The Lost Valley
The valley's natural heritage is simply unsurpassed. The Lost Valley is designated as an ''Area of Special Scenic Importance'', a ''Special Amenity Area'' a ''Natural Heritage Area'' and a ''Special Area of Conservation'' under the European Habitats Directive.
Why you should visit The Lost Valley
Ireland's Lost Valley is located in the heart of the 'Wild Atlantic Way' and sheltered beneath Mweelrea, (The Bald King) the highest mountain in the west of Ireland. The lost Valley offers unique views of the entrance of Ireland's only fjord Killary Harbour and if your timing is right you can also catch the visit of the dolphins who frequent the fjord.Beyond the end of the road, The Lost Valley offers a unique window into the cultural heritage of the west of Ireland. See the ruined houses that the Irish people once lived in over 200 years ago.Indeed the valley is in itself, arguably the finest memorial of 'the Great Famine' that remains today. Visit the ruined famine village and see the multitude of potato ridges that have remained undisturbed and unattended for nearly two centuries. Today you can see potatoes being grown here in exactly the same traditional way as in pre famine Ireland.
Join us on a fully guided cultural adventure through this spectacular valley, which is suitable for all ages. Duration is 3 hours approximately as the heritage and history of The Lost Valley will be recounted and explained, while we make our way on a well developed 5 km trail along the different points of interest in the valley.
The Lost Valley is privately owned by the Bourke family. To us the D.N.A. of the Bourke's ( Burke, De Burca,) is not only scattered all over The Lost Valley, but at this stage it has become the Lost Valley itself. Generations of Bourkes have been isolated away from the rest of Ireland, hidden behind a rugged but majestic mountain. We eventually managed to put in place a safe access to the valley and are now happy to share our heritage with you.
We have owned and farmed The Lost Valley for over a century. Before that our family worked as Sheppard's for the landlord in the valley and before that we were actually one of the families evicted from the village and the valley during the great famine. In fact the Bourke family have lived and farmed in The Lost Valley for over three centuries. Maureen and myself (Gerard) and our family were the first to enjoy safe convenient access to our home, when in the late eighties we built a roadway over the mountainside. Many previous generations had traversed the mountainside on foot, or taken a dangerous route through the foreshore when the tide was out, to access their home in the valley. Seven generations of Bourkes takes us back to when records began. Their predecessors are now lost in the mists of time.Over the generations many unsuccessful pleas for assistance with the building of a roadway into The Lost Valley were made, but the reality was that it was always going to be a difficult, expensive undertaking. On one memorable occasion the family took court action against the Irish Land Commission to try to get them to help. The Land Commission successfully claimed in court that a reasonable contribution to the costs of the roadway would be beyond their means and ''it would be cheaper to buy a helicopter''.
No doubt this inaccessibility contributed in a major way to the preservation of the heritage of The Lost Valley of Uggool,( Eagle's Egg ) as only the most intrepid visitors ventured in and indeed very many of the locals will tell you today that they had never seen The Lost Valley previously.Traditionally the Bourkes have farmed Sheep and Suckler cows that run with a stock bull and a few horses. Today sheep are the main enterprise with a 500 ewe flock which are mainly of the native blackface mountain breed. There are crossed with a meat sire usually of the Suffolk or Charolais breed. Ewes lamb in April and most of the lambs are sold with the weanling cattle in September or October. Cattle and horses are removed from the trail area when the heritage trail is in use, as a health and safety precaution.
We opened 'The Lost Valley' to the public in June 2015 as a unique totally authentic visitor experience. We have, without exception received a resoundingly positive response from our visitors. We can with complete truthfulness say that very many of the overseas visitors who participated in our tour, assured us with obvious sincerity that The Lost Valley experience had been the highlight of their Irish trip.
We are now confident that we have an extremely good offering that will provide an unforgettable experience for all our visitors.