19th – 26th June
Connemara; the name resonates with romance, history and, of course, all the Celtic mythology that County Galway has to offer.
This region is quintessentially Irish. There are tiny villages where the pub is also the undertaker and the solicitor's office; one stop shops for life and sorting out your affairs for the afterlife. Grey Fergie tractors bringing peats back from the blanket bog; mountain girt loughs; a slower pace of life where Guinness, whiskey and the craic are more important than almost anything invented in the last 200 years.
This is a land with a wild Atlantic coastline backed by low, rounded mountains. We will visit windswept peninsulas where cows graze the rich grass. There are beautiful bays with fine sand and hardly a walker.
Away from the coastline we will be drawn to the Twelve Bens, a rugged landscape famed in fiction and fable. Further south, the coast is indented by numerous inlets. Here, Carna (a small fishing village) is in the heart of the Gaeltacht, an area where Gaelic is the everyday language. This is an area rich in ancient culture and tradition. The mountains offer a fine backdrop for the landscape photographer and, given good visibility, can be seen from the coast.
Our tour is based in Clifden, the largest town in Connemara and often referred to as its capital. The area around the town is rich with megalithic tombs and we will also no doubt see the famous green and white Connemara Marble, used and traded by the early settlers.
The indented coastline consists of seven small peninsulas to the north and south of Clifden. All of these are within 15 miles of the town. The roads on these peninsulas are mostly narrow and winding. The Sky Road Peninsula is only a 12 mile round trip from Clifden, with elevated coastal views and possible sunset and panoramic views of the town with the Twelve Bens in the background.
The tour will also venture further afield to visit The Burren, in County Clare; an extraordinary area of rolling limestone pavement that is both barren and rich. In the C17th Edmund Ludlow wrote of this bizarre, almost alien landscape.
“It is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one,
nor earth enough to bury him – and yet their cattle are very fat..."
Nearby are the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, a 14km long curtain of rock rising to 214m above the often stormy Atlantic.
Connemara certainly fulfils its promise of offering some of the finest landscapes in all of Ireland.
Transfer from/to Shannon Airport
All transport during workshop
Full board accommodation
Photo tuition from David Ward
Flights or other transport to Clifden
£1,950 for single occupancy
£350 fee payable at time of booking