Connemara National Park - Letterfrack
Connemara National Park is located in the west of Ireland in County Galway. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980. It encompasses around 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Large areas of the land was formerly part of the Kylemore Abbey estate.
In the past the various landscapes were used for varying purposes and evidence of their use is still visible. A number of remains of human presence are evident in the Park, the oldest are megalithic court tombs, some date back 4,000 years. Additionally there is an early 19th century graveyard but, not much is known about this. Around this time a well, Tobar Wweelin was tapped to supply water to nearby Kylemore Castle, it is still in use today. Stretches of the old Galway road, used more than a century ago are still visible in northern sections of the Park, other sections are hidden by vegetation. Ruined houses, a disused lime kiln, old sheep pens, an ice house and old walls in several parts of the park are all remnants of human occupation here, in the past.
The park is well known for its variety of bird life. It is rich in wildlife with many animals making their home here including, field-mice in the woodlands, with rabbits, foxes, stoats, shrews and bats more frequently found in the boglands. A famous inhabitant here is the Connemara pony who can be found roaming the area.
There are four well maintained walking trails that vary in distance and difficulity, they can all be accessed from the Visitor Centre and they will have more details about them, as well as guides. The climb up Diamond Hill can be tough but well worth it for the spectacular views. The fresh air is invigorating and it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The playground is suitable for smaller children and contains a variety of wooden equipment including see-saws, slides playhouses and a tunnel. There are picnic tables with views of Diamond Hill.
Connemara National Park Visitor Centre is positioned close to Letterfrack Village, it provides a great deal of information on local wildlife, history and geology in addition to details of the stunning walks. There are also exhibits and an audio-visual show. In the summer months there are programmes of walks, talks and special events aimed at younger visitors. It is a good place to start before heading out, as you get a good introduction of the area.