Thursday 25th July ’19
I woke up this morning a little damp, but none worse for the wear. After checking the office a few times, they opened right at 10:00am. Considering that I had called 3 other campgrounds the night before, and none of them would allow me set up for the night and settle up in the morning, I thanked them profusely for allowing me to pitch camp for the night, and then after paying them, I left my wet camping grounds right away. It was still drizzling, but I could see the sun struggling valiantly to fight it's way through the overcast morning.
My first stop for the day was at Aughnanure Castle, which was built by the O'Flahertys in the 16th century. Their family motto was "Fortune favours the strong". They were known by the people of what later became known as Galway City as "a mountainous and wild people" and were the called the "Ferocious O'Flahertys".
It was still drizzling when I got there, but as the morning went on, the rain and clouds started clearing up.
One of the things the "Ferocious O'Flahertys" were known for, was their warm and welcoming manner of greeting guests. They would bring their guests into their castle, and feed them fancy and plentiful meals. If however, they felt the guests were traitorous (or even just "in the way"), they would be murdered and dropped from a hole in the floor of their dining room, directly into the fast flowing rivers that coursed directly under the dining room. Their bodies were carried miles away and if they were ever found, the O'Flahertys could claim innocence and no knowledge of the manner in which they perished.
After a number of years, due to erosion, the entire dining area collapsed into the river, and was washed away. Today, the river flows peacefully.
Not too long after leaving the castle, the weather took a turn for the worse. The rest of the day stayed very much the same, with the sun and the clouds vying for dominance. Rain interspersed with clouds and sun kept the weather very changeable.
I stopped for a fair while marveling at the way the clouds were washing over the Inagh Valley and Maumturks mountain range in Connemara. I know I missed the best light shows as the sun peeked through the clouds, but this photograph really shows the mood of the day.
After a very short drive, I saw a beautiful lake with an Island of trees in the middle that made me pull over. It's called Pine Island in Derryclare Lough. The lough is popular with fishermen for both salmon and trout. There are the remains of an old walkway across the lake to the island.
Due to all the rain, the ground was very boggy, but surprisingly, not very muddy. It literally felt like I had a spring in my step. I cannot ever remember feeling ground like this anywhere else in the world. It was strangely satisfying.
A short ride to the west, I found the sun sparkling over Ballynahinch Lough which is fed by Derryclare Lough.
The rest of the journey made me sleepy. Because I kept counting sheep. They appeared out of nowhere, in singles, and groups. One after anotherzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......................
Feeling waaaayyyy tooooo sleeeeeepppppyyyy after counting all those sheep, I pulled into Clifden Camping and Caravan Park, and after getting my campsight set up, I pulled open my laptop to start editing and writing my blog, only to be greeted by no internet. At all. Not even a bar. Which was very unfortunate, because if I had found a bar, I could have at least had a beer.
And then to compound the issue, the heavens opened up again. And poured cats and dogs the rest of the evening and the next morning. Which was a real pity, because there was a lake called Shanakeever Lough behind the campgrounds that was absolutely gorgeous and would have made for an amazing sunset or sunrise photoshoot. This glacial valley lake has been the site of a number of reports of sightings of unknown lake creatures. The first reported sighting was in 1945. The beast was reported to be horse-like with an elongated body. Further sightings were made in 1963 and 1982 and reported a large eel like creature in the lake. I guess I wasn't meant to photograph it.
But looking at the bright side (unfortunately nothing bright weather related), I at least I had a good nights rest.