THE cairn on Abbey Hill with Galway city in the background and Knockma on the horizon on the right.

Explore the Burren’s Valley of the Fertile Rock

EVIDENCE of the staycation trend is definitely apparent on the hills this weather. Heights where you usually could ‘wander lonely as a cloud’, as Wordsworth waxed lyrical about, seem to be more visited than usual. To paraphrase Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, the hills are alive to the sound of moaning and groaning.
To fully savour the phenomenon of the Burren, which is right on our doorstep, a fine start would be from the summit of Abbey Hill. From here the vista encompasses not only the dramatic landscape of the Burren itself, but panoramic views of Galway Bay; on a clear day you can also see Connemara and the isolated bulge of Knockma on the plains surrounding Tuam.
To be honest I’ve been up Abbey Hill a number of times and it’s rare enough in my experience to be able to enjoy such expansive views but, that said, the climb is always worthwhile and it’s a grand place to enjoy a sandwich and mug of tea, provided, that is, you’re not being hosed off by the rain.
I undertook my most recent visit to get a bird’s eye view of Corcomroe Abbey from the summit of the hill that‘s named after it. The abbey’s title is Sancta Maria de Petra Fertilis — St Mary of the Fertile Rock — and peering down from the top at the magnificent landscape below, it’s clear how aptly named it is.
Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald, on sale in shops and online

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