Recess

As you continue northwest from Oughterard on N59, you'll soon pass a string of small lakes on your left; their shining blue waters reflecting the blue sky are a typical Connemara sight on a sunny day. About 16 km (10 miles) northwest of Oughterard, the continuation of the coast road (R336) meets N59 at Maam Cross in the shadow of Leckavrea Mountain. Once an important meeting place for the people of north and south Connemara, it now serves mainly as a handy pit stop on the road between Galway City and Clifden. It's still the location of a large monthly cattle fair but is rather eerie and empty the rest of the time unless a tour bus arrives.

Beyond Maam Cross, some of the best scenery in Connemara awaits on the road to Recess, 16 km (10 miles) west of Maam Cross on N59. At many points on this drive, a short walk away from either side of the main road leads you to the shores of one of the area's many small loughs. Stop and linger if the sun is out—even intermittently—for the light filtering through the clouds gives splendor to the distant, dark-gray mountains and creates patterns on the brown-green moorland below. In June and July, it stays light until 11 or so, and it's worth taking a late-evening stroll to see the sun's reluctance to set.

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