Connemara National Park is 2,967 hectares of protected wilderness near the Village of Letterfrack in County Galway located in western Ireland. The unusual plants and plentiful wildlife as well as many types of birds and geological formations are abundant on the slopes of the Twelve Bens mountain range. Opened to the public in 1980, this well-maintained national park is now owned by the state. One of the previous owners was Richard Martin who, in the early 19th century, aided in the formation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The land is bog and heath with purple moor grass adding to the delightful sights as your eyes view these amazing outdoors. Some of the unusual animals to view are a herd of Connemara ponies and red deer. The Visitor's Centre uses models and 3-D displays to show how the landscape has evolved over almost 10,000 years and gives out information about the various nature trails that can be explored. A museum features the origins of the famous Ireland peat, which has quickly been decimated at the rate of 80% in just the past 90 years.
Hiking and walking Diamond Hill is the outstanding attraction. There are three different paths offered depending on a person's physical condition. Included is an easy wheel-chair-friendly path. Both the middle path and the summit of this famous hill offer a variety of magnificent views of the islands and sea. There are also boardwalks over the bog areas and large stones placed where they are needed to assure better footing. After possibly enjoying soup and brown bread in a tea room or letting the children stop at the play park, figure at least 90 minutes to make this hike unless you stop along the way to take spectacular pictures or rest perhaps at the Lone Man Bridge to enjoy the scenery. There is no reason to rush this rewarding experience.
Visit 4,000-year-old tombs, a 19th century graveyard, Kylemore Castle, and the Victorian Gardens at the Kylemore Abbey, which once occupied much of the land.