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Clonbur (Irish - An Fhairche) in the heart of
Country lies near Cong on the Galway / Mayo border. It is an ideal
centre for the trout angler as it nestles easily between the
two great lakes Corrib and
Mask. For the more adventurous,
Mount Gable lies just 2 km to the west, and is an easy climb
of about one hour's duration. The effort is worthwhile
because the views of
Lough Corrib, stretching away to the
south, Lough Mask to the north and the Connemara mountains
to the west, are simply stupendous.
Take the road to Tourmakeady from the village and turn left
at the sign for Lough Coolin and continue on past to the
base of the mountain where a disused turf trail will lead
you to the top. Alternatively, a short trip (8km) towards
Cong and a turn right will bring you to the famous Pigeon
Hole, where a climb down some 66 steps in a huge cleft in
the limestone floor of the Ashford Castle woods, leads to a
vast underwater cavern containing one of the many
underground streams flowing from Lough Mask to Lough Corrib.
in part of the Gaeltacht or Irish-speaking region of North
Connemara. This village is one of the major centres for
trout and salmon angling on the northern shores of Lough
Corrib. There are large pike to be caught here also as is
evidenced by the large one exhibited in the local pub. Most
of the larger islands on the Corrib, including Inchagoill,
lie directly south-east of the Doorus Peninsula on which
Cornamona is situated.
Mount Gable dominates the area around Clonbur and guards one
of the major routes into Connemara from the East. It also
commands some of the most splendid views in the region and
the climb will repay the efforts of any walker who completes
this modest ascent. The views from the top are
Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and the little
Lough Coolin all to been seen. According to legend, the hordes of Firbolg assembled on the summit before their confrontation
with the Tuatha De Dannann at the Battle of Moytura. In less
ancient times this isthmus became known as the Gap of Danger
where the 'plainsmen' met the less sophisticated, but often
more stubborn stock of Joyce and Flaherty country. Here was
the stage where conflicting civilisations rubbed shoulders,
and often swords. Mount Gable offers the visitor who likes
an easy climb a panoramic view of breath-taking beauty.
Petersburg Activity Centre
Petersburg House was the ancestral home of a branch of the
Lynch family of Galway. The family were granted land around
the shores of Lough Mask under a policy of 'Surrender and
Re-grant' and the 'Big House' was built in 1715.
One of the first Lynches to live on the estate was called
Peter and he put his own stamp on the place by naming it
Petersburg. There is no Russian connection!
The entire estate was eventually acquired by the land
commission and was divided up (or striped) and allocated to
local farmers. The Big House, grounds and Red Island (18
acres ) was signed over to Galway County Council, but
without the resources or the flexibility to develop the
estate it continued to deteriorate. In 1986 it was signed
over to Galway Vocational Education Committee for the
princely sum of £1 with the stipulation that it was
developed as a leisure amenity for the people of the
community and Galway County.
The decision to turn it into an outdoor education centre was
an inspired one. Even if someone was setting out to choose a
location for an outdoor centre they could hardly have chosen
a better one. It is ideally located for land based and water
based adventure activities as it is situated on the southern
shore of Lough Mask with hills and forests all around it.
The centre lies on the divide between sandstone/volcanic
uplands and limestone lowlands. Caving is one of the
activities offered, and the area is also important for
geology and geomorphology.