 16th-century Aughnanure Castle nearby.
Galway city is the capital of Co.Galway. It is a colorful city with lots of culture and traditions. It is a lively city with lots of pubs offering cultural Irish music and dances. We started our tour in the city from the Eyre Square. There´s a John F. Kennedy Memorial Park where we rested after our shopping. You will enjoy visiting the pubs for their wonderful atmosphere while drinking a pint of Guinness like the way I did.
While having a window shopping, we saw the Lynch Castle, a city castle built in the 16th century. There is a legend about this castle. It was said that Mayor James Lynch, who was also a judge in the 15th century, executed his own son Walter, who had killed a Spanish royalty, his rival in courting a woman. Walter was so popular in the community in Galway that nobody dared to execute him. The Mayor who had a sense of equality and justice had no choice but to execute his own son and went to a monastery after this. That´s how the "lynch justice" came from. (Source: Wikipedia) You can see the Lynch Memorial Window on the marketplace where the execution happened.
Ireland has impressed me much not only by the beauty of the emerald "garden" that it has but also how friendly the Irish people are. In Galway city, I once took a seat on the bench between the statue of the sitting Oscar Wilde,( an Irish poet and writer) and a statue of another prominent person. Then suddenly an old woman came to me and said in a soft-spoken voice, `Love, you are not allowed to sit on that bench.´ I said I´m sorry I did not know. She said it´s alright, there´s no harm done. Then she left. I was so touched. She could have scolded me. If that happened to me in Germany, I would be very upset because I would be scolded in a rude German voice.
© 2011 Thelma Alberts