6 National Parks of Ireland: Castles, Cliffs, Green Mossy Landscapes [38 PICS]

March 16th, 2014 Permalink

We’ve looked at Ireland Now and Then (100 years ago), but to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a look the six national parks of the Republic of Ireland. Killarney National Park was first, and Ballycroy was the last to be established. The Burren National Park is the smallest and Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in Ireland. There are also Connemara and Glenveagh as well as landscapes with castles, karst, cliffs, waterfalls and green mossy forests. [38 Photos]

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 5km from Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 6km (10 minutes) from Connemara National Park. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s look upon the green beauty of Ireland and scenic landscapes found in the 6 National Parks of Ireland: Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren and Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo #1 by Dennis Wilkinson

Diamond Hill view, Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park has 7,307 acres (2,957 hectares) of “scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands” in the West of Ireland in County Galway. This is Diamond Hill view. The park opened in 1980. Photo #2 by cosmo_71

Connemara Ponies at Connemara National Park

Connemara Ponies at Connemara National Park. These ponies originated in Ireland. “They are known for their athleticism, versatility and good disposition.” Photo #3 by Simone A. Bertinotti

Looking toward Cashel Hill and the Twelve Bens, aka Beanna Beola range, which is located within Connemara National Park

Some of Connemara National Park’s mountains like Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Looking toward Twelve Bens, Beanna Beola range. Photo #4 by Tom Fahy

Connemara National Park cascade

Connemara National Park cascade. Wikipedia states, “There are many remnants of human civilization within the park. There is a 19th century graveyard as well as 4,000 year old megalithic court tombs. Much of the land was once part of the Kylemore Abbey estate.” Photo #5 by jojo7d

Bencollaghduff summit from Connemara National Park

Bencollaghduff summit from Connemara National Park. The photographer wrote, “On the summit of Bencollaghduff in the Twelve Bens (na Beanna Beola), Connemara. Looking west to Benbaun, Muckanaght and Bencullagh.” Photo #6 by Tom Fahy

Ballynahinch Castle with easy access to Twelve Bens Mountains and Connemara National Park

Ballynahinch Castle with easy access to Twelve Bens Mountains and Connemara National Park. (30 km or 8 miles). The photographer said Ballynahinch Castle on the Owenmore River. “It’s a prime outpost for fly fishing, with ready access to Connemara National Park and the Twelve Bens mountains.” Photo #7 by Dennis Wilkinson

Drumluska Cottage, furthest end of the Black Valley, Killarney National Park

For your second virtual hop to a National Park in Ireland: Killarney National Park. The photographer wrote, “Every Irish photographer, sooner or later, makes his/her way to the furthest end of the Black Valley and takes the same photo of Drumluska Cottage. This one is no exception. It has been shot in the same way about 10 zillion times now. Back in the day, Mallow photographer John Hooton ‘discovered’ it and it has been known as John Hooton’s Cottage to many of us ever since. John really should get a royalty for every time a shot of it is published. It is now one of the biggest clichés in Irish photography. So, enough already! What we need, as Sam Goldwyn once remarked, are new clichés!” Photo #8 by John Finn

Ancient Emerald Forest Trail in Killarney National Park

“Ancient Emerald Forest Trail” in Killarney National Park. Established in 1932, the park has 25,425 acres and was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. Photo #9 by Nicolas Raymond

Killarney National Park, Ross Castle, Ireland

Ross Castle was built in the 15th century along the shores of Killarney National Park’s lower lake. Legend has it that on the first morning of May every seven years, O’Donoghue Mór — who built Ross Castle — “rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse and circles the lake. Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives.” Photo #10 by Jerzy Strzelecki

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park. The park is “located in southwest Ireland close to the Ireland’s most westerly point. The Lakes of Killarney and the Mangerton, Torc, Shehy and Purple Mountains are located in the park. Altitudes in the park range from 22 meters (72 ft) to 842 meters (2,762 ft).” Photo #11 by Sarah Carroll

Moss Forest, Killarney National Park

Moss Forest. Killarney National Park history: “Human presence in the Killarney area dates back at least to the early Bronze Age, over 4,000 years ago, when copper was first mined at Ross Island.” Photo #12 by hollin.elizabeth

O'Sullivans Cascade in Killarney National Park

O’Sullivans Cascade in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Southwest Ireland. Photo #13 by Phil Armitage

