Lough Na Fooey, Galway’s Glacial Gem

Sep 14, 2014 by

Lough Na Fooey is a beautiful glacial lake that lies along the border between Galway and Mayo in Ireland.

Known as Loch na Fuaiche in Irish Gaelic, this small lough is set between the rugged Galway Mountains to the south and Mayo’s Partry Mountains ( Sliabh Phartraí ) to the north.

 

lough-na-fooey-county-county-galway

Western end of Lough Na Fooey, with the Partry Mountains on the right and the Galway Mountains on the left.

The lough is in the heart of Joyce Country (Dúiche Sheoighe), a region of Galway and Mayo that takes its name from a Welsh family who settled in the region during the 13th century. We discovered this pristine lough when we drove to Finny from Westport in Mayo to see a sheep herding demonstration at Joyce Country Sheepdogs, which lies right beside Lough Na Fooey.

 

Lough Na Fooey donkeys

The donkeys of Joyce Country Sheepdogs graze on hillside overlooking Lough Na Fooey

Lough Na Fooey is fed by numerous mountain streams, as well as the River Fooey, Abhainn na Fuaiche.  Not nearly as large as nearby Lough Mask, Lough Na Fooey is just half a mile wide and about 2.5 miles long. It has a soft, sandy beach on the western end which is ideal for a family picnic, boating or fishing for trout and pike in the cold waters.

 

loughnafooeybeach

Sunlight falls through the clouds near the sandy beach of Lough NaFooey.

The Joyce Country area was hit hard by the Great Famine (an Gorta Mór), and you’ll see several abandoned stone cottages near Lough Na Fooey. The harsh terrain of the mountains made travel difficult in the mid 1800s, but those who could leave probably tried to do so, to save themselves and their families. I can only hope that some lived and simply decided to make do in another part of Ireland rather than return to their farms at Lough Na Fooey.

lough-na-fooey-stone-hut

Abandoned farmstead on the banks of Lough Na Fooey, County Galway, Ireland.

If you plan to travel through Mayo and Galway, making a stop along Lough Na Fooey is well worth the slight detour off the main road. Have a picnic on the beach or hike up one of the surrounding mountains for a better view of this remote, beautiful area of Ireland.

 

lough-na-fooey-ireland

The blue waters of Lough Na Fooey, a glacial gem in the Joyce Country of Ireland.

 

Just remember to slow down and watch for the many Scottish Blackface sheep (a tough breed ideal for hilly areas) inhabiting the nearby farms–they tend to pop up quite unexpectedly!

lough-na-fooey-scottish-sheep

Scottish Blackface sheep guarding the mountains around Lough Na Fooey.

read more

Dunguaire Castle in Kinvarra, County Galway, Ireland

Sep 5, 2013 by

indexdun ghuairecastleDunguaire Castle (Irish: Dún Guaire) is a 16th-century tower house on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland, near Kinvara (or Kinvarra). The name derives from the Dun of King Guaire, the legendary king of Connacht. Today, the castle’s 75-foot tower and its defensive wall have been restored to excellent condition, and the grounds are open to tourists during the summer. It is thought to be the most photographed castle in Ireland.

One of the principal towerhouses of the Ó hEidhin (O Hynes) clan, the castle was built in 1520,the site marks the royal palace of Guaire Aidne mac Colmain, the legendary king of Connacht and progenitor of the Hynes clan since the 7th century. As with most Irish tower houses of the time, defenses include a curtain wall, machicolations over doors, a murder hole, and parapet.  Archeologists believe the original dun was most likely a ring fort, the remains of which can be found on the small promontory just to the northeast of the current castle.

The castle was transferred to the Martin family in the 17th century, who let it fall into disrepair.  In 1924,  surgeon and poet Oliver St. John Gogarty purchased Dunguaire.  Gogarty began restoring the castle and established it as the meeting place for the leading figures of the Celtic Revival, such as W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Augusta, Lady Gregory, and John Millington Synge.

Today, the castle is owned by Shannon Heritage, who have opened it to the public, from April-October, with medieval banquets at the castle in the evenings. It is a beautiful spot on the Galway coast, and it is well worth the drive to see the ancient home of the legendary Kings of Connacht.

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Apr 26, 2013 by

An old abandoned house near Galway, Ireland.

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Mar 20, 2013 by

Wild Connemara pony with the Twelve Bens Mountains behind on the road to Roundstone, Co Galway, Ireland—http://terryconner.deviantart.com/

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Mar 16, 2013 by

Abandoned in Galway…. http://elementalist.deviantart.com/

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Mar 11, 2013 by

the Sky Road in Clifden,overlooking the Atlantic ,in Galway, Ireland

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Feb 19, 2013 by

The Orange Rocks of Connemara

read more

Related Posts

Share This