- Discover Connemara
Connemara National Park | Clifden | Oughterard | Roundstone | Inishboffin | The Twelve Bens | Carraroe | Aran Islands | Inishshark | Westport | Maam Cross | Maam | Leenane | Killary | Lettergesh | Tully Cross | Tully | Renvyle | Pearses Cottage | Connemara Smokehouse | Glengowla mines | Aughenure Castle | Kirk Castle | Adventure | The Western Way | Sli Connemara | Connemarathon | Golf |
Connemara remains one of the wildest and most rugged parts of the Ireland. Even Irish people are surprised at its beauty when they pay a visit. Connemara is wild, wet, and windy but incredibly beautiful, with misty mountains, deep lakes and rivers, waterfalls and forests. It’s completely unspoilt.
Covering almost 3000 hectares of land, Connemara NP has been open since 1980. Four of the 12 Bens lie in the NP, as well as beautiful woodlands and grasslands.
Referred to as the capital of Connemara, Clifden is situated on Clifden Bay. It is a lively town with many restaurants and pubs to choose from. Come here to August for the Connemara Pony Show, a colourful spectacle. Be sure to take the 11km Sky Road. Drive along the bay, it’s quite spectacular. Clifden is the site of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown in 1919.
Oughterard is known as the gateway to Connemara, you will arrive here from Galway. It’s a big enough town, and very picturesque.
Come to see the currach races or the Galway Hookers, or partake in some surfing, or sailing of your own.
The legend goes that two fishermen lit a fire on the shore in order to break a curse which placed the island under a contstant shroud of fog. When the fog cleared, they saw an old woman chasing a white cow. When she hit the cow with her stick she turned to stone. The woman and the cow are said to appear to warn of impending disaster.
Go from Cleggan Harbour. Inishboffin is a small island, but there’s plenty to do here and it’s well worth a look. You can go sailing, fishing, swimming on one of the beautiful beaches, or enjoy a quiet pint in one of the hotels or the pub.
To the north east of Roundstone you will see the small mountain range of the 12 Bens. They are very pretty and as they are not too tall, make for great hill walking. And the views from the top of these mountains is exceptional.
Carraroe is on a peninsula between Great Mans Bay (Cuan an Fhir Mhoir) and Casla Bay (Cuan Casla). Come here to see the coral beach, Tra an Doilin, swim or watch the boat races, the Galway Hookers or Baid Mhora and the leathbhaid. These boats once brought turf to the Aran Islands and Clare, now they race.
Carraroe, along with Spiddal, Lettermore, Carna and Rosmuc are Irish speaking parts of Connemara.
You can fly from Inverin with Aer Arran or take the ferry from Ros a’ Mhil. The islands are Inishmor, Inish Meain and Insiheer. Gaelic is spoken here.
Visit the deserted village on Inishshark. And Insihturk is worth a visit also. Visit Grace O’ Malleys old stomping ground on Clare Island.
Westport is a beautiful small town in the west of Ireland. One of the most visited places in Westport is Westport House, built in the ruins of Grainne Mhaol’s Castle. The world famous Croagh Patrick is near the town.
It’s a legendary town for stags and hens and you’re sure to have a good time. Lots of hotels and B&Bs and apartments to rent, great pubs, sessions.
Peacocks in Maam Cross is a great place to get a drink and a bite to eat before you head off on your tour of Connemara. The location couldn’t be better, it’s surrounded by lakes and mountains and gives you a glimpse of what lies ahead. In October there is a large fair which is a good day out.
Famous for being a film location for the Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’ Hara, Maam itself is stunning, surrounded by trees and mountains. There are some walking trails, and an angling centre.
Leenane sits on the Killary Fjord, Ireland’s only fjord. Leenane is a very old style village. There’s a cultural centre in the town which showcases the local history.
Across the fjord from Leenane sits Killary. There is plenty to do here as there is an adventure centre (with a bungee jump) based here. You can also get a cruise out onto the fjord from here.
Come here to see the fabulous beaches, go scuba diving or relax and go fishing.
Tully Cross is a small but lively village, with thatched cottages, shops, hotels, and pubs. Look for the Ogham Stone, a stone with ancient script and more.
There's a beautiful beach, a Teach Ceoil, walks and horseriding.
O’ Flaherty Castle, home of Grace O’ Malley, the Pirate Queen, beautiful beaches, fishing, golf, scuba diving, horse riding, the white strand beach, watch the sunset on Renvyle Point.
Patrick Pearse (1879-1916) was the leader of the 1916 Rising and used this cottage in Connemara as his Summer residence. It now houses an exhibition on his life.
A rare traditional smokehouse, where salmon is smoked and marinated.
19th century silver and lead mines where you can get a tour underground.
Stronghold of the ferocious O’ Flahertys, a powerful Irish Clan that ruled the area around Lough Corrib. The tower house has a secret room under the Lord’s chamber.
The castle of the hen, an old fortress built on an island in Lough Corrib, very impressive.
Connemara is rapidly and deservedly gaining a reputation for adventure sports. Killary Adventure Centre, Delphi, and Petersburg are leading the way in organised adventure days out and weekends.
THere are a huge amount of adventure sports you can try here such as canoeing, sailing, caving, orienteering, bungee jumping, climbing, zip rope and diving.
Horseriding – www.connemara-trails.com
Cruise the fjord at Killary. Deep sea fishing at an Spideal and Cleggan. Dive centre at Renvyle.
Oughterard, western edge of Lough Corrib, Maamturks, Inagh Valley and around to Killary Harbour.
Galway city – An Spideal – An Cheathru Rua – Ros Muc – Carna – Letterfrack – Leenane – Clonbur
The connemarathon takes place in April around a very scenic area of Connemara.
Connemara Championship Links(www.connemaragolflinks.com) near Clifden. 27 hole golf course nestled between the twelve bens and the Atlantic.
18 holes – Oughterard Golf Club (www.oughterardgolfclub.com) – parkland golf course.
9 holes – Connemara Isles Golf Club at Aneach Feain in Leitir Mor, which has stunning views and is always a challenge (www.connemaraislesgolfclub.com)
Renvyle Golf Club – on the grounds of Renvyle House Hotel between a lake (lough Rusheenduff and the Atlantic)