24 April 2018

It's a Long Way to Connemara

Over the past weekend some members of my camera club and myself went on a trip to Connemara on Ireland's west coast. It is an absolutely beautiful place. We set off on Friday morning around nine, and it was ten hours before we set foot in the hotel, simply because there were so many beautiful places along the way too!

The first place we stopped was here - Glencar Waterfall, in County Leitrim. After we had had our lunch in the lovely café, we walked up to the waterfall. It's very pretty.

It's all about framing up that perfect shot.

I'd brought my little Blue Belle figurine with me, partly for good luck, and partly so I could take some pictures of it wherever I went, like a little mascot for the farm.

I climbed a few more steps and there was a tiny flock of sheep. This was the first of many encounters with the Mayo Blackface sheep.

Next to the café were yet more sheep, so of course I had to take pictures of them too.

The waterfall and café are on the opposite side of the road from the car park, which looks out on - you guessed it - more sheep.

Turn around and there is a dramatic cliff face.

We journeyed on. Some colourful plastic flowers in Westport, County Mayo:

We then stopped at a memorial sculpture to the Famine, but I do confess that I took a moment to look at some sheep across the road first...

The view behind the sculpture was the best I had seen so far.

The sculpture itself was very powerful.

I got a photo of little Blue Belle there too.

But then my attention was drawn to the real horses and ponies that had been distant silhouettes in the bay. They were coming closer!

We got into the cars again, and then we came upon Doolough Valley, also in County Mayo. It was truly breathtaking.

A little further on, we arrived at our hotel, a full ten hours after we had set off that morning.

The following morning, after a full Irish and too many slices of toast, we headed for Cong which sits on the borders of Mayo and Galway. I was having trouble with the insoles of my boots so I didn't take many pictures here, and I didn't really like how they turned out. But Blue Belle had fun at the Abbey!

We stopped for lunch (or in my case, something to drink - Cong was very warm!), and by the time that was done, it was approaching two o'clock. The others were heading to Kylemore Abbey, but I had somewhere else that I really wanted to be - Killary Sheep Farm. Thankfully it was on the way to the Abbey, so I was dropped off, and of course it immediately started raining. But I wasn't bothered, as there were lambs in the shed!

They were very cute. I really wanted to turn this into a lamb shopping opportunity, but it wasn't very practical, really, so far from home. But being in the shed, I got a close-up look at the Mayo Blackface. This one had had her lamb that morning.

I really like them, and I would love to get my hands on a couple of ewe lambs at some stage.

Farming is not all sunshine and roses. This ewe lost her lamb to a fox, so farmer Tom is using the skin of the dead lamb to try and trick the ewe into rearing another one.

There were some weaned pet lambs. They were quite a size.

Also in the shed were ewes and their lambs. They could come and go as they pleased.

The view from Tom's yard.

As three o'clock approached, more tourists started to arrive. The rain wasn't falling just as heavily, so Tom led us out to enjoy his sheepdog demonstration. My camera got a bit wet, but totally worth it!

The star of this display was sheepdog Roy. (He reminds me of Sheila so much!)

Display over, we all went inside to feed the pet lambs. I fed my favourite, a little two-day-old Mayo Blackface ewe. Since I couldn't take her home with me, I called her Ruth in my honour.

The rest of the pet lambs enjoyed the attention too.

My lift back to the hotel arrived, but before I left I squeezed in a little more sheep photography.

What a trip it was. The weather was (mostly) fantastic, and I ended up falling in love with both Connemara and its stunning landscape, and the Mayo Blackface sheep. The hotel provided great rooms and delicious meals, and the company I was with provided the great craic. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed myself!


  1. Super collection of images here, as always of course..

  2. Wow what beautiful and rugged country! Love you photos. And those sheep are gorgeous. YOu definitely need some for your flock!
    Is the dog a Kelpie?

    1. Roy is a Border Collie, although I do see the resemblance to a Kelpie! :)

  3. Wow. The colours are amazing and I loved all your images.

  4. OMG, I visited Ireland many years ago when I was in my 20's. These photos so make me want to go back. I may have to show my husband and see if I convince we should make another trip some day.

  5. Hi Ruth!! You got some stunning scenery shots on your trip. They would make great postcards! Some great sheep shots too. I was going to ask if the sheepdog had any Kelpie in him, but read your reply above. He is a striking dog, with all that black. Hope you are doing well.