AUGHRUS LAKE WALK

Aughrus Lake, with Twelve Pins in the background

 

The Aughrus Lake walk is essentially exactly that - a walk along the cirecular road which brings you around the quite large Aughrus Lake. But it's also more than that, because along the way you can divert to and enjoy some of the most peaceful and lovely beaches in Connemara, as well as enjoying the ever-changing views.

To find the Lake from Claddaghduff, head further along the Peninsula, passing Sweeney's on your right-hand side. About 1.5km along the road, you will see a left-hand turn, which among other things has a signpost to Lobster Fisheries; this road brings you around the lake clockwise - continuing on without turning will bring you along the upper road, with the lake visible beneath.

This newborn donkey foal was photographed just by the left-hand turning down to the Lake.

To reach the Lake from Cleggan Village, head further along the Peninsula, passing Oliver's on your right-hand side. Pass the turning for Rossadilisk which is about 2km along, without turning down it, and about 1km further along, find a small road to the right. This road brings you around the lake anti-clockwise.

So take your pick: clockwise or anti-clockwise. The description below assumes you're travelling from Claddaghduff, and proceeding clockwise.

When you turn left down the Aughrus Lake road (signposted to the Lobster Fishery), a small diversion down the first left-hand turn brings you down to Aughrus Pier, where apart from the winter there are small fishing boats and one or two pleasure boats moored (Aughrus Pier is visible from Sweeney's Strand Bar, if you wish to orientate yourself).

 The second left-hand turn is, like the first, a cul-de-sac, leading to houses. Nonetheless, there are pretty views, and often a splendid sunset, to be had at the end. The photo of the Connemara Pony was taken at the corner of that road, looking across Aughrus Lake (with Inishbofin in the background).

 

 The third left-hand turn isn't really a left-hand turn at all, but a "straight on", since the road you're on is the one that turns at right-angles. If you carry straight on, this will shortly bring you (yet again) to a cul-de-sac; but a very worthwhile one! Watching for wet ground, walk on along the rough track, and then on towards the sea; and you reach Aughrus Point, the most westerly part of the Peninsula, and indeed almost the most westerly mainland in Connemara (Slyne Head juts out further, but only a little - and we like to believe that the houses towards Aughrus Point are the most westerly residences in Connemara).

You can enjoy a lovely walk around Aughrus Point on a sunny day; or when it's stormy, you'll see the most spectacular waves (e.g. see photo above) as the wild Atlantic breaks on the Point. More than one ship has been wrecked off this Point.

Back on the road around the lake, the views become spectacular. In one direction, you will see the distant Twelve Pins mountain range; in another, you'll see the coastline north to County Mayo; in another, you'll see the Atlantic and the island of Inishbofin.

Back on the road again, just another 100m (past a group of new houses), is a grassy track which brings you to the secluded and lovely Tra Mhor, which is something of a best-kept secret. Tra Mhor, in our view, boasts the best rock pools

on the Peninsula, where children and adults alike can spend hours looking at the marine life there.

WARNING!  THE LANDOWNER THROUGH WHOSE LAND THERE IS A RIGHT OF ACCESS TO TRA MHOR HAS FENCED IN THE FIELDS FOR LIVESTOCK IN SUCH A WAY THAT IF YOU DRIVE A CAR FROM THE ROAD TO THE BEACH, THERE'S NOW NO SPACE EITHER TO PARK OR TO TURN AROUND!  SO NOW YOU WILL FACE A LOOOONG REVERSE BACK IF YOU DRIVE TO THE BEACH!  BETTER TO PARK YOUR CAR, IF YOU'RE DRIVING, ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, AND WALK THE SHORT DISTANCE ALONG THE TRACK TO THE BEACH, BETWEEN THE FENCES. DON'T GET CAUGHT OUT (AS WE WERE LAST WEEKEND!) - ACCESS IS NOT THE SAME AS IT USED TO BE, BUT PEDESTRIAN ACCESS IS STILL EASY, AND WELL WORTH WHILE THE SHORT STROLL.

The sand on Tra Mhor is golden and coarse, apparently quite recently formed from the grinding-down of shells and granite rock. Its highly abrasive nature rubs down the larger limpet shells on the beach, making them resemble pure-white Mother-of-Pearl.

 

 

Returning to your walk, as you proceed, the fields on either side are lush with primroses in Spring, and there are numerous Connemara Ponies grazing on both sides. You'll approach a defile, just just past a house on your left called Chough Cottage, as this is one of the relatively few spots where you may see red-billed Choughs. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Passing through the defile, the heather is gorgeous - in places with Dog-Rose clambering through it, as in the photo on the left.

 

 

 

Just at the far end of the defile, over a low barbed-wire fence, is a narrow grass track which leads you to the low cliff edge - there's a blow-hole there, which booms when the wind is strong and the sea running high.

 

 

  

 

Then you reach the small, linked beaches of Aughrusbeg (Small Aughrus - we've already noted that "Aughrus" means "Promonotory of the Horses" - see our Home Page), right beside the narrow road, and again, perfect for safe swimming or building sand-castles, or sun-bathing and picnicking.

You wouldn't realise it, but when you're on these beaches, you're beside an important part of the Peninsula's infrastructure. To the left (as you look out to sea), over the rocks, is a large lobster fishery, with lengths of piping on the bottoms of the ponds holding numerous lobsters, which can feed and grow naturally in the fresh Atlantic seawater which enters the ponds.

Then on around.




On the upper road, the views are gorgeous, and you get an uninterrupted view across Lough Atalia, Rossadilisk and up to the north of Mayo, taking in the high Achill Island cliffs in the distance.

So that is the Aughrus Lake walk. It will take you about 1 and a half hours if you just keep on walking (slowly), but maybe lots more if you do it justice and stop off the points we've described.

We hope you enjoy it!