Garromin and Cloonacartan, Connemara

Leaving Ballynahinch, the traveller passes through a district of the wildest and most gigantic scenery; upon his left rise mountains of stupendous height, upon whose bare and sterile sides the grey clouds rest in misty grandeur, while the chain of picturesque undulating hills, that skirt the Bay of Galway, stretch far away on his right. The remarkable hill of Cloonacartan stands at the entrance of the vale of Ina, from whose summit a magnificent view may be obtained of the most striking features of the Connemara country.

Garromin, Connemara

Garromin, Connemara

Glens and mountains extend on every side as far as the eye can reach; and bosomed in their deep solitudes may be seen that beautiful chain of lakes which lie between Ballynahinch and Oughterard. Amongst these lovely pieces of water, the most beautiful is Garromin Lake, upon whose sequestered shores stands Glendalough, the residence of the late Dean Mahon, who chose this solitary spot for his house, and with great taste availed himself of the natural beauties of the scenery to form there a highly romantic yet cheerful place of abode.

Cloonacartin, Connemara

Scene from Cloonacartin Hill, Connemara

On the left of Garromin Lake is a pretty cottage, called the Recess; it must have been at one time a delightful retreat; but its lonely beauty has been greatly injured by the new road, which passes between it and the shores of the lake. The tourist's next resting-place will be at the half-way house between Ballynahinch and Oughterard, where Flynn's Inn "invites the weary traveller to stay," and partake the humble but comfortable entertainment it affords. The beauty of the two daughters of the host, perhaps, contributed as much to the celebrity of this mountain hostel as the delicious flavour of the mountain-mutton, the rashers and eggs, the milk and potatoes, the fresh cream, the new-laid eggs, and last, though not least in the estimation of many, the genuine drop of potteen for which it is so justly renowned. The late Mr. Inglis made a high eulogium upon the personal charms of these mountain-beauties, who it must be confessed were, at the time he wrote, a pair of exceedingly pretty and interesting-looking girls; one a dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty, the other a laughing lass with rich brown hair and blue eyes; the very Minna and Brenda of these wilds.