Why You Need to Visit Connemara, Ireland

Why You Need to Visit Connemara, Ireland

foreign-correspondent badge finalToday I visited the district of Connemara, Ireland. I had heard of its beauty, and seen pictures of Kylemore Abbey, and I thought to myself, “Wow, I really want to go there.” But as is the case with most places, seeing it in person was an entirely different experience.

Looking at the Connemara landscape, I realized this is truly what people imagine when they think of Ireland: farmland, sheep, rolling green hills, mountains, and small towns with populations that were as small as 90 people. Connemara is full of beautiful scenery and is a great place for any outdoor enthusiast. In the summer, Connemara is popular for outdoor activities including rock climbing, hiking, and water sports.

Connemara is almost all farmland, and the farmers in some areas even still use peat. All over the fields, you can see the piles of peat and notice the cuts which have been made into the bogs, which Ireland is covered in.

What makes Connemara equally amazing is its continued stronghold on the Irish language. Very few people today speak Irish in Ireland. (Note: Most people in Ireland refer to Irish as Gaelic). However, in the west of Ireland all along the coast there are certain regions where Irish Gaelic is still spoken and is known as the Gaeltacht. These regions include counties Donegal, Mayo, Kerry, and Galway, which is where Connemara is located.

Connemara is almost all farmland, and the farmers in some areas even still use peat. All over the fields, you can see the piles of peat and notice the cuts which have been made into the bogs, which Ireland is covered in.

Connemara is almost all farmland, and the farmers in some areas even still use peat.

Historically, the bog has been a very important part of Irish farm life. Many farmers cut into these bogs to collect peat to fuel their homes and survive through the winter. Since bogs are great refrigerators, many even stored butter in them.

A unique place within Connemara is Kylemore Abbey, a former castle-turned-monastery, as well as a prestigious girls boarding school, which closed in 2010. The castle itself looks like it is something out of a Hollywood film. It is nestled right into one of the many hills in Connemara. Tickets include access to the bottom floor of the castle (the nuns live upstairs so it is off limits), the Gothic Catholic church on the property, and the Victorian gardens, which are a short shuttle ride away.

As a chocolate lover who also happens to be Catholic, any nun who home makes assorted chocolates and fudge is my kind of nun.

Getting to Kylemore Abbey is a trek, but it is well worth it. The entire area is any photographer’s dream. To add even more incentive, the nuns’ home makes and sells goodies such as soaps, lotions and even chocolate! I purchased some of the fudge, and it was heavenly (pun absolutely intended) and reasonably-priced. I ate an entire bar of it on the bus back to Dublin! As a chocolate lover who also happens to be Catholic, any nun who home makes assorted chocolates and fudge is my kind of nun.

Unfortunately, I was only here for a day tour and did not get to stay in Connemara as long as I would have hoped. As I plan to return someday, Connemara is going to be at the top of my list of places to return. Anyone considering coming to Ireland should place it at the top of theirs as well!

Why You Need to Visit Connemara, Ireland

Why You Need to Visit Connemara, Ireland

Have you traveled to Connemara, Ireland? How was your trip? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Why You Need to Visit Connemara, Ireland photo credits: Kiera Johnson.

About Kiera Johnsen

Kiera JohnsenKiera Johnsen is a Southern California native who is majoring in political science and communication studies with a minor in intercultural studies at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. She is currently studying abroad in Maynooth, Ireland at the National University of Ireland Maynooth for the semester.

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