Connemara National Park Letterfrack Galway Republic of Ireland
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Route summary: Your starting point is the visitor centre at the Connemara National Park. From here, the fully signposted and surfaced track takes you along the Sruffaunboy Nature Trail before branching off towards the cone of Diamond Hill. Gravel footpaths and wooden boardwalks ease your passage over the bog as you approach the mountains, with a steady climb up the western slopes to the summit ridge. The ridge is a narrow fin of quartzite roughly half a kilometre long, which culminates in a cairn that marks the 445m-high summit. From here, look to the sea to Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark; to Tully Mountain rising over Ballynakill Harbour and along the intricate Connemara coastline. To the north and east, the Twelve Bens are nothing short of sensational. To the northeast, Kylemore Abbey’s gothic turrets stand out from neighbouring Kylemore Lough; and directly north, the summit of Mweelrea, Connaught’s highest mountain, can be seen peeping out. Your return to the visitor centre is along the same path as you made your ascent.Connemara is Irish landscape at its most dramatic. With soaring mountains, scattered loughs and an intricate coastline, this remote part of Galway is a world away from the trappings of urban life.Two mountain ranges dominate the area – the rugged Maumturks and the cluster of quartzite peaks known as the Twelve Bens. Between them, they offer up some of the most challenging and exciting hill walking in the country.Connemara National Park, near Letterfrack, is the perfect place to start exploring. Encompassing almost 3,000 hectares of mountain, bog and woodland, the Park’s visitor centre is the ideal spot to start your 7km walk up the 400m high Diamond Hill – the undisputed highlight of the Park.