Just west of Oughterard, amidst spectacular, rugged scenery, is one the most fascinating attractions in Connemara, the Glengowla Mines.
The Glengowla Silver and Lead Mine is a very impressive example of how part of our own industrial heritage has been reclaimed, restored and transformed into an outstanding and popular attraction.
There is so much to discover at the Mines, starting off with the Guided Tour leaving from the restored stone Heritage & Visitor’s Centre every 20 minutes.
This beautifully-preserved Connemara mine, abandoned in 1865, offers a unique look at 19th century methods of ore extraction and processing. The guided tour explores large marble chambers and caverns studded with silver pyrite and rich veins of calcite and quartz.
The mine is also well-known for its rare and beautiful octahedral crystals of fluorite and quartz, and it’s pitch pine timbers are believed to have been brought back to the West by the emigrant coffin ships. The rock formations that you’ll find in Glengowla are the ancient roots of mountains which once reached great heights.
And there’s still more to explore – the Agents House & the paymaster’s office, the spring well, the blacksmith’s shop, the horse whimm, circular stone powder house, gold panning, and of course, the lovely Rock & Mineral Gift shop for something special to take back with you.
The Mines are close by and easy to find, just two miles west of Oughterard village and just a 20 minute drive from Galway, 10 minutes to Maam Cross, and 40 minutes from Clifden.
Glengowla Mines are open daily, March to November, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. For visits at other times, just call in advance. School tours and other groups are very welcome as well—again, call in advance. For more information and an interesting slide show, check their website at http://www.glengowlamines.ie
or phone +353 (0)91 552 021 +353(0)87 252 9850
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