2.7.15

Connemara


Ireland is a rather small island. In some two or three hours you can reach the opposite coast. So, I took the bus from Dublin to Galway, where another bus took me around Connemara. Connemara derives from the Irish “Conmacne Mara”, “conmacne” being an old tribe and “mara”, the genitive of the word for sea.  There are different definitions of the Connemara borders – what is sure is that it’s limited by the Atlantic to the north, west and south. Anyhow, it’s more or less this area and I have pointed out some of the landmarks I had the pleasure to visit during a day trip.

The driver of the bus, Ken, took us on some surprisingly narrow roads and he was also a perfect guide with an unlimited knowledge of the region, the places, the people, the horses, the sheep, the cows…. One little problem with the narrow roads is that a bus cannot always make a stop on the most spectacular sites and some of my photos were taken through the bus windows.

Our first stop was at the Ross Errily Friary, founded in 1351 by Franciscan monks. They were expelled several times, returned… until 1753 when the place was abandoned.   

A next stop was made in the charming little village (some 50 inhabitants) of Cong, surrounded by streams on all sides (please note also the duck pedestrian crossing).


As you can see, we experienced some rain approaching the village.


There is a surprising statue in the village…

Cong was the filming location for John Ford’s 1952 Oscar-winning film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara… (also filmed at the nearby Ashford Castle, now a luxury hotel which we did not visit).

Here are some pictures from the movie…


… to be compared with photos I took. (Obviously the Ross Errily Friary also served as background.)

We then passed by the Lough (lake) Mask area...  


… and continued our way among horses (“Connemara ponies” – a famous breed with a mixture of Scandinavian – the Vikings - and Andalusian – the Armada -  origins) and (mostly “blackface”) sheep…

… in the direction of the Killary Fjord, 16 km (10 miles) long. Spectacular. This is a place for a large production of mussels in crystal clear waters.

We then arrived at the Kylemore Castle, originally built around 1870 as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a medical doctor, MP, who inherited an important textile manufacturing business and could “offer” this to his wife Margaret. She was already dead in 1874 at the age of 45, Mitchell lived until 1910, but was forced to sell the place a year earlier to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester, who again were forced to sell because of gambling debts.  In 1920 it was bought by Benedictine nuns who had fled from Belgium during WWI. They still own the place, but they have recently given up the fashionable boarding school they had been running.

Today you can (only partly) visit the Castle…

… the neo-gothic (notice the nice female faces of the gargoyles) church…

… and the mausoleum where Margaret and Mitchell are buried.

They also created a Victorian garden… with a charming house for the chief gardener.

On the way back to Galway, we had a look on a peat / turf exploitation, quite common here and turf is partly even used in power stations. There are different opinions about this. Ecologically correct to use this as burning material? Rather leave these peat-lands / mires in peace?                


10 comments:

Anonymous said...



Your superb photos brought to my memory that Nobel Laureate's remembrance of his beloved:

¿Y que me dicen de sus ojos verdes? Aquella ilustracion de la campiña Irlandesa...

Thank you, M.Peter for this wonderful post.
Maria

martinealison said...

Bonjour cher Peter,

Je me réjouis de visiter avec toi ce joli pays qu'est l'Irlande que je ne connais que par des reportages et complétés maintenant par tes belles captures photographiques accompagnées de tes mots.
J'ai vécu un long mois en Ecosse. J'avais eu la chance de pouvoir traverser en long et en large ce pays et j'avais beaucoup aimé les Orcades...
En admirant tes photos, je retrouve cet atmosphère...
Je m'en vais faire un petit retour en arrière dans tes précédents billets...

Gros bisous ☼

Ps : Nous venons d'acquérir un petit appartement à Montmartre...

Kate said...

Your post makes me weep; we had to cancel our June 14th trip to Ireland because of illness.

claude said...

Magnifique reportage ! Des montages super chouettes !
Le Connemara, région d'Irlande rendue célèbre par elle même bien sûr mais aussi par la chanson de Sardou.
J'aime beaucoup le film de Ford, "L'homme tranquille", je l'ai vu au poins quatre ou cinq fois, si ce n'est plus. Je préfère de loin le voir en VO.
Merci de nous faire partager ton voyage.

joanny said...

Seeing these photos make my heart sing for joy, the photos look like they were magically lifted right out of a fairy tale book - nicely described and beautifully illustrated.

Studio at the Farm said...

Absolutely wonderful photos, Peter! What gorgeous countryside.
Kathryn

Siddhartha Joshi said...

So many beautiful shots! You did a lot of research work for this post...well done :)

Jean Pierre said...

Wonderful photos and commentary. I always learn so much from your posts. Thank you.

Linda said...

Beautiful series of photos! Thank you so much for sharing this tour. Bonjour de Montreal, Canada! :)

Mesaj said...

Thank You I am.