Hello and welcome to this weekend’s virtual walk.
My team were working on our quarry in Connemara the other day, its been months since we have been able to go there, but now that travel restrictions are lifted we can get back to work lifting the beautiful marble.
I had a few hours to spare and it looked like the afternoon would be dry so decided to take a hike up Diamond hill. Its been a few years since I last visited this route , so, pull on your hiking boots and come along with me for a two hour hike that will put your muscles to the test.
Diamond hill is an isolated peak located in the Connemara National park. It is quite near Kylemore Abbey and about a 20 minute drive from the quarry. Lets park the car and before we head up let me tell you a little … Diamond hill is named in Irish “Binn Ghuaire” meaning “Guaire’s peak”- named after an ancient local chieftain and stands at 442 metres (1,450 ft) high. The hill is a popular peak with tourists due to its paths and boardwalk and is famed for its views of the Twelve Bens mountain range, and western Connemara. In latter days it’s become known as “Diamond Hill” as it relates to the glitter of the quartz crystals and white stone found on the mountain.
The National park is really well organised – there are lots of parking spaces , restrooms , and a shop and visitor centre . There are three different walks up the hill and we will take the most challenging red route.
As we head upwards take a look at the Connemara pony and her foal in a nearby field, an ancient oak tree and just round the corner, hidden in the heather are a herd of long horned goats ! There are plenty of black faced Connemara sheep about too – they are a particularly hardy breed of sheep and would need to be given the harsh weather !
Our route brings us across several boardwalks that cross the boggy surface. I think that you will agree these are a godsend as we would be squelching up to our knees . As we begin to ascend , the good folks in the National park have put in steps made from rough stones .. they are a bit uneven so watch your step. As we go upwards we can see a native oak tree, the heather in bloom, and the bog cotton too. There are showery clouds suddenly after appearing – typical west of Ireland weather, but the light changes by the second as the clouds swirl overhead .
Now there is a blast of rain, glad we brought our anoraks to save a soaking !! .. watch out as the path is even more slippery! However take a look at the white quartz outcrop as we approach the summit – you can see how it’s reflecting the sunshine that has just now come out .
After and hour of hard slog we have reached the top, and boy, its really worth it for the views. Take a look northwards and we can see all the way up the Galway and Mayo coast .. I can see the conical peak of Croagh Patrick and Achill Island stretching out onto the Atlantic ocean. To the south east the majestic Twelve Bens loom – wow they are really impressive. Below us we can see the lovely Kylemore Abbey and walled Victorian garden .. its amazing to see it all from above.
Let’s rest for a while and soak up the view, the air and the beauty of this place. But not for too long .. I can see more treacherous clouds coming from the Atlantic, so I think it would be best to head down.
Once again the downward route is well mapped , and in fact its a slightly different route as its a one way system , which is so sensible , especially when there would be crowds about .
I think it’s the pull of gravity, but the downhill walk is far less difficult, but still will take an hour as we stop to savour the sights and vistas from the hill.
So, safely back in the car, I will be glad to swap my boots for my light shoes and I will bet that tomorrow we will have a few aches and pains !!
Thank you for coming along, it is so easy to see where our inspiration for our jewelry and marble pieces come from when we think back over our walk today – the colour, beauty and rugged, natural landscape is stunning. Until next time,
Sláinte , Stephen.
You can see our jewelry at www.connemaramarble.com