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Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park was nice, educational stop, with a little bit of exercise thrown in. We started off our visit at the visitor center, where they have a small exhibit showing the evolution of the land in the park area. About ten thousand years ago the area started emerging from the Ice Age and eventually became covered in oak and pine forests. Then, about five thousand years ago, people started arriving and, as people do, began cutting stuff down. They figured out that burning the forests down was a quick way to clear the land, and, over the course of thousands of years, bog land started developing as the soil became waterlogged from the lack of trees and large amounts of carbon in the soil.

There is now a reverse effect going on in Ireland. Once numerous, the bog lands are rapidly disappearing, and there was an exhibit at the visitor center featuring an unhappy anthropomorphic pile of peat that was sad over its shrinking home.

There are two trails that you can hike there: a 1.4km loop that takes you up a hill, and a ~20min (each way) hike that you can take through some of the more bog-like areas (with plenty of sphagnum, which I unfortunately don't have any good photos of). Our guide indicated that there used to be longer hikes you could take around Diamond Hill, but when we were there those trails were closed to reduce erosion damage. I'm used to US national parks, where the trails are endless, so the lack of hiking was a bit of a disappointment.

In the photos you will see several near the end that look like bumpy grasslands. These are the bog. If you were to step in that grass you would sink a good amount. You'll also see a photo of a totally punk sheep.

Connemara National Park Photo Gallery (31 photos)

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on June 4, 2004 1:34 PM.

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