Lush forest scenery in Killarney Park, Ireland

The lush Oak and Yew woodlands in Killarney Park are said to have “international importance.” Photo #14 by Nicolas Raymond

Powerscourt Waterfall, tallest waterfall in Ireland, and Deerpark, part of Wicklow Mountains National Park

Now to the 3rd National Park in Ireland: Wicklow Mountains National Park. “View of Powerscourt Deerpark and Waterfall at Ride Rock, Crone Woods near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland. At 121 meters (397 ft), the waterfall is the tallest in Ireland. It is fed by the River Dargle which rises in the Glensoulan valley near Djouce mountain, which can be seen in background.” Photo #15 by Joe King

Lugnaquilla, Wicklow's highest mountain

Lugnaquilla, Wicklow’s highest mountain at 925 meters (3,035 ft). It is the 13th highest mountain in Ireland. The National Park has 50,600-acres “located in the Wicklow Mountains a short distance south of Dublin.” Photo #16 by Joe King

A feral goat in the Glenealo Valley, Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland

A feral goat in the Glenealo Valley, Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland. The primary purpose of Wicklow Mountains National Park “is to conserve the natural flora and fauna of the Wicklow Mountains. The Park consists primarily of heath and bog cloaked uplands along with woodland in the river valleys. The rounded granite mountains forged some 500 million years ago now support a wide diversity of wildlife, some common, some threatened.” Photo #17 by Joe King

Glendalough Valley, Wicklow Mountains National Park

Photograph of the “Glendalough Valley, County Wicklow, Ireland, facing south-west, taken from the south-east slope of Brockagh Mountain, showing the early Christian monastic settlement, the Lower Lake and the Upper Lake that give Glendalough (‘The Valley of the Two Lakes’) its name, flanked to the south by Derrybawn Mountain and Lugduff Spink and to the north by Camaderry Mountain.” Photo #18 by Joe King

Tonelagee mountain in the Glendasan valley, Wicklow Mountains

Tonelagee Mountain in the Glendasan valley. Wicklow Mountains National Park was established in 1991. Photo #19 by Joe King

Twin corrie lakes of Lough Bray, upper and lower lakes, Wicklow Mountains

Twin corrie lakes of Lough Bray, upper and lower lakes, Wicklow Mountains. “Glendalough is the ‘honeypot’ of the National Park, with more visitors than any other part. The combination of the stunning scenery and the fascinating monastic history make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. The name Glendalough means ‘valley of two lakes’. The valley stretches for over 3 km, and within it are several sites of interest.” Photo #20 by Joe King

Glenveagh Castle, Glenveagh National Park

Now to Glenveagh National Park, the is the second largest national park in Ireland. This is Glenveagh Castle: “The castle was built between 1870 and 1873 and consists of a four story rectangular keep surrounded by a garden, and has a backdrop of some 165.4 km² (40,873 acres) of mountains, lakes, glens and woods complete with a herd of red deer.” Photo #21 by Stephen Collins

Glenveagh National Park, Donegal, Ireland

Glenveagh National Park, Donegal, Ireland. The photographer wrote, “One of my favorite places on the entire planet. :-)” Photo #22 by Alun Webb

At Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

Glenveagh National Park was established in 1975, but did not open to the public until 1986. Photo #23 by Randy Durrum

Path to the Waterfall Glenveagh National Park

Path to the Waterfall, Glenveagh National Park. “The estate was established by John Adair, who became infamous for evicting 244 of his tenants and clearing the land so they would not spoil his view of the landscape. The park is home to the largest herd of red deer in Ireland and the formerly extinct golden eagle were reintroduced into the park in 2000.” Photo #24 by Ana Rey

Astellen Waterfall at Glenveagh National Park

Astellen Waterfall at Glenveagh National Park. Photo #25 by Ana Rey

Rainbow over Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park “contains of 14,000 hectares of mountain, raised bogland, lakes and woodlands and is dissected by the valley which gives the park its name, Glenveigh (*Gleann Bheatha*) meaning Glen of the Birches.” Photo #26 by Raphael Schön

Welcome to Ballycroy National Park

Welcome to Ballycroy National Park, which quotes Robert Lloyd Praeger (1937), The Way That I Went: “Indeed the Nephinbeg range of mountains is I think the very loneliest place in this country, for the hills themselves are encircled by this vast area of trackless bog, I confess I find such a place not lonely or depressing but inspiriting. You are thrown at the same time back upon yourself and forward against the mystery and majesty of nature.” Photo #27 by Ballycroy National Park

