A Connemara Adventure
You haven’t been to Galway if you haven’t been to Connemara. It’s an unforgettable place to visit and the perfect day trip from Galway City. Read on to understand more of what makes Connemara great and once you understand, you’ll have to go off and book a comfortable budget hotel like Travelodge Galway Hotels. Then race to that wild part of Ireland where the grandness of the coastline is combined with the unfeigned friendliness of the native population.
Breathe in the Connemara Air
Breathtaking scenery, amazing ocean views, stunning rivers, lakes and mountains only an hour from the festival charms of Galway City, it’s perhaps not surprising that Connemara has been the poster child of Irish tourism for many years. But don’t be cynical about those claims, this part of County Galway really is that beautiful and the best place to understand that is in the almost 3000 hectares of Connemara National Park. Walk or run through unspoilt countryside or enjoy the family attractions of an excellent visitor centre, children’s playground and Connemara Ponies on tap while you’re there.
If you’d prefer a different view of Connemara, try the island of Inishbofin. A short ferry ride from Cleggan will see you setting foot on pristine sandy beaches and exploring ancient fortifications or if the weather doesn’t hold sheltering in the warm pubs full of friendly locals full of great craic.
What to see in Connemara
Just in case you tire easily of splendidly wild landscapes, there are plenty of other options for the visitor to Connemara. Make a beeline for the stunning location of the Victorian Kylemore Abbey with its castellated buildings, walled garden and Neo-Gothic church. Kylemore is a rest stop for both soul and body with its local crafts and its restaurant which is one of the best in the whole of Galway.
Alternatively turn to the Connemara Ocean and Country Seaside Visitor Centre near Letterfrack to gen up on the local maritime history and if the sea is calm take a trip on the purpose built glass bottom boat to gain wonderful underwater views of Ballinakill Harbour. Don’t miss out either on the Connemara Heritage and History Centre near Clifden where you can learn all about crafts traditional to the area and see reconstructions of a crannog and a ring fort.
The People of Connemara
Visit Connemara’s friendly capital, Clifden before you leave the area and pick up those requisite woolly jumpers. But Clifden is more than just a tourist mecca, there are also superb contemporary Irish boutiques, local arts and crafts centres and plenty of good places to eat and drink and listen to Irish traditional music surrounded by friendly locals.
You can’t visit the harbour village of Roundstone and not be charmed by the self-same locals as well as by the local beaches of Dog’s Bay and Gurteen and the local seafood on offer in excellent restaurants. The drive from Clifden to Roundstone along the Bog Road is worth the price of admission alone.
The Connemara Roads
Driving the roads of Connemara is just pure pleasure. The highlight of the many great touring routes is the Sky Road near Clifden which looks down on the bay and you skirt the coastline in an eight-mile loop that brings you back to the charming town of Clifden. At the stop points along the route, you may take pictures that you’ll never equal.
Another gem of a driving route is the longer Connemara Loop which takes cards through the North West Connemara landscape touching down in beautiful villages like Maam Cross or Leenane. Fancy a stretch of the legs? Then hop out at one of any gorgeous strands along the way like Glassilaun Beach or Lettergesh. Finally, you have the option of driving to Killary Fjord, the largest in Ireland, before settling in the lovely town of Letterfrack for a bite to eat and then back to Galway City.
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