Brooding mountains, stark valleys and steely lakes make up the moody landscape of Connemara, a region of Ireland's west renowned for its dramatic scenery and traditional culture.
Oscar Wilde once described it as a 'savage' beauty and touring its remote corners with a local guide brings what at times seems a desolate place, to life, meeting its people and learning about the traditional farming and fishing techniques still in use and the language, music and customs that survive here.
As you drive past steep slopes divided into tiny fields by a maze of stone walls and experience the power of the Atlantic here, you'll be even more impressed by the local people and their lifestyle.
The private full-day tour begins when you driver-guide picks you up from your Connemara hotel from where you’ll embark on a fun and informative day meandering around the beautiful local landscape, learning about sea and land farming traditions and enjoying a picnic lunch on an island, weather permitting.
You’ll start the day by taking a power boat out onto Killary harbor, Ireland's only fjord. This steep-sided inlet weaves 16 km (10 miles) inland from the sea, its calm waters littered with mussel rafts and oyster racks. As you glide along through the water you may see dolphins play by the bow or otters sunning themselves on the shore rocks.
You'll be taken out along the fjord to view the oyster racks and mussel rafts, where you’ll hear about seafood farming in the region, the reasons why Killary is such an ideal location for the business and the processes involved from seeding the racks to getting the oysters to the restaurant table. You'll also get to sample some of the oysters and mussels accompanied by either Guinness or a glass of white wine.
Once back on land you’ll take a 20-minute walk to Tom Nee's sheep farm, a traditional mountain farm with hardy sheep used to the harsh conditions here. Tom's family have been working the land for generations and you'll get to learn about traditional farming methods and see a hand-shearing demonstration. You’ll also learn how to work a sheep dog and get to try your hand at traditional turf cutting.
You'll then walk back to the pier and if the weather is fair, head out to one of the small nearby islands for a picnic lunch overlooking the fjord. If conditions aren't ideal, lunch will be under cover at a local diving hub.
After lunch it's back in the boat to visit some local lobster pots to see the day’s haul, and do a spot of fishing, before returning to the pier at Killary Harbor.
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