Ballycroy National Park from Nephin Beg Range

Mountains and blanket bog of Ballycroy National Park viewed from the Nephin Beg Range, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland. The park “is one of the largest expanses of peatland in Europe.” Photo #28 by Youngbillyhappy

Ballycroy National Park looking towards the Nephin Beg mountain range

Ballycroy National Park “was established in November 1998, it is Ireland’s sixth National Park and is located on the Western seaboard in northwest Mayo. It comprises of 11,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range. Between Nephin beg and Slieve Carr, at 721 meters above sea level, the highest mountain in the range, lie the Scardaun Loughs.” Photo #29 by Anthony Hickey

Hiking the Bangor Way through the Nephin Beg Mountains, Ballycroy National Park

Hiking the Bangor Way through the Nephin Beg Mountains, Ballycroy National Park. The Bangor Trail “itself has a long history and may date back to 16th century. Landlords were responsible for the maintenance of the sections of the trail that passed through their land. The trail was used as the main route for people and livestock before the introduction of modern roads between the Bangor Erris region and Newport. Emigrants travelling from Bangor Erris to Westport would have used this trail.” Photo #30 by Phil Armitage

Newtown Castle, County Clare, situated in the valley of Ballyvaughan

Newtown Castle, County Clare, situated in the valley of Ballyvaughan. The castle and its surroundings viewed from the earth fort An Ráth. The last our Ireland’s National Parks to visit is about a 35-minute drive from here to a different type of landscape that happens to be one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. Photo #31 by Drow69

Poulnabrone Dolmen, Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, famous tomb at The Burren

Last but not least, The Burren National Park. This is Poulnabrone Dolmen, Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, a famous tomb at The Burren. Although it is 1 of 70 tombs, This dramatic site, on the karstic limestone pavement of the Burren, is one of the most famous Irish dolmens. The name Poulnabrone literally means ‘The hole of the sorrows’. The thin capstone sits on two 1.8m (6ft) high portal stones to create a chamber in a 9m (30ft) low cairn. The eastern portal stone was replaced in 1985, following a discovery that it was unfortunately cracked; excavations during the repair showed that this site dated back to about 2500 BC. Uncremated remains were found in the chamber, its portico, and in the grykes (crevices in the limestone floor). In particular, there were the main body bones of one newborn baby, six juveniles, and 16-22 adults. Only one of the adults lived beyond 40 years, and the majority were under 30 when they died. An analysis of all the fragments of disarticulated bones revealed a hard physical life and a coarse diet; it was further proved that the bones were naturally defleshed elsewhere (by exposure or burial) and only then moved within the chamber at Poulnabron.” Photo #32 by Eric Atkins

The Burren, one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe

Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The word ‘Burren’ comes from an Irish word ‘Boíreann’ meaning a rocky place. This is an extremely appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil cover and the extent of exposed Limestone Pavement. However it has been referred to in the past as ‘Fertile rock’ due to the mixture of nutrient rich herb and floral species.” Photo #33 by Nicolas Raymond

Farming on the Edge of The Burren, Burren National Park

Farming on the Edge of The Burren; it “has one of the longest growing seasons in Ireland or Britain, and supports diverse and rich plant growth.” Photo #34 by Tom Fahy

Feral goats on The Burren

Feral goats on The Burren. Burren National Park: “The rolling hills of Burren are composed of limestone pavements with criss-crossing cracks known as ‘grikes’, leaving isolated rocks called ‘clints’. The region supports arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants side-by-side, due to the unusual environment. The limestones, which date from the Visean stage of the Lower Carboniferous, formed as sediments in a tropical sea approximately 350 million years ago.” Photo #35 by cosmo_71

The coast from Burren National Park

The Coast from R477, The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland — Burren National Park. “The Burren region is internationally famous for its landscape and flora. The Burren covers 1% of the land surface of Ireland and is approximately 250 square kilometers in size. Most of the Burren is designated a Special Area of Conservation to protect this extremely unusual habitat.” Photo #36 by Jim (code poet)

The Burren caution sign

The Burren caution sign. Photo #37 by Patrick Dockens

Cliffs of Moher, rainbow, The Burren, Wilderness in Ireland

There’s so much more to see in Ireland, sometimes at the end of a rainbow, like the world-renowned Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Wilderness in Ireland. Photo #38 by Rubén GoBo

Ireland Now and Then (100 yrs ago) – Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (17 PICS)

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