Paved road / side road, 7 km, 1.5 to 2 hours
Leave Roundstone on the Ballyconneely Road, with Errisbeg rising above on the right. Away to the left we glimpse the end of Inishnee reaching out towards the mouth of Bertraghboy Bay.
After approximately 1 km we take a left turn just beside a small bridge. Heading now towards the shore, our way passes through a mixture of small fields, grazed heaths and rock outcrops. Dotted here and there among these small walled fields, ruined cottages remind us of a once greater population.
The small lake on the left, Cregduff Lough (Creig Dubh, black crag – from the outcrop north of the lake) is of interest botanically, with the slender naiad (also called nodding waternymph) growing in its waters. Views across the end of Inishnee to the Cárna Peninsula (Iorras Aintheach, stormy peninsula) await us, and the beach on Inishlackan becomes visible straight ahead. This once inhabited island lost its last permanent residents in 1985, the population having fallen from a high of more than 200 in the early part of the last century.
The road now winds through the picturesque harbour at Ervallagh (Oir Bhealach, East Way), with a mixture of old stone ruins, restored and modern buildings. As we follow the sea wall, Cruach na Caoille (Deer Island) comes into view. The Martin family, old landlords at Ballynahinch, once kept a deer herd there.
Leaving the shore behind, we pass some exotic looking plants – New Zealand Glax (Phormium tenax) – often planted for shelter in Connemara. The sands of Gurteen Beach are now visible away on the left. Soon you take a right turn at the main road to bring you back to Roundstone.
Images above: A view of Roundstone Bay, Inishnee and South Connemara from Errisbeg / Inishlacken Ruins
Source: ‘Walking in Connemara: Shorter Walks to Explore the Hidden Connemara’, Connemara Tourism 1996 – available at The Clifden Bookshop.