Contrary to what is often wrongly thought, Connemara is not a county, but a geographical area in the west of Ireland (more precisely, in the County Galway); its extension roughly goes from Lough Corrib to the shores of the ocean. It is traditionally divided into North and South Connemara, the boundary between these two areas is the mountain range of Twelve Bens and the river Owenglin, which flows into the sea at Clifden. The region, with an indented coastline, has beautiful coral beaches, while the inner part is dotted with rivers and lakes quietly lying on the moors.

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Although a large statue located in Recess depicts Connemara as a thoughtful bearded giant, in my opinion, it resembles more a wild horse, a beautiful and indomitable thoroughbred, changeable in its moods and its state of mind. The reason lies in the extreme variability of the landscape, the sky, and the colour tones. In a moment you switch from the sweet melancholy of a gray misty drizzle to the glory of a multicoloured sky, almost Mediterranean in its clarity. The rounded summits of the mountains, cloaked in darkness a few minutes ago, are now the background for a pictorial rainbow; the leaden lakes suddenly become bright stages for the performances of the swans.

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Connemara covers an area of 192,144 hectares of land and the population, essentially a rural community, is equal to 30,000 people, with a density of one inhabitant per 6.5 hectares ( Scannell 1984). The Atlantic climate causes a high level of rainfall, with peaks of 2500 mm per year in the mountainous areas. The landscape of south Connemara is low on sea level and is made up largely of "blanket bogs", while in the narrow coastal strip - with a considerable population density - there are numerous machairs.

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Climbing the mountains of Connemara can be considered as an easy task by mountaineers accustomed to more challenging peaks: being ancient geological formations of quartzite, the average height of these peaks is about 700-800 meters, with the only exception of Mount Gable (1370 mt.), which separates the lakes Corrib and Mask. We must remember, however, that here the weather conditions are subject to sudden change (for the worse), also taking into account the particularity of the land, often composed of soft turf, on which walking can be difficult and very tiring. In every Irish sports and souvenirs shop, you can easily find a series of detailed maps to organize your excursions, as well as highly qualified guides who will accompany you with competence and sympathy, also providing news on geology, flora, and fauna.

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The link between Connemara and water is very deep: the whole region is crossed by more or less consistent little rivers, whose waters have generally the colour of turf (and they also taste the same ...just give 'em a try!). As for the lakes, the area is dotted and lined with mirrors of different sizes, sometimes they are little more than puddles in the bog, sometimes real basins deserving a name. Along the coast the road frequently runs between lakes and arms of the sea creeping in the land: if you ask the locals, they will tell you that there is a foolproof system to understand whether it is fresh or marine water (aside from taste it, of course ...), that is the presence of seaweeds! And speaking of the sea: the only fjord in Ireland is the Killary Fiord, the pretty village of Leenane is located just at its inner part.

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