You know those scenes in movies when a rushing protagonist is forced to slow down because there are nonchalant sheep roaming the road? Well, you can experience it live for yourself in Connemara, West Ireland. After months of wishing it into existence, I finally packed my bags and my family and went there for three days. Three days that felt a bit like leaving this world and travelling to some parallel universe, an alternative reality. And not only for the sheep, but also the vast spaces, the mountains, the small winding roads, the green, the raw beauty of wilderness…
One of the things that made me want to visit Connemara was this little island in one of the region’s many lakes. I kept seeing it online and in print at different times of day and year. So the goal of our first day in Connemara was to find the spot and see it for myself. I have to say, I was not disappointed.
Before we left home, naturally, I had researched a few things I wanted to see and experience. And yet, the best things often pop up unplanned, don’t they? One day, after a cruise and Kylemore Abbey, the sun was still up and the crew still had some energy, so we decided to drive close to the ocean. There was a little beach. We stopped. Pulled the sleeping child out of the car. And had a great time! Simply walking across the sand, soaking in the evening sun, dipping our feet in the bitingly cold water of the Atlantic, collecting pretty stones and seashells, as well as laughing at daddy’s attempts to catch marine life with his bare hands only knee-deep in water. And look, he actually managed to do it!
Earlier that morning we took to water in a different way. Killary Cruises offer a 90 minuteboat tour of Ireland’s only fjord. It is a great way to enjoy the magnificent landscape, especially for a driver (his eyes had to be glued to the narrow roads for so long, while the rest of us were taking in the views). And the crew were absolutely amazing! Look who was allowed into the skipper’s cabin and even got to steer the boat! Cheeky pirate 🙂
And then there was “Holy’s Castle” leaning against the mountain, with a majestic lake at its feet (better known by adults as Kylemore Abbey). There was the colourful and pretty town of Clifden, with a rollercoaster ride up into the sky just off it. The views a-top of it were absolutely spectacular, even at dusk, but I certainly got a few new grey hairs sitting in the front passenger seat while driving up a narrow road at the side of the mountain before we got to enjoy them. There were charming little villages all along the way, cosy souvenir shops (with plenty woolen goods, of course), there were other travellers, smiling, happy to be there.
As for the sheep… Well, they are funny little things. They are apparently used to cars passing by now and again and pay them no heed/attention. However, as soon as you stop to take a picture of them, all of a sudden they get very suspicious and dash away as quickly as they possibly can. Not the best photo models.
Life is good in Connemara. Slower. Greener. Peaceful and somehow more natural. As a fella in a pub put it, “the only bad things that can happen to you out here is a bit of rain on your head and those blood-sucking midges”. Tempting to believe…