CONNEMARA...continued

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil Richard Lovett

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Clifden is a well-situated little town, standing at the head of Ardbear Bay, and shut in to the north and east by a circle of mountains. There is not much trade carried on here, and this whole district has never recovered fully from the terrible famine experiences. But on a market day the crowd of peasants and the various business transactions present much that catches the attention of a stranger. The women in blue or scarlet cloaks, the men in frieze coats and knee-breeches, the pigs and sheep, the lively actions and conversations, all combine to make up a picturesque and animated scene. The best excursion from Clifden is through the Martin country to Roundstone and Urrisberg, a hill which although only 987 feet high, yet from its isolated position affords a lovely view, and presents phenomena interesting alike to the botanist and geologist.

Kylemore
Kylemore

Those who follow the beaten track, after staying the night at Clifden, will proceed by car another 40 miles to Westport. This route also carries the traveller through some magnificent scenery. Soon after reaching Letterfrack, the Pass of Kylemore is entered. If a choice had to be made among the many exquisite scenes of this region, not a few would award the palm to Kylemore. From Letterfrack the Pass of Salrock and Lough Fee are easily reached, and lovely views obtained over the Killary, an arm of the sea running inland for 12 miles, and often compared to a Norwegian fjord. An even better centre is Leenane, beautifully situated at the head of Killary Harbour. From thence a whole series of most delightful excursions can be made. By ascending Mweelrea, on the north shore of Killary Harbour, 2,688 feet high, a superb view is obtained. A charming and less fatiguing trip is to Delphi and Lough Doo. The valley of the Errif, Lough Natooey, and many other parts of this pleasant region, afford the best of sport to the angler. Lough Natooey is famed for its gillaroo trout. The main road to Westport continues up the Errif Valley and across the watershed into the valley of the Owenwee. During the ride some grand views are obtained over Clew Bay.

Westport, like other towns on this coast, is prepared on a somewhat ambitious scale for a prosperous future, which has not yet arrived. It is situated at the head of Westport Bay, an inlet of Clew Bay. It is certainly beautiful for situation, and hard by is the lovely park of the Marquis of Sligo. Beyond this is Westport Quay, with its warehouses and wharfs, but having nothing wherewith to fill them. To the south and west the prominent feature in every view is Croagh Patrick, the lofty conical mountain whence, according to tradition, St. Patrick finally cleared Ireland of reptiles. The mountain has long been the scene of pilgrimages. But in these days it is quite sufficient to rest its claims to attention upon purely natural features. The view from the summit, about 2,500 feet high, embraces a glorious prospect over Achill Island to the Donegal Highlands, over the whole expanse of Clew Bay with its thousand islets, and over the mountain regions of Connemara.

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