derrigimlagh walk

Derrygimlagh is noteworthy for several reasons. In the early years of the last century, Gugliemo Marconi established the first ever commercial transatlantic wireless station up here. Then Alcock and Brown landed their first ever transatlantic flight on the very same spot in 1919. It is nowadays a peaceful, beautiful area and I really like walking here. This route involves some walking on the R341 road, but even that bit is scenic enough and you’ll get most of it out of the way at the start.

Start & Finish: At a car parking space outside a small roadside oratory on the Clifden road, some 20km from Roundstone.

Drive to Start: From Roundstone, drive along the R341 through Ballyconneely and continue towards Clifden. When the road starts to ascend as it leaves the shoreline, watch for that small oratory, with stained glass windows, on the right. It is just over 5km after Ballyconneely. There is ample parking space here.

The first part involves setting up the loop. So start by walking from the oratory (A) southward on the R341, back the way you drove, for 2km. There are nice sea views to the right, and the road is well surfaced and wide in parts. But watch for traffic along here, and walk in single file on the right, to face oncoming traffic. You pass an old pier (B) and when the road rises, with a big house on the seaward side, your punishment is over! You arrive at aside road left © with a brown signpost for Lough Emlaghnabehy. Turn in left there, into a much quieter ambience. This road, potholed here and there, ascends gently to pass close beside the aforementioned Lough, and then continues to ascend easily away from the lough. Pass through a gate (D), closing it securely after you. Now you are on an old bog road that comes up to a still worked bog.

Ahead is a disused quarry (E) in a small hill. Bear to the right past the quarry, and then leave the road, going up left beside the quarry on good heathery ground. Head for the top of this low hill. The map says it is only 34m, but where would you get comparable views? It truly is a stunning panorama, gained for very little effort.

Walk on, past a square water tower, to the far eastern side of the hill where, in the distance, the ‘nose cone’ monument on the Alcock and Brown landing site comes not view. In another quarry, here on this eastern side, are the foundations od a well sheltered building of the Marconi enterprise, and a perfect grass path (F) curves along eastward. Follow that, enjoying those views all around. Notice the old bog workings on both sides - this green track was once the little railway that carried the turf to power the generators. This route curves past Lough Emlanacourly, over to what is now a sheep pen.

The small ruin here (G) holds an interesting plaque, which you should read, and then you can detour over to the right to see the nose cone (H). The green path curves on past another peaceful little lake, Loughanillaun (I) and soon swings down via a gate to the R341 road (J). Turn left here, and the oratory (A) is now just five minutes walk along here - resume traffic vigilance for this final session on the road.

Map courtesy