The Bay Coast
Road tripping is as much about the driving as it is the exploring.
You could be in the most beautiful, interesting and exciting place in the world but if you're stuck in gridlock traffic or on a 6 lane motorway it's not going to be a memorable road trip.
(And that said, it probably won't be the most beautiful, interesting, and exciting place in the world either.)
The region of Ireland around Connemara is known as the Bay Coast, and Connemara itself means "inlets of the sea"; so it's unsurprising that when you mention that everyone raves its stunning beaches. The unbelievably white sand, and the bright blue sea, which immediately convinces you you're somewhere in the South Pacific, rather than the North Atlantic.
But what people rarely mention are Connemara's roads.
Overlooking the way they cut straight through the district's harsh, and otherworldly National Park.
How the tarmac rises and falls as it stretches out far into the distance. Ever accompanied by a sentry of telegraph poles, the wires casting shadows across the road.
Or how the coastal road, as though scared of being separated from the sea, clings to every curve of the coastline.
Not only do Connemara's roads take you through some awe-inspiring scenery, but they're also a hell of a lot of fun to drive!
And despite what Liam Payne might say, it's not just F1 type Ferraris that have 6 gear speed - 2002 Fiat Punto Sportings have it too. And it makes driving the bends of Connemara's coast even more exciting.
After missing the turning, and having to make what was probably our 100th U-turn of the trip, we finally made it to our next campsite - Clifden Eco Beach. Which, hands down, was our favourite campsite of the lot.
Our pitch was nestled away in the sand dunes.
Overlooking another incredible beach.
I now understand why Connemara is synonymous with beautiful beaches.
From our tent, we had a view across the bay to Omey Island.
As a tidal island, Omey Island is only accessible at low tide. Which made it the perfect place to go and explore.
We had originally planned to spend a couple of hours on the Island. Allowing ourselves to be cut off, and waiting to cross back over as the tide receded.
But when we got over to the Island it became apparent why there are no permanent residents. It is as barren as anything. One side is sandy grassland, buffeted constantly by weather fronts coming across the Atlantic, whilst the other is a marshy wetland. The lack of any cover whatsoever slightly through a spanner in the works for our idea of a picnic and a game of cards.
So at 1:15, with high tide at 2, we headed back from the far side of the island to see if we could make it across the strand before we were cut off. Luckily for us, by the time we got there, the tide was only just over knee height so we were still able to wade across.
Although it did amaze me, watching from the mainland, how quickly the tide rushed in and made the strand totally impassable.
The high tide meant that we had to take the long way back to the campsite along the road, rather than the beach route we had taken earlier. But very kindly we were picked up halfway by a lady who we had happened to bump into whilst walking around the Island.
It saved us a further hour long walk and stopped us from getting caught in the rain storm that started the moment we got back to our tent.
The exploring might not have gone to plan, but in 48hrs I managed to fall head over heels in love with Connemara. And I'm already working out how I can go back!