During the middle weeks of March, people throughout the country people were trying to get out and enjoy scenery and escape from the lockdown. People living in small apartments or housing estates, with children to educate and entertain as well as trying to work from home. Many have little open space to go to and even that is shared with so many others that social distancing is nigh impossible. 

Dublin, in those weeks, was crazy, with thousands of people flocking to seafronts, parks and even further to Wicklow mountains. Yet Dublin was still a good place to be; in Spain and France parks and beaches are closed and police are on hand to enforce it.

Here we should count our blessings. We have a choice of places to go. Many of us have a deserted beach down the road or a vast mountain on our doorstep to enjoy. For the next little while, we will be restricted to the 2km around our homes – but let’s look to the future, and plan those walks we’ll take when we are free to roam once more. 

In this series we will explore some of the old and new walking trails in Connemara. The first of these is the Garumna loop.

This is a looped walk, rated easy to moderate, running on coastal paths and quiet country roadways in south Connemara. It is nine kilometres in length. It is located on Garumna Island in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Garumna Island is located in the ‘islands region’; here, the landscape is poorer and rockier that elsewhere in south Connemara, giving the island an almost lunar feel to it. You would wonder how the land could support livestock, the rocks are so abundant. 

The unique feeling of the area coupled with its location at the end of a series of interconnecting islands, spanned by stone bridges, give the area its own remote character. The views from the walk are of the Aran Islands, Maamturk and the Twelve Bens mountains, with seascapes, heaths, coral beaches and rocky fields to enjoy en route. A breath of fresh air for anyone in the area wanting to enjoy nature in a spot that will facilitate social distancing. 

Marie Louise Heffernan