July 3: Connemara National Park, Ballynahinch Castle, 19th Century Kylemore Abbey to Leenaun

Today' journey takes a turn inland and through the Connemara National Park. Retracing the route over the Bog Road once again the sight of the peat bogs and bricks drying remind all of the "natural" fuel sources that just sit off the roadside.

The National Park is one of six national parks of Ireland. Much of the land was originally part of the Kylemore Castle estate. Kylemore Abbey as it is now referred to was the home of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy London doctor in the late 1800s. Early in the 1900s the home was purchased by the Duke and Duchess of Manchester who held on to it for several years. Deep in debt from gambling the Duke was forced to sell -- at a time that the Benedictine nuns of Belgium were being forced out of their country and were in need of an abbey! The home became a international boarding school for Catholic girls as well as a day school for local girls until 2010 when it was forced to close. Currently it is a museum. On the way to Kylemore and also within the park is the Ballynahinch Castle which was built in 17th century for the Martyn family. It has been used as a high end hotel with a focus on fly-fishing since 1946.

Leaving the Abbey behind the route twists and turns past the beautiful rugged coastline. One choice of pedaling is to go up the mountain road over Tully Mountain and down the other side. Another has some following the base of the mountain around and out towards Leenaun. A third option is to go partly up the mountain and the cut through small villages and down to the coast and on to Leenaun. All options produce a beautiful vista -- the higher ones more cloud encompassing, but still beautiful.

Leenaun Hotel is situated on Killary Harbour -- Ireland's only fjord.

Alicia and Cheryl On The Bog Road

On the Way To Ballynahinch Castle

Alicia: "I Can Do This!"

Cheryl: "Me Too!"

Fly Fishermen At Ballynahinch Castle

Road Into the Estate


Laura Welcoming the Guests


Sue In The Castle's Garden

On The Road To Kylemore Abbey

Local Residents

Sharing the Road

Sheila In The Clouds

Sheila Off And Pedaling


Roadside Waterfall

On The Road Again

Cheryl and Sue at Kylemore Abbey


Tully's Cross


Along the Route

And Another View

And Another!