(Above: View over Spiddal Quay, Connemara, County Galway)
Not too much has changed in Spiddal since our first visit exactly thirty seven years ago when we, along with a group of friends (most of whom we still meet up with fairly regularly for a few scoops) arrived in Spiddal in the lashings of rain looking for a suitable field to pitch our tents. Oh! those were the days when slogging it was the only way we knew for none of us even had the price of B&B accommodation let alone possessed a car!
(Above: Sunrise over Spiddal Quay, Connemara, County Galway)
Another area we visited was Carraroe. In 1972 we spent a wonderful week there with friends this time in more upwardly mobile accommodation, a caravan!
(Above: Coral Beach, Carraroe, Connemara, County Galway)
(Above: Rugged Landscape, Carna, Connemara, County Galway)
Of all the locations we visited the one place I was really eager to see again was Clifden, Connemara's largest town. Again, back in 1972, we spent a week there long before the developers were given the go-ahead by greedy politicians to build structures not in keeping with the surrounding landscape.
Walking down Clifden's main street brought back the memories of all those years ago but something was not quite the same. It didn't take too long to realise that what was ruining the street was the car parking on both sides. Every inch of road space was packed with high-sided SUVS and vans making it impossible to enjoy what is left of a one-time beautiful, easy-going thoroughfare.
[Above: Main Street, Clifden, Connemara (www.travelireland.org)]
Times change and populations increase but that's no reason to forfeit the beauty of an area when all that is needed is some good common sense planning. I was heartbroken to discover that the holiday chalets (where we spent that wonderful week in 1972) with the remains of the old railway station building in the background have all been replaced by a shopping complex and apartments. If I had been in charge of planning my main requirement would have been that all those buildings be just two storey in height with similiar brickwork. I'm amazed the Galway County Council didn't insist on it but then I'm no expert on such things.
(Above: Holiday Chalets/Railway Station Building in background, Clifden 1972)
(Above: Beach Road towards Clifden, August 1972)
(Above: Another view from Beach Road towards Clifden, August 1972)
Overall, development disasters apart, we had a most enjoyable holiday in one of Ireland's most scenic locations and to add to the joy we were blessed with five continuous days of glorious sunshine, almost unheard of in these parts. Hopefully we won't wait another thirty seven years to return.
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