view of Killary Harbour and the farmed mussels behind us as we hiked towards Rosroe pier
I have lived in Ireland for 11 years and the beauty here never ceases to amaze me. There is so much to do and see, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way. To celebrate my Father-in-law’s 80th birthday, all 20 members of the extended family went away for the weekend to the Killary Lodge, which is a stone’s throw from Killary Harbour. Despite the bad weather we’d been having the past few weeks, we lucked out with two nice days of no rain! 🙂
The coastal path had a great view of Killary Fjord.
Killary Harbour (An Caoláire Rua) in Connemara is one of just three glacial fjords in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough. It forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo and is 16 kilometres long.
I turned to DiscoverIreland.ie to learn some more information about the area:
On the northern shore of the fjord lies the mountain of Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain, rising to 814 metres. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens.
There are two minor settlements nearby. On the southern side near the mouth of the fjord lies the hamlet of Rossroe while Leenaun lies inland to the east.
Nearby lies the so-called Green Road, a rough road running along the side of the fjord back east towards Leenane at the head of the fjord. It stretches for approximately nine kilometres and was part of the famine relief program during the 19th century.
Aquaculture is important locally with a salmon farm based at Rossroe while mussel rafts are a common sight more to the east.
beautiful views of the harbour
Organizing activities for 20 people to do together is challenging. On this day, given the different abilities, we split into “hiking” vs. “non-hiking” groups. Our hiking group included 5 cousins, 2 brothers and two sisters-in-law. This hike was really nice. The only challenging part was the fact that it was 14 kilometers. It took us four hours to complete, and by the end we were all pretty tired! 🙂
Stone walls are a (beautiful) common feature.
Here in the West of Ireland, the stone walls, typically for dividing fields, don’t have mortar and are thus called dry stone walls.
View of the other side of the stone wall along the Killary harbour walk.
Climbing a gate along the path.
Waterfalls are great for photos 🙂
It is harder to see, but this is the view of the same waterfall taken from the Killary Harbour boat tour we took the day after our hike! You can just make out the stone wall pathway.
We hiked at a family pace, and whenever I needed a rest I just took pictures!
The walk was manageable with some rocky terrain, some dirt paths, and some country roads.
A requisite selfie with my husband 🙂
a blue sky backdrop looking to Rossroe
We stopped and had our picnic lunch when we reached Rossroe pier. Not only did blue skies appear, but the weather turned warmer at this stage, too.
Rosroe pier is where the coastal path ended and the country road path began.
stone cottage along the road
Two common features: stone walls and sheep.
Mayo Blackface Sheep, originally from Scotland, are mainly raised for their meat and not their wool.
The two littlest in our group, 9 year old cousins, added walking sticks at about 8 kilometers, helping them to keep going for the entire 14 kilometers!
Although different from the coastal views from the first half of the hike, the views were beautiful along the entire walk.
We passed some lakes, too (see the sheep?).
The Rhododendrons were at the very end of their season, with just a few blooms left.
It was at about this point (about 9 km) when we started singing Scouting songs! (Did you catch them on my Instagram stories?)
We saw some interesting things along the way!
a quiet donkey
In the bog you could see the turf being dried out after being cut into briquettes, and arranged in pyramids.
briquettes of turf
Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), also known as bog cotton (thanks goes to my sister-in-law for knowing this!).
Typical scene in Connemara
End of the hike for us
A picture of ‘just the girls’ at the start of our 14 km hike
I have to add that the next day, we went on a boat tour of the harbour and were delighted to see three dolphins! I managed to capture one of them with my camera, and enjoyed seeing the others “live”. What a treat it was!
Dolphin in Killary Harbour as seen on our boat tour
Any plans to visit Ireland? 🙂