Discover Connemara

Connemara on the west coast of Ireland, has a rugged beauty which embraces breathtaking scenery, rugged peaks,  pristine lakes, and a dramatic coastline. Connemara serves as the ideal hub for your holiday adventures in Ireland, explore charming villages where traditional Irish culture thrives, experience outdoor adventures from hiking majestic mountains to cycling through amazing landscapes and horseback riding along windswept beaches. 

Immerse yourself in historical castles and monastic sites, within this paradise a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural richness, promising an unforgettable journey for any traveller.

What's On Connemara visitors guide

We also publish our What’s On Connemara visitors guide which happens to be 20 years in publication. In all that time, it’s been our privilege to help visitors plot a course through the colours, textures and flavours of our wild and beautiful home.  Whether a first-timer or seasoned voyager, we hope these pages will open up all the region has to offer – from its natural splendour to the vibrancy of its people.  Without further ado, we invite you to take a deep breath of Atlantic air.Now, let us take you even further into the heart of Connemara.

Cover of "What's On Connemara" magazine featuring an old, weathered boat amid blooming daisies, under a cloudy sky. Highlights 20th anniversary with events listed at the bottom.

What to see and do in Connemara

The Sky Road

The Sky Road in Clifden, Connemara, is an enchanting stretch of coastal roadway on the Wild Atlantic Way that offers a captivating journey through some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery.

As the road winds its way along the awe inspiring coastline, travellers are treated to sweeping panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean, and of the Islands. The ever-changing hues of the sky create a mesmerising backdrop, with clouds casting shadows that dance across the landscape. Along the route, there are ample opportunities to pull over and soak in the stunning vistas, from the tranquil bays dotted with fishing boats to the windswept expenses that stretch out to the horizon. Whether under the glow of the morning sun or the soft hues of twilight, the Sky Road is a testament to the raw beauty of Ireland’s west coast, leaving visitors spellbound by its sheer magnificence.

Clifden Castle

Constructed in the Gothic Revival style circa 1818, Clifden Castle was commissioned by John D’Arcy, a prosperous figure who aimed to establish the town of Clifden as a hub of commerce and industry in the rural expanse of Connemara.

Tasked with this endeavour, D’Arcy enlisted the expertise of renowned engineer Alexander Nimmo in 1822. Nimmo’s contributions included the construction of a road to Galway and a quay, effectively integrating Clifden into Ireland’s expanding infrastructure network. Under D’Arcy’s vision and Nimmo’s skill, Clifden thrived, evolving into a flourishing town by the time of D’Arcy’s passing in 1839, boasting a population exceeding 1,000. 

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park has over 2,000 hectares of pristine wilderness; it offers a glimpse into the region’s untamed landscape. Towering mountains, such as the iconic Diamond Hill, dominate the skyline, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean beyond.

This protected area is home to an array of flora and fauna, including rare species like the Connemara pony and various bird species. Hiking trails wind through heathlands, woodlands, and bogs, inviting visitors to explore its enchanting terrain. Connemara National Park serves not only as a haven for biodiversity but also as a cherished recreational retreat, offering solace and inspiration to all who wander its paths. The most popular walk in the National Park is the 7.1km track up Diamond Hill, It takes an average of 2 to 3 hours to complete, and is generally regarded as a moderately hard walk. Dogs are allowed, however they need to be kept leashed.

Roundstone

Roundstone, nestled in the heart of Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, is a picturesque coastal fishing village surrounded by the Twelve Bens mountain range and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, it boasts breathtaking scenery. Its harbour, bustling with colourful fishing boats, adds charm to the landscape. Visitors are drawn to its pristine beaches, such as Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay, renowned for their white sands and crystal-clear waters.

The village itself exudes a quaint charm, with traditional cottages, inviting pubs and eateries, and artisan craft shops. Roundstone embodies the essence of Ireland’s untamed west coast.

Leenane and Killary

Leenane and Killary lie nestled between the rugged Connemara mountains and the majestic mountains of Mayo, Leenane, a quaint village at the head of Killary Fjord, is a must stop for all travellers passing its door. It boasts breathtaking views of the fjord’s serene waters and the surrounding majestic mountains, inviting explorers to immerse themselves in its tranquil beauty. Killary fjord showcases a picturesque landscape of winding country roads, offering a haven for hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts. Both Leenane and the Killary Fjord epitomise the unspoiled splendour of rural Ireland, weaving a tapestry of scenic wonder and authentic Irish culture within its people and place.

Omey Island

Omey Island, located off the Connemara coast in County Galway, Ireland, is a mystical gem steeped in history and natural beauty. Accessible during low tide via a sandy causeway, it becomes an isolated island at high tide. The island boasts ancient ruins dating back to the early Christian period, including the remains of a mediaeval church and graveyard. Its rugged coastline and sandy beaches attract artists, photographers, and nature enthusiasts seeking solitude and inspiration. Omey’s rich maritime heritage, combined with its serene atmosphere and stunning vistas, make it a captivating destination for those seeking a glimpse of Ireland’s untouched allure.

Inishbofin Island

Inishbofin Island, has around 180 inhabitants and is a tourist destination which lies off Ireland’s western coast of County Galway it is a haven of natural beauty and rich history. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean,  it boasts rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and wonderful landscapes. Its Gaelic name translates to “Island of the White Cow,” a nod to its mythical origins. Inishbofin offers a glimpse into Ireland’s maritime heritage, while its pristine wilderness beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike, making it a cherished gem of the Emerald Isle. There are eateries and accommodation available on the island with access to the island via a ferry which leaves from Cleggan Pier.



