Connemara is largely deprived of trees aside from the Coillte planted forests. The landscape is just too harsh and inhospitable in most areas for many varieties. The beautiful Ballinahinch estate is an exception and it boasts 450 acres of woodlands, gardens, lakes and rivers. We go there regularly for walks and to soak up the beauty and magic of the woodland. There are many routes to take but from Ballinahinch castle we usually opt for the riverside path, pictured below.
The path moves away from the water further on and we are surrounded by trees, evergreen and deciduous and the ever present rhododendron bushes (below)
When we gaze downwards we discover some fungi. Once we start looking for them, we discover several different varieties and it becomes a game. I take pictures while the girls spot new ones..
This next one has been nibbled. I love its deep red colour and I think about some nocturnal creature creeping out from its lair under cover of darkness for a little snack..
The forest path closes in on the next part of our walk and it becomes a tunnel of trees (below)
Finally, the path opens up and looking to the right, we have a beautiful view of Ben Lettery through the trees. This is one of the ‘Twelve Bens’ mountain range, synonymous with Connemara.
It is possible to get lost in another world in Ballinahinch wood because it is so unlike anything you might usually associate with Connemara – rock, heath, heathers and barren land and yet this place is right on our doorstep. Well worth a trip if you’re in town.