Killary Harbour Coastal Walk

Killary Harbour

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! 🙂

view of Killary Fjord from hiking path

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 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.

Killary Harbour

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 wall along Killary harbour walk

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.

full view of a long stone wall

View of the other side of the stone wall along the Killary harbour walk.

climbing a gate along the path

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.

hiking along Killary habour

We hiked at a family pace, and whenever I needed a rest I just took pictures!

climbing high on the Killary coastal path

The walk was manageable with some rocky terrain, some dirt paths, and some country roads.

view of Killary harbour

A requisite selfie with my husband 🙂

Killary harbour view

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

Rosroe pier is where the coastal path ended and the country road path began.

stone cottage

stone cottage along the road

stone wall and sheep

Two common features: stone walls and sheep.

Mayo Blackface Sheep

Mayo Blackface Sheep, originally from Scotland, are mainly raised for their meat and not their wool.

looking down hill of path

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!

view of hills

Although different from the coastal views from the first half of the hike, the views were beautiful along the entire walk.

lake view

We passed some lakes, too (see the sheep?).

rhododendrons and lake view

The Rhododendrons were at the very end of their season, with just a few blooms left.

lake and mountain view

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

turf drying out in pyramids

In the bog you could see the turf being dried out after being cut into briquettes, and arranged in pyramids.

turf pyramid

briquettes of turf

bog land

Harvested turf

bog cotton

Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), also known as bog cotton (thanks goes to my sister-in-law for knowing this!).

sheep in road

Typical scene in Connemara

road sign

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 fin in Killary harbor

Dolphin in Killary Harbour as seen on our boat tour

Any plans to visit Ireland? 🙂

In peace,

Beaches in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

It’s summer vacation time and we had the opportunity to explore a bit of Ireland as a family.   We decided to head to the West, choosing to explore around  Connemara, County Galway.  The landscape in Connemara is so beautiful and unusual.  The surrounding mountains frame it perfectly.  There are rocks everywhere: making up the landscape, walls, houses, even the beaches! And of course there is the sea, which is beautiful from any angle.  At 14, 12, and 8 years old, my kids still love playing in the sand & water at the beach.  Thankfully, it doesn’t matter to them whether it is cold or not, or even if it is raining,  because Ireland is not known for its heat (or sunny weather)!  Some of the beaches in Connemara are incredibly pristine, and the water, I kid you not, was turquois.   They had a ball… while I was wrapped in a blanket. 🙂

One beach we visited was completely covered in stones, with no sand at all. We had to drive through a pillared gate to get to the beach and the sign appropriately read “stones” in Irish  (clocán). It was a short visit, but so neat to see.  Here are pictures from some of the beaches, and some wildflowers. I just bought a fantastic handbook of Ireland’s wild flowers. It is great to be able to put a name on all of the flowers we so often see!

Will you be visiting Ireland any time soon?  What are you hoping to see?

Happy Summer!

Errislannan, Connemara.

Irish sign on the stone beach in Errislannan.

A beach of stones in Errislannan, Connemara.

Stone wall with bell heather in Errislannan, Connemara.

Ballyconneely, Connemara.

Wild flowers of ragwort, pyramidal orchid and wild carrot, and my kids playing on the beach in Ballyconneely.

A pristine beach in Ballyconneely, Connemara.

Kids work.

A pristine beach all to ourselves in Ballyconneely, Connemara.

Sea Holly blooms in June, July & August. Only found by the sea, sandy strands and on the front of sand-dunes.

Sea Holly – an Irish wild flower.

The Pyramidal Orchid, an Irish wild flower, flowers from June through August, and can be found in dry grassland and sand-dunes.

On another day, on another beach in Ballyconneally (in the rain). Connemara.

Three happy kids on a sunny day in Cleggan, Connemara.

Stones in Cleggan, Connemara.