Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord

Killary Harbour, with strings of buoys for mussel farming lining Ireland’s only fjord. Pic: Unokomo/Creative Commons

Killary Harbour – Ireland’s only fjord

 

Killary Harbour is Ireland’s only true fjord and extends 16km (10 miles) in from the Atlantic to its head at Aasleagh, below Aasleagh falls. It forms the border between Galway and Mayo and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the west of Ireland.

Killary Harbour is also extremely deep, over 45m at its centre. This offers a very safe, sheltered anchorage, because of the depth and the mountains to the south and north. It is a centre for shellfish farming, and strings of ropes used to grow mussels are visible for much of its length. Mussels and clams grown in Killary Harbour are sold at the Westport Country Market every Thursday morning.

To the north lies Mweelrea, the highest mountain in Connacht and County Mayo. To the south are the Twelve Bens and the Maumturk Mountains of Connemara. Majestic views greet the visitor from all directions.

Killary Harbour and the surrounding area offer ample opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast, including hillwalking and scuba diving. There are regular boat trips around the fjord, one option being Killary Cruises.

The sheltered Killary Harbour fjord is a real treat for birdwatching, with nationally important populations of many species, including ringed plover, mute swan, whooper swan, mallard duck, tufted duck, and barnacle goose. Otters, a protected species, are known to breed at Killary Harbour.

Near the head of the fjord is Leenane, a picturesque village that featured in the classic film, The Field.

 

Killary Harbour on the map

 

Pic: unonkomo/Creative Commons