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Clonbur (Irish: An Fhairche, meaning “the green” or originally Cluan Barr, meaning “the meadow of the knolls”) is a Gaeltacht village in County Galway between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask. Two kilometres to the west rises Mount Gable where, according to legend, the hordes of Firbolg gathered on the hilltop before their clash with the Tuatha Dé Danann at the Battle of Moytura.

The Clonbur woods constituted the largest demonstration site for the “Woodland restoration in Ireland” project, an awarded EU-LIFE Nature 4-year project (2006 to 2009) co-funded by Coillte that saw almost 300ha undergo restoration work. Native woodland is a relatively uncommon habitat in Ireland, having been cleared by millenia of human activity. It is a very important habitat for wildlife as it supports many bird species, mammals, such as the pine marten and red squirrel, invertebrates and a wide diversity of plant species.

Clonbur also contains the ruins of the Petersburgh Estate, the seat of the Lynch family, one of whose members, John Lynch, was a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence. In more recent times, it was owned by the Guinness family. Part of the estate was gifted to the State and is now an outdoor education facility.

The top of Mount Gable (425 metres) provides views of both Lough Mask and Lough Corrib, and is accessible through the villages of Ballyveane and Kilbeg Upper. It has numerous walks, dominates the isthmus between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, and overlooks one of the major routes into Connemara from the east. The starting point for a walk is about 2 km from the village of Clonbur. Beside Lough, Coolin are the stone cottage ruins of an old village. The lake was renowned for white trout until the early 1960s when pike was added. Pike and perch are now the only fish in the lake. A stream from the Lough Coolin flows into Lough Mask.

Ballykyne Castle is one of a series of five fortifications from Ballinrobe to Ballindonage, originally owned by the O’Kynes. For a period the de Burgos held it and later gave it to the MacDonnells (Scottish mercenaries) as service booty or bonnacht. Eventually it passed from Sir Richard O’Donnell to Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness and so became part of the Guinness estate. Architecturally, the castle is a mixture. The trabeated doorway with its inclined jambs pre-dates the rest of the structure by 900 years. Certain sections of the stonework are not bonded together as a unit, a feature which suggests later additions to the original building.

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