Derrigimlagh Site

Derrigimlagh, located on the Ballyconnelly road outside Clifden , is a unique historical and natural site. It holds significant cultural and environmental importance. Once a thriving hub of Marconi transatlantic wireless telegraphy, it now preserves remnants of the early 20th-century communication technology. The site also witnessed the crash landing of Alcock and Brown’s first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919, marked by a commemorative sculpture. Derrigimlagh boasts diverse flora and fauna, including rare bird species, amidst its blanket bogs and heathlands. Visitors can explore its rich heritage through walking trails, interpretive panels, and immersive experiences, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

South Connemara Islands

The Lettermore and Lettermullen  and Gorumna  Islands, nestled off the Connemara coast in Ireland, offer a serene escape from bustling  life. Characterised by rugged beauty, these islands boast stunning landscapes, and are surrounded by the wild Atlantic Ocean, with bridges linking them to the mainland. Visitors can explore picturesque villages, such as Lettermore, where traditional Irish culture thrives. Rich in Gaelic heritage, the islands are home to ancient ruins and historic sites, providing a glimpse into Ireland’s storied past. Whether hiking along scenic trails or simply taking in the breathtaking views, these Islands offer an unforgettable retreat for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

The Bog Road

The Bog Road between Clifden and Roundstone winds through the unpolished charm of western Ireland, offering a glimpse into the region’s enchanting landscape. Lined by vast expanses of peat bogs, the heather-covered Twelve Bens, and tranquil lakes, it captivates travellers with its natural charm. Spectacular vistas unfold at every turn, showcasing the raw beauty of the west of Ireland. It’s a journey filled with a sense of mystique, where nature reigns supreme and whispers of ancient Celtic lore echo in the wind, leaving an indelible mark on all who traverse this path.

Renvyle Peninsula

Renvyle Peninsula, nestled on Ireland’s western coast, Juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.  It boasts sweeping vistas of dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches, and lush greenery. Dotted with quaint villages like Tullycross, Tully  and Letterfrack, it offers a glimpse into traditional Irish life. Nature enthusiasts revel in its diverse ecosystems, attracting birdwatchers and hikers alike. Whether seeking serenity in nature or adventure on the wild shores, Renvyle Peninsula beckons with its timeless allure.



Cleggan

Characterised by its quaint charm, Cleggan exudes a serene atmosphere, inviting visitors to unwind amidst its unspoiled landscape. Fishing boats reside in the harbour, and the ferry leaves for the picturesque island of Inishbofin from the pier in the village, reflecting the village’s maritime heritage. The beautiful coastline offers enchanting trails for nature enthusiasts. Cleggan’s warmth extends through its welcoming locals and traditional pubs resonating with lively Irish music, making it a quintessential Connemara experience.

Connemara Beaches

Connemara boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the world. With temperatures tempered by the Gulf Stream, even in winter, the climate remains pretty mild. The beaches offer a tranquil escape, where the only sound is the soothing lull of waves kissing the shore. The expansive stretches of white sands are often deserted, providing a sense of serenity and seclusion. Connemara’s beaches exude a raw, untouched beauty, offering a perfect sanctuary for those seeking solitude amidst nature’s breathtaking splendour. The Twelve Bens Mountain range is often the backdrop for many of the Connemara beaches, making it an artist’s paradise.

The Western Way Walking Trail

The Western Way, a scenic long-distance walking trail, winds through the picturesque landscapes of county Galway and Mayo in the west of Ireland. Commencing its journey in Oughterard, County Galway, the trail heads northward toward Maum, then meanders through the breathtaking Inagh valley before reaching the majestic Killary Harbour near Leenane and then on to Mayo.  Embark on a journey through rugged mountains, lush valleys, and serene lakeshores. Discover hidden ruins, nestled amid the untamed beauty. The trail’s meandering paths offer both challenge and tranquillity, inviting adventurers to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace. The Western Way is not just a trail; it’s an unforgettable odyssey through Ireland’s soul.

Clifden

Nestled amidst the wild beauty of Connemara, Clifden stands as the quintessential gateway to this enchanting region. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes of mountains, lakes, and the Wild Atlantic Way coastline, Clifden offers unrivalled access to Connemara’s wonders. Its vibrant atmosphere blends traditional Irish charm with modern amenities, boasting cosy pubs, charming cafes, and wonderful boutique shops. From here, adventurers can embark on expeditions to Connemara National Park, explore the scenic Sky Road, or indulge in outdoor pursuits like hiking, fishing, cycling and horseback riding. With its central location and warm hospitality, Clifden serves as the perfect base for an unforgettable Connemara experience.

Mauméan

Maumeen is a mountain pass in Connemara, County Galway at a height of just over 250m , that links the Maum and Inagh Valleys through the Maumturk mountains. The name comes from the Irish “Maum na Ean” which literally means “Pass of the Birds”. Two thousand years ago Maumeen was an important Celtic shrine. From this vantage point the coast is clearly visible in one direction and the inland valleys in the other direction. This was an ancient meeting place where people from either side of the mountain range would exchange produce and socialise.  The site was claimed by the early Christian church and they turned it into a shrine dedicated to Saint Patrick. During the 17th and 18th Centuries the “Penal Laws” outlawed the Catholic church. During that period Maumeen was used as a type of clandestine outdoor church known as a “mass rock”. After the repeal of the Penal Laws in the mid-19th Century, Maumeen returned to being the destination of an annual pilgrimage.

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