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Blown Away in Connemara National Park

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

The previous evening the Captain reported that a storm was coming in, so he moved the ship to Killary Bay. The ride there was a wee bit rocky, most noticeably on deck 7 forward, where my cabin was, and the panorama lounge on deck 8. Once anchored in the bay, the water was flat and we were well positioned for today’s outing to Connemara National Park. (Image: From the Killary Bay wharf looking at the Greg Mortimer.)

Aurora Expeditions contracted a local driver and bus for the two dozen of us for the next two days. Little did he know what a challenge it would be for him to navigate the narrow road to Killary Bay. However hair raising the drive seemed to him, I thought he did quite well navigating hairpin turns and thick vegetation encroaching on the road. I was also very impressed that he was able to turn the bus around on the small wharf which was our pickup spot.

I signed up for the longest hiking option, which was to the top of Diamond Mountain. (Image: Diamond Mountain from the visitor center.)

The wind picked up as soon as we started hiking and never let up. The scenery was spectacular—Irish green fields, wildflowers, Connemara ponies, and the ever-present sheep. Spring time means baby animals. I especially liked Mom pony and her colt. He might look as if he is nursing, but I think the little pony is really hiding its face from us.

The wind increased as we climbed towards the top of Diamond Mountain. When we reached the first viewpoint, our guide Jutta made the call for us to turn back. The wind would have been much worse at the very top. I’d never hiked in such wind. I had to plant my hiking stick in the ground and hang on to keep myself from getting blown over. (Turn up your computer volume when you play this video of Glen.)

The wind was much less near the visitor center, so I was able to take a few photos of plants. Rhododendrons are all over Ireland and are considered an invasive species, whereas they are prized plants in the Pacific Northwest.

(Image: Spring garlic is prolific at this time of year.)

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