Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park… A wonderful day out!
Poster: Dan Murphy
Last summer I was informed by an avid hill walker from the west of Ireland that to truly appreciate the beauty of Connemara one needs to view it from a height.
My two daughters Emma and Gillian, their very close cousin Andrea and I had been planning this day trip since I received the advice and we set out on an over cast Monday morning recently.
Diamond Hill is located in the Connemara National Park in Letterfrack; a little over an hours drive northwest of Galway City. There is no doubt that it is a picture postcard setting and the drive through Connemara is every bit as beautiful, so much so that the hour or so in the car certainly seemed like a lot less, this was the consensus of my three co pilots.
The three girls agreed that there is something magical about Connemara. All were in agreement that it was the mix of the hills, mountains and stone on one side of the car during the journey and the mirrored lakes, bog and wild gorse shrubs on the other. Of course, the sheep dotted around all of the country side and also on the road was a real cause for conversation and chatter.
Jumping out of the car in the large car park at the foot of Diamond Hill was a pleasure. The visitor centre, coffee shop, public toilets and play ground are all very well maintained. The girls loved the play ground and a little while later we set out with the homemade picnic and the ‘just in case’ rain gear in our back-packs.
The full route is a 7km hike and the good people of Connemara really want you to enjoy the scenery as there is a carved out walk and exceptionally well maintained pathway up to about three quarters of the way up the hill. The last one quarter certainly is a good work out but the puffing and panting is certainly worth it.
As I would regard myself as quite fit I felt that my three companions may struggle slightly with the gradient however it was quite the opposite as they skipped up the hill in front of me at all times. In fact it was me that struggled but pride would not let me show it!
The last part is quite steep but when we reached the top and looked around there was a collective WOW from each of the four of us. We stood in awe for a couple of minutes marvelling over Connemara’s mottled coastline completed in its beauty with the cool lakes and rays of sun shine peeping through the slightly grey clouds. Stunning, beautiful, gorgeous – yes all of these!
We sat together in silence at the summit, tucked into our flask of tea, ham sandwiches and other goodies. We had reached out goal, achieved our challenge and were proud of our feat.
Incredibly tranquil, peaceful and quiet; even the air was still for a few moments and though we were only just over 400 meters up it seemed as though there was no other human being to be seen or heard for miles around…
The top section of the descent needed a little concentration but other than that it was a very comfortable and leisurely trot back to base camp all the time marvelling at the diverse and different scenery.
At the bottom, all agreed that it was a wonderful day out and the three girls have me lined up for a return trip. I think that we have all caught the hill walking bug!
For more information on the Diamond Hill Trails, check out: www.connemaranationalpark.ie
Dan Murphy is Director/General Manager at Galway Bay Hotel.