Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hiking to Connemara twelve Bens Mountains,Ireland - Day 8 -10/6/12

I know my title is a bit over the top on "hiking" but would like to make it more attractive to get more readers to read this blogging as this is the most amazing and wonderful day which I had ever spent in Ireland.

Before we came to this Connemara National Reserve, I had made some google search and one of the photographer recommended this place is a must for photography. I had wrote all the places which must see but we probable won't be able to do all the places in one day.

We started the journey around 11.00 a.m. and it was 3 hours drive from Dublin to Twelve Bens. Our first destination was Roundstone Bog. So we follow the navigator to Connemara but unfortunately we lost the signal,  so had to follow the sign board showing National Park Connemara direction.  Along the way to this Twelve Bens, the scenery starting to change into rolling fields and mountains surrounding by lakes. Suddenly, the sky and surrounding change into another beautiful scenery and so we stop at the side of the road.

We cannot access into the fields and lakes as there were barrier fences about 4 foots high stop our entrance. The children decided to sit in the car to wait for us to take photos.  My husband climb over the barrier but I am in a bit of difficulties trying to climb over. Finally, I manage to find some rocky outgrown to step over and able to climb over.  The rolling fields were wet but the surroundings sights were amazing sights.

Walking toward to the lake was so beautiful with the blue sky and there was a little island in the middle of the lake. This can be view in full if we were up in the Twelve Bens. I have to admit that my first sight of Connemara made me speechless.

There is a quote by Oscar Wilde that "Connemara is a savage beauty." I think I can't think a better way to describe this place than Oscar Wilde.  Connemara has long been regard real emerald of Ireland.  This place is so serene and beautiful that I can stay here all day just to feel and absorb the atmosphere of the surroundings.

"Oh! my gosh, this is just the start of my journey and already I am  wishing can stay at this place forever."  We didn't realise how long we took to take photos of this little gem as the children still waiting in the car. Finally, I had to take my last shot and went to join the children to carry our journey to Roundstone bog.

It took us another half hour drive to reach Roundstone town, then I started to question myself whether this was the correct place.  Roundstone  bog was split into 3 or 4 sections, the 1st and 2nd sections of this Roundstone bog is the town centre which had a few shops and pubs but there isn't a lot of tourists or locals around.

We found a pub and went in to have our lunch and the foods were beautiful and delicious but quite expensive. While waiting for our food directly in front of the pub is the harbour with clear blue sky.  Roundstone Bog lies in Western Arm of Bertraghboy Bay in Connemara, Co Galway.  Beautiful views with lakes overlooking by the Twelve Bens. The village is beautifully set on one of the coastal drive overlooking the Atlantic.

It suppose to be beautiful beaches with crystal blue water but what we saw all the golden sand were covered by dark brown seaweeds so in our opinions when we first drive through we thought why the beaches was black and still got children playing on the beaches.
After our lunch we walked to the harbour following the beaches. We met some lovely tourists from Birmingham with their dog visiting their relatives in Ireland.

There were lot of crab traps nets stack near to the fishermen boats anchored near the beach. Walking along the beach and  we noticed that the black colors were seaweeds covered most of the beaches. After spending 2 hours here we turn back to go to Letterfrack where it was  best for the sunset scene. The photographer recommended that followed the Roundstone dirt bog we can view the blood stones but no exact address given so we didn't dare the risk to view the blood stones but went straight to Letterfrack.

It took us about an hour drive through the scenic roads to Letterfrack. In front of this little town with its harbour known as Ballinakill harbour. Our car need a refill as it was at it lowest and luckily this little town had a small grocery store with a petrol pump outside the shop for passersby to refill. We stop at this little town to stretch our legs but due to it was about 9.00 p.m. and we just wait for the the sun to go down at this little town.

As the sun hit the land there were lot of midges come out and they were  blood sucker monsters.  We do not any repellent with us and it's bite was quite painful.
We waited till 10.30 p.m. but there wasn't any beautiful sun set so we ready to turn back home. We drove about a few miles away from the the town centre and amazingly the sun went down and it was so amazing sights which I have never view before. My nephew found somewhere  to park the car and the children decided to sit in the car then suffer the bite of the little monsters.

We walked  about 1 mile from where our car parked and came across the the mid point where the two mountains meet in the middle and the sun set in the centre of this mid point. We just couldn't believe that Connemara constantly changes the mood and tone of the landscape.  While a few hours ago, the Twelve Bens were green mountains in front of the beautiful lakes but now it change to fire orange colors on the mountains and surroundings. Glad that mother's nature put a show for us that it kept changing it mood.

It seem the road where we driving through was leading to either Heaven or Hell. At 11.30 p.m. and the surroundings look like on fire.  We took another half hour to take some photos at this beautiful place. This place where we can hike or trek through the bog to see this beautiful sights but beware of the bogs as the surfaces look hard but they were soft under the hard surface so the shoes will get stuck or sink in the mud.

We do not have the time to trek the rugged twelve Bens  mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog to the golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. We were lazy bunnies so we just drove to wherever the destinations with beautiful sights and stop to take photos.

We drove back the same route we came earlier and came into another town and at here there were pubs and discos clubs and food restaurants still open late. We had some dinner here and then continue the journey back home. We reached home around 2.00 a.m.

Connemara is a natural terrain and unspoilt environment offers tourists a wonderful of sights, experience and activities. The people are warm, friendly and extend a  hospitality. I totally love this awesome national park and would love to come again to trek the Twelve Bens and staying around near here to take in everything this place has to offer. There are also boats for hire to enjoy a cruise around these beautiful lakes surrounded by the mountains.

Places: Connemara National Park - Twelve Ben or Pins, Roundstone Bog and Letterfrack.
Photos by: Robert Suen and Catherine Suen
Scored: 9 stars
Dated: 10/6/2012

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