Every now and then a resource becomes available and you can see that it will provide a lot of interest and activity for lots of people.
The Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark project is just such a resource and had its inaugural walks and talks on the 17th to 20th January 2024These guided walks and lectures were instantly pop and sold out very quickly, but their website is a mine of information and has a huge amount of information about walking routes and hikes all over Connemara and South Mayo, in conjunction with Sport Ireland it is currently the best resource for walking information. More Info Here. It also covers a huge number of other activities and areas, with lots of maps and contact details.
The fascinating history of the geology of Connemara is discussed at length Here, and you can see how the unique landscape of Connemara was formed over the millennia, essentially by a fight between the American Continent and the European Continent leaving a raised bed of mixed rock, the softer bits were worn away by ice and erosion, and the harder bits remained and became the mounds of Dalradian Schist that are the Twelve Bens, the Maumturks and the Sheefry Hills. Throughout this 250 million year period, north west Ireland was part of the continent Laurentia, as was Scotland, Greenland, western Scandinavia and north eastern America (USA and Canada). This connection is celebrated by the International Appalachian Trail, of which the Western Way is now a part of.
In recent history the geology of this area has been the subject of some interesting events. In the early 80s a mining company started doing some assay work and started to find useful amounts of gold in its investigations. Delighted with their discovery which centred around Croagh Patrick, Louisburgh the Upper Delphi Valley and Inishturk the company started to dig test holes and seek out deposits containing the magic return of 9 grammes of gold per tonne, which would make mining economically viable.
Fortunately for the environment and pristine landscape of the area virtually everyone in the West of Ireland became involved in the fight to protect the area from mining which would have been open cast and very destructive. Marches were held and politicians lobbied and the papers were full of detail.
Finally, when Nuns from a Holy Order chained themselves to machinery attempting to dig on the sacred Croagh Patrick the mining company decided to look elsewhere and ceased operations in the West. Read More
So next time you drive up the DelphiValley and around Croagh Patrick remember that there was a historical battle fought here to protect this unique landscape. he campaigners would succeed in preventing gold-mining. Mayo County Council elected not to allow mining, deciding that the gold was “fine where it was”. No attempts have been made to mine the mountain since.