A couple of weeks ago I took you on a journey through Connemara along the Wild Atlantic Way. But there is more beauty to be seen in Connemara, even when you are not on the Atlantic. And so I made my way across to the hinterland of Connemara again, accompanied by cRAmerry and Silverbluelining who were here to visit me. In case you are curious – there were no sightings of a particular gent who may or may not have been filming in Connemara. All you are getting to see in this post is what Connemara looks like. Not a camera, a crew member, a catering truck in sight!
For a quick overview of what *he* was seeing, here are some pictures. If you’d like to see more, there is a slide show of Connemara, Part 2, further down.
Lough Corrib and Lough Mask provide the blue in a landscape of greens and browns. And for some medieval ruins I have thrown in a few pictures of Cong Abbey, Ashford Castle and Aughnanure Castle to give you an impression of the still visible remains of the past in this landscape.
After a 200km drive in heavy rain we arrived to heavy skies that were just opening up, illuminating the bare mountains with golden rays of sunshine. The next morning we took a wander in the grounds of Ashford Castle, on the shore of Lough Corrib, and had breakfast with tea and scones in the sunshine. Ashford Castle was built in the early 13th century on a site overlooking Lough Corrib that had previously been a monastic settlement. What you see nowadays is not what the castle looked like in the middle ages. It is in fact the Victorian re-imagining of a medieval castle… Today it houses a
fancy-schmancy 5-star hotel.
More impressive and definitely original are the remains of the Benedictine abbey in Cong. The early abbey (7th century) was destroyed and re-built twice, the last time in the early 13th century. Today you see some beautiful masonry work on the fragmented cloister.
According to the hostel proprietor, they had filmed in the Abbey the week prior to our visit. As you can see in my photo, with a bit of trickery and perspective it is possible to create the illusion of seeing a sort of intact building. In truth, the Abbey is a ruin, inhabited by the wind – and rooks…
My favourite photo –
as usual it is one that would usually be considered a fail.
We also stopped at Aughnanure Castle, the stronghold of the “Ferocious O’Flahertys”. It is beautifully intact from the outside, but was closed for renovation of the inside. But this will give you an idea what the “residences” of medieval clans looked like:
As you can see, the tower house is a defensive structure. They are usually found in the more inaccessible parts of Ireland where they were built along the shore or in the mountains to defend and control the surrounding area. They are often called castles – but they are only a castle if they are surrounded by further walls and enclosures. Interestingly, they were predominantly built by the Anglo-Irish (and the Gaelic clans only to a lesser extent). Don’t expect to see them in Pilgrimage, though – they are a later defensive/architectural style than the 13th century.
As for the elusive medieval road-movie: We did enquire after it, rather surreptitiously, in a couple of places, but everyone around there was
There, we may not have seen Mr A. But we saw Connemara. And had a road-movie of our own. That is more than enough!