Day 4: Oughterard (Glann Church) – Maam Valley
Distance 17 km – Hiking time: 4 – 6 hours – Altitude (↑) 120 m
Freshly caught trout for breakfast – more is not possible!
If this is how the day starts, it can only be great. Of course there was also toast, the popular cheddar and many other delicacies for breakfast. I like breakfast already so much, but on vacation and then still with such a selection I could sit for hours and fill my stomach…but since this is not conducive to hiking I always have to brake myself and even after the third cup of black tea should be over…since I do not drink coffee anymore I am caffeine (or teaine) much more susceptible to 🙂
After breakfast we set off and after the river above we turned left and walked one kilometre in the wrong direction (and back again) – that’s how it is if you don’t pay attention to the route before slobbering and marvelling 😉
Today the hike led mainly over flat gravel roads, small side roads and also over wood (more about that later) and past beautiful cottages like the one above. Also today was the day of flowers and mossy bridges. Lough Corrib and many small rivers provided for water splashing. I know I repeat myself often, but I love the ripple and splash of water 😍
This morning the sky was mostly cloudy, but it was not cold and so the weather was perfect for hiking. But just in time for our arrival at Lough Corrib it cleared up again. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland and has an area of about 176 km². But more spectacular is the number of islands in the lake. The Irish vernacular says that the lake has “one island for every day of the year”, which brings us to 365 islands. The last official census, however, revealed far more than 1,372 islands, to be exact.
The water is crystal clear and the lake is a popular destination for anglers. We should rest at a campsite, but decided to go a few meters further and take a longer break in a small bay – a very good decision as it turned out!
Only a few minutes after us an older couple (older than us) came to the same place and asked us if it would bother us if they also rested there, which of course we denied. They turned out to be Americans who had also booked this hike with Hillwalk Tours. They also turned out to be extremely nice, politically educated, rejecting Trump and sociable, and they weren’t fat either…that didn’t even match my prejudice towards Americans, so I had to rework my worldviews and prejudices once again – one of my favorite pastimes 😊
After talking for over an hour and keeping our feet in the clear, cool water, we continued our way separately, but it should not be the last time we met.
After we had left Lough Corrib behind us, the roads became muddier and the sky grey and foggy again. Due to the soil conditions, it must have rained here more often in the last few days.
Behind the soaked meadows it became really wet. High grass on almost swampy ground could have taken your shoes off, had it not been for the boardwalk. What’s a boardwalk? You can see it on the following pictures! Two wooden planks nailed next to each other on wooden supports lead through the landscape. Every 5 centimetres nail cramps are driven into the wood so that one does not slip even in damp weather.
In the beginning it is a bit strange to walk on it, but you get used to this “guided tour” very quickly.
At the few resting places on this route, we gave ourselves with Paul and Lorraine – “our” Americans – the handle in the hand and held in each case short Puschchen. One of the most beautiful resting places was a bench just opposite the beautiful waterfall on the picture above.
The boardwalk led us directly into the heart of the Maam Valley, a beautiful valley! At a fence we should call Marion, our hostess today, to pick us up. Since we met Paul and Lorraine again on the last meters and determined that they would stay in the same B&B we called together Marion to us a few minutes later with her car picked up and the last 4 km to the Tiernakill Farmhouse drove. The B&B is incredibly secluded and lies quietly at the foot of the Maumturk Mountains. In addition Marion breeds herding dogs and the smaller, still untrained ones are so sweet as sugar, you want to get instant caries 😍
Because the next restaurant was only accessible by taxi, we accepted the offer and had Marion prepare us a 3-course dinner. We ate together with Paul and Lorraine and talked great, they are just two very nice people with a healthy attitude and an alert mind.
After the great dinner Benno and I went out for a beer. The pub was about 1.5 km away from Tiernakill Farmhouse and it was already pitch dark on the way there, good that we had packed flashlights, because street lighting was rather sporadic. I make three crosses that we have taken the way on us because so we have entered the probably most original and least frequented by tourists pub of the vacation. Keane’s Bar is right where the R336 meets the R345, the whole thing is called Maum East and the bus stop at the pub is called “Maam Bridge (Keens)” – bus line 419.
The shop is stuffed with memories of the owner and all the other guests were locals who watched us quietly but not unfriendly until we exchanged a few words with you – tourists seem to be really not the order of the day.
After two Guinness we made our way home and fell into bed tired.
Why I had to share my tea the next morning and how it went on to Lough Inagh is explained on the next page.