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Connemara - Ireland

Sliding into brackish water riddled by a seasonal downpour might not be everybody’s idea of a week-end in the Wild West...but for the frustrated winter diver that I am, there is sometimes nothing like the peaty waters of Connemara.

Clifden, Connemara | Jerome Hingrat

The region of Connemara on the West coast of Ireland is famous for its scenery and fishing. It has inspired many artists and attracts tourists every year from all over the world, in particular the United States, Germany and France. The town of Clifden, in particular, is a popular place for fishing—sea and fresh water—golf, and hill walking. With a low density population, wild scenery and friendly people, it is one of those places where you can truly get away from it all.

Connemara loughs are like proverbial watering holes: there is no shortage of them. Water is not exactly a rare commodity around here, above and below, out of the heavens it comes in every colour, salted, fresh, not so fresh or with a seasonal Guinness tint. In late summer, a plankton bloom and peat water conspire to create visibility averaging chowder-like conditions, at best. To cap it all, clouds of jellyfish pulsating by don’t help improve the visibility. What a contrast with the clear waters of the Atlantic nearby!
Fed with seawater and fresh water from nearby rivers, sea loughs can bring together an odd mixture of life resulting from the interchange with the sea. A slight current is noticeable with the tide and water clarity can improve. It is a great spot for watching passing shoals feeding by. Shoals of garfish and rainbow trout are not uncommon. Depending on their relation to the sea, some loughs seem deprived of any visible life, others are just teeming with it. With sea loughs, a layer of brackish fresh water sits over the layer of salt water. In the summer, as the sun filters through the surface, the water takes on an eerie post nuclear glow. The surface halocline acts like a filter and blocks off daylight, soaking up whatever sunshine dares find its way over Connemara.