Paved road, track; 5 km; approximately 1.5 hour
From Tullycross, take the Letterfrack road, descending towards the speed limit sign at the village entrance. Our route turns right just beyond this sign, down the hill to Derryherbert. Ahead we see Tully Mountain (also called Letterhill) and the water tank on the hillock to our right. The line of this road follows the edge of this hillock, above the waterlogged bogs on the left. Ash, Hawthorn and other small trees make up the hedgerows here; their success is due to the underlying drier soil and the shelter of the hillock. On the left is an expanse of well developed blanket bog, now cut for fuel.
Our route for the Derryherbert / Derryinver Walk takes the first turn left, out across the blanket bog. Tully Mountain is now on our right; Diamond Hill is on the left, and some of the Twelve Bens are visible behind. From the cutaways, some impression is gained of the depth of peat that developed in sheltered low-lying bogs such as this. Ancient pine stumps protrude from the cutaway peat; physical remains of a once extensive woodland. Scot’s Pine was the dominant tree here about 4,000 years ago and the number of stumps and fallen boles here indicate that this was once a substantial woodland.
Looking to the left, on the ridge line of the nearby hillock, you can see the Derryinver Standing Stones. Locally known as the ‘Fairy Fingers’, this is a prehistoric ritual site aligned with the setting sun on December 21st, the winter solstice. It is located in close proximity to other prehistoric features and is typical of the rich heritage of the Renvyle Peninsula. The Derryinver Standing Stones are part of a complex of sites sitting on a boggy glacial ridge overlooking Tully Lough. This Bronze Age stone alignment presents a reduction in height from south no north, a distinction which is found in at least five other stone alignments in Connemara. The Derryinver Standing Stones are located on privately owned land.
The track rises onto drier ground and, once past the houses, our route turns left down the hill towards the Derryinver estuary. Keeping left at the bottom, we follow the estuary back to the bridge, where salmon leap up the falls into the Dawros River to spawn. At the bridge we turn left for Tullycross and our starting point, about one mile distant.
Source: ‘Walking in Connemara: Shorter Walks to Explore the Hidden Connemara’, Connemara Tourism 1996
Available at The Clifden Bookshop, Main Street, Clifden