Impressions of Connemara


The mountains are called The Bens or The Twelve Pins; they are situated behind Clifden with peat bog laying below. The bog is waterlogged and broken by many large and small lakes which take their mood from a sky that can be overcast showing only some soft patches of Cerulean Blue. There are many wounds in the bog from which the black turf has been ripped over the centuries to provide the fuel for rough hearths. Turf can be stacked in piles by the roadside which can appear as the black roofs of sunken cottages or in a field where six or seven blocks can be set together to form a sort of wig wam. The landscape is lonely but not forsaken; the rocks appear light in colour and can be the home for various lichens.

The Bens were clothed in myriad soft but strong greens they could appear at times as soft velvet, clothing the strong rock which erupted in greys and pinks to meet the sky. After heavy rains there were threadlike waterfalls tumbling into the black lakes. The lakes themselves can be vast, on a quiet day they are calm with silver ripples. Roads meander clinging to a lakeside here and there. Earth and rock jab the water with bony fingers in counterpoint to the soft lush shoulders of the mountains.


When you look at the sea it can be the darkest tone in view, the colour can range from a very brooding dark blue or green to a colour which has been reflected from coral through shallow water to appear milky green.

The rocks are black with rust coloured seaweed clinging. Low on a beach where the sea crashes in, the spray hangs in the sky for an instant high above the glistening rock and then descends with a rush as the weight of the Atlantic Ocean thunders home. Around the inlets the sea can be more of a friend sheltering small yachts and the black tarred Curragh.

Billy Campbell