Camping in Connemara

by Ollie, 24/07/2014

Last week we went on a trip to Connemara with two goals in mind. The first one was to have diner at Dillisk, the beautiful pop-up restaurant at Aughrus Beg. This goal was achieved easily and with great delight. Click here if you would like to read more about Dillisk. 
Our second goal however, required a bit more work. The aim was to go camping on the slopes of Mweelrea, Connaught's highest mountain.

The day started grey but dry at least, so sure enough we set out from Clifden towards Mweelrea. The first bit of the road we took is called the Sky Loop, from which we saw absolutely nothing because the sky had decided to envelop us in a dense blanket of mist.

As we drove along the N59 mist turned into rain. Hmmm, altogether not very promising.
When we arrived at Mweelrea it stopped raining gently and started absolutely pissing rain. This is the west of Ireland so naturally the wind picked up as well. Combine that with Mweelrea's boggy terrain and you have not so perfect conditions for climbing a mountain.

At this point we parked the car on the shores of Doolough, which is overlooked by Mweelrea, and decided to wait in the car for the rain to stop, Met √Čireann had forecasted better weather to arrive later that afternoon.
Books and magazines were pulled out, car seats were reclined. The wait was on.

After three hours of waiting the rain stopped and the sky cleared a little, it seemed like a good moment to start hiking.
The going was rather tough because we had a good bit of gear with us and the terrain was very boggy. Also the few rivers we had to cross were very swollen by now. But we kept trudging on and had started climbing the slope when a heavy shower caught up with us.

It was wet, it was windy, it was very boggy and it started to get cold. Maybe this wasn't such a good day to go camping on a mountainside.

We decided to climb down again and found a dry enough patch close to the lakeshore that was sheltered from wind and view, and was still a decent hike away from the car. This was the spot to camp.

Now, we thought we came very prepared.

Hiking boots and wet gear? Check.
Tent, sleeping mats and sleeping bags? Check.
Food and water? Check.
Pots, pans and camping stove? Check.
Matches to light said stove? Ehm.....

Neither of us had actually remembered to bring any matches, and since neither of us likes an uncooked dinner we had to leave the campsite, hike back to the car, find the nearest place we could get matches and then drive and hike back to the tent again.
The nearest place we could find was Delphi. The people who worked there were very friendly and understanding and they gave us two boxes of matches.

It seemed our luck had turned. The rain left us alone and we were able to cook a beautiful dinner and have a hot cup of tea. The next morning we were greeted by blue skies and sunshine. We had a cooked breakfast and hiked around some more to take some photos of the area, which is stunning!

What can I say. It's handy to have an Irish woman with you every now and again. 


  1. Lig helemaal in een deuk dat jij lucifers vergeet daar kijk ik niet van op en Alison die dacht natuurlijk dat jij ze bij had haha

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