This is the third and last part of my travelog from our trip to Ireland, covering days 5 and 6. Please take a look at Part I and Part II with many more pictures of the areas around Galway and the city itself, if you haven’t already!
The fifth day was dedicated to the northern Connemara area including the National Park and Kylemore Abbey. We set off in the late forenoon driving about one and a half hour to the National Park. Apart from the horrendously strong wind, the weather was really fine. The sun was out most of the time and the clouds created an interesting view with their casting shadows on the landscape. The landscape itself with its flora, the mountains and the lakes was really breathtaking wherefore we stopped several times for photos.
After arriving at the National Park we studied the hiking routes in the area. There are four trails, called Diamond Hill Trails – named after the 442 meters high mountain in the area. We decided to try the hardest path up the mountain itself. In the beginning the trail led us along some pasture where we watched sleeping horses.
We followed the path further and enjoyed the interesting flora and the view, which already was spectacular. At this time of the year the area isn’t the greenest, but in my opinion it was very beautiful. Moreover, the park administration did a very good job in building the walking trail. After some time we arrived at a bog meadow with a wooden footbridge. This path led us to a stone monument from where the red-marked trail up the Diamond Hill began.
The final trail immediately got steeper and the horrendous wind wasn’t that pleasant. But we fought our way further up for about an hour and we were rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Connemara area. Sadly the wind got so strong that we found it too dangerous to climb further up to the summit, so we decided to return to the stone monument. There we took the blue marked path which took us back to the Visitor’s Center.
After this beautiful hike we left the National Park for a brief visit at Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920. First we visited the souvenirs shop for some more memorabilia. As it was already quite late we decided to skip the Abbey visit due to an expensive entrance fee which we weren’t willing to pay for catching only a short glimpse.
We headed back towards the hotel but also took our time for two stops for some more pictures of the landscape and some sheep which calmly stood at the side of the road. You really have to be careful when driving in this area.
Galway Aquarium and Salthill
On our last day in Ireland we decided to drive to the Salthill Beach just west of Galway where also the Galway Aquarium is located! We bought the tickets and headed inside where we were greeted by some curious fishes :-).
We wandered through the Aquarium and saw some interesting residents of the sea including some seahorses, jellyfishes, rays, lobsters, crabs as well as Nemo and Dori 🙂
After this interesting visit we wandered along the 2 km long Salthill Beach promenade, enjoying the good weather and the view over the Galway Bay.
Oughterard and Aughnanure Castle
After our visit of the Salthill area we drove back to the Hotel for lunch and started to pack our suitcases for the journey home on the next day. Then we thought about what we could do on our last afternoon in Ireland. We remembered crossing a little Village named Oughterard on our way to Connemara, where we saw a nice stone bridge and a lovely park named Oughterard Shrubbery. The decision was made, and we drove there to explore it and it was beautiful!
On our way to Oughterard we also noticed a sign which leads to the Aughnanure Castle. On our way back from the village we followed the signs to take a look at it. We arrived at an empty parking lot and followed more signs to the castle. Sadly we were too late and it was already closed.
Nonetheless it was a beautiful ending point of our first journey to Ireland. We headed back to the Hotel and prepared the rest of our luggage before going to bed as we had to leave at 6 am to Dublin Airport. Again I didn’t take any photographs on this travel day because of heavy rain. However, we were very lucky that the weather (except from Wednesday) was really nice during our vacation.
Ireland is a beautiful country, we enjoyed our week exploring a little part of it very much and we will certainly come back to the green isle at some time in the future to explore more parts of it! I hope you enjoyed the travelogs with all the pictures!