09 Sep 2020
An area of exceptional scenery packed with an array of great things to see and do, Connemara is one of the wonders of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
Located predominantly in County Galway, and with the Irish language, culture and traditional ways of life well preserved here, few places on the island capture the essence of Ireland like this iconic region. Here are 10 great things to do in captivating Connemara.
This vast and unspoilt national park is home to Connemara ponies, red deer, bird-life, grasslands, mountains, bogs, heaths and forests. Drivers can devote a full day to exploring, but walkers often choose to stay longer to hike the numerous trails – a highlight being the conical shaped Diamond Hill.
This 16-kilometre scenic loop is considered one of Ireland’s best drives. The views of the dramatic cliffs, mountains and seaside scenery are simply stunning, and there are multiple look-out points where you can pull over and gaze at them. No car? No problem. It’s definitely worth walking the Sky Road.
Set against a backdrop of mountains and ocean, Clifden is the largest town in Connemara and its unofficial capital. This charming and lively town is brimming with stylish restaurants, coffee and gift shops, art galleries and lots of quaint Irish pubs where traditional music and culture thrives.
A must-see in Connemara, Kylemore Abbey is regarded as one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings. Originally built as castle and given as a romantic gift in 1867, it boasts impressive architecture, a Victorian walled garden, a beautiful gothic church, breathtaking views and more.
This enchanting village was the filming location for the 1952 Irish-Holywood classic The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Among the many places to see are Cong Abbey, Ashford Castle, and of course the Quiet Man Museum, and there are tours and walks related to the film.
Dog's bay beach, Connemara, Co. Galway
Dogs Bay is a horseshoe-shaped bay with one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches in Ireland. The sand is made entirely of fragments of seashells, which give it a pure white colour. The bay faces due west and the bright white sands and crystal blue water are a picture at sunset.
Taste the best quality wild and organic salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring straight from the Atlantic Ocean, which ebbs, flows and rages just metres away from Connemara Smokehouse. Watch experts hand fillet and traditionally prepare the catch, before sampling the authentic Irish flavours.
As home to the Twelve Bens mountain range, Connemara is one of the best hiking destinations on the island of Ireland. If you are up for a challenge, it will be well worth trying to summit one of these great peaks.
With a long history of horses and all things equine, Connemara has a number of places where you can saddle up. Opt for a horse-riding tour along the coast and experience some of the Wild Atlantic Way on horseback.
See the unspoiled splendour of Ireland’s only fjord from a different angle on a boat tour. Killary Cruises will take you through the nine mile long inlet, which boasts some of the finest scenery in the west of Ireland.
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