Hello and welcome to my new year’s day virtual walk.
Firstly I want to let you know that our WINTER SALE is now on! 20% off ALL our handcrafted pendants and necklaces so I hope you enjoy shopping the sale!
As I mentioned the other day, I was in Connemara a few days before Christmas, and managed to take a little time out to bring you on more of a road trip than a walk – so come along with me for a drive around one of the most beautiful Drives in the world – the Sky road !
Regarded by many as the best drive in Ireland – or even the world , our route will bring us on about a 16 kilometre – 10 mile drive that begins in the town of Clifden and will bring us out along the wild Atlantic way . In fact, the best way to enjoy this route is by car as its rather unsafe to walk on this road as there are no footpaths, there are several blind corners and a roller coaster number of hills and drops. Let’s jump into the car and off we go…
As I said a moment ago the drive begins in Clifden , let’s head west up the hill and head out , passing the famous Abbeyglen Castle hotel. I have stayed here many times in the past and can promise you that the Hughes family will give you a warm welcome and treat you like royalty when you visit !! As we head upwards, we can see the town of Clifden nestled below us and the Twelve Bens mountains in the background.
After a few miles let’s stop at the gate that forms the entrance to Clifden Castle and let’s get out for a walk around. Passing under the entrance archway it’s a short stroll down the old driveway to admire the ruins of the Castle . It was Built in 1818 by John D’Arcy who was the local landowner. As you can see it was built in the Gothic style and was said to have hosted lavish balls and parties in its heyday. However, D’Arcy sold up and the castle has been uninhabited since 1894. After that time, it fell into disrepair and is now the ruin that we see today. As we re trace our steps we can see an ancient standing stone . Local historians tell us that coastal communities settled here in the bronze age !
Righto, back into the car and let’s head onwards, we can see the ruined castle below us as we get the first sight of the Atlantic ocean and take a look at the old coastguard cottages that helped save lives at sea over the years.
I think that you will agree that the light today is amazing , its that thin Mid-Winter atmosphere that shrouds the whole landscape in shades of grey and pale colour – simply amazing. An odd shaft of sunlight breaks through and this brings a flash of colour to the hills and water but it’s changing minute by minute.
Our next stop will bring us to the highest point of the route and we can park our car and get out to admire the views. To the west we can see Clifden bay, Omey island and a host of bays , coves and offshore islands. Beyond the horizon the next stop is America !!
Let’s head onwards, watching ourselves as we round the corners, and we can see hardy Connemara ponies, sheep and several ruins as we go along. Before we hit the main road back to town lets stop at the pier near Streamstown and take a look at the lobster pots and currachs. Now , a currach is a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame, over which animal skins were stretched, though nowadays canvas more usual. The surface is made watertight with a generous coat of pitch or tar ! The construction and design of the currach are unique to the west coasts of Ireland, and it’s amazing to see these in everyday use . usually powered by oars , can you see that some of the modern versions have outboard motors !!
As the daylight will soon be gone, lets head back to Clifden for a reviving cup of tea, or as you are not driving – threat yourself a new year’s cocktail !!
Let me wish you a happy new year and I hope that you enjoyed coming along with me today.
Stay well and all the best, Stephen