Walking the Derryclare Horseshoe

In his latest article for Walking and Hiking Ireland, John Quinn gives a brief overview of the magnificent Derryclare Horseshoe which reveals the rugged beauty of Connemara in all its splendour.

This magnificent and challenging walk in the Twelve Bens mountain range in The Lough Inagh Valley reveals the rugged beauty of Connemara in all its splendour. The 6-7 hour horseshoe climb encompasses a number of peaks including Ben Lettery (516m), Glengower (664m), Benbreen (691m), Bencorr (711m) and Derryclare (650m).

Last Sunday (21 March, 2010) I completed this highly enjoyable climb with the Clare Outdoor Club. The initial part of the climb is along a gravel road through forested land for about 20 minutes after which the rocky steep ascent towards Ben Lettery commences. This part of the walk involves some scrambling which adds to the sense of achievement upon reaching the summit.  As this point the landscape opens up on all sides with wonderful views of lakes, valleys, coastline and other mountain peaks on all sides. Mweelrea (Connaught’s highest mountain) is clearly visible. The Lough Inagh Valley needs to be viewed from here to appreciate its true beauty.

The beautiful rocky terrain continues for the remainder of the climb towards Derryclare. The peaks of Glengower, Benbreen and Bencorr and the scenic valleys between them all offer great opportunities for photos with breathtaking views.

The descent from Derryclare is quite slippery and boggy in places and walking poles come in very useful. We stopped in The Forge restaurant in Moycullen on route back to Ennis for a tasty and well earned dinner. In all a highly enjoyable day.

bio Contributor Profile: John Quinn
I am a part time landscape photographer from and living in county Clare. At an early age I developed a passion for photography and for the beauty of nature and the Irish countryside.  I travel a lot throughout Ireland photographing and researching the history of  Ireland’s countless beautiful ruined churches, castles and monuments. I also spend a lot of time hill walking and taking landscape photos.  My favorite place in Ireland is the Macgillycuddy Reeks mountain range in county Kerry. With their rugged beauty, splendid views and peacefulness I can often empathize with Norman Maclean’s great line from A River Runs Through It “When I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories and the sounds of the Big Black Foot River”My websites are http://www.beautifulirishphotos.com and http://www.clarephotos.com