Explore Connemara & The Aran Islands
Connemara & The Aran Islands
A sandy beach, safe for swimming, located on the North of the island offering fabulous views of Connemara.
Connemara Events Guide
Éigse an Spidéil A community festival which takes place in Spiddal in February Éigse an Spidéil celebrates different aspects of local culture including singing, dancing and poetry. This festival provides a wide variety of events from music sessions and concert to poetry night and traditional dancing. Click the link below to find out more: http://www.eigseanspideil.ie/ TBC
Éigse an Spidéil
Traidphicnic is a fun filled traditional music, arts and cultural festival which takes place in Spiddal in July. There is something for everyone with plenty of concerts to enjoy and workshops and activities for those who want to get stuck in! There are workshops in traditional music, dancing, singing and storytelling to more unconventional activities like circus skills, t-shirt design and jewellery making. Click the link below for more information; http://traidphicnic.com/ TBC
A sandy beach, safe for swimming, located on the North of the island offering fabulous views of Connemara.
A long white sandy beach with crystal clear water, an ideal spot for swimming and watersports. It holds the Green Coast award and has a seasonal lifeguard.
A beach of fine coral-like sand located in An Ceathrú Rua, a great spot for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
tra an dóilín
A white sandy beach located in Indreabhán with clear water and great views of the coastline.
an tra mhór
Located close to Barna, Silverstrand is a sandy shallow beach which is safe for swimming with parking facilities
A beautiful beach close to Claddaghduff and the only way to access Omey Island by foot.
Seaweed foraging is an up-and-coming popular excursion among nature enthusiasts looking to explore the seaside. Seaweed has always held an economical significance in Connemara and the Aran Islands and has a long history of using it as a food source and a fertiliser in places such as the Aran Islands. There are many types of seaweed available along the Connemara and Aran Island coastline that are used for food, medical and beauty products today.
Take a walk through the unique but spectacular Connemara Boglands. A bog is a freshwater wetland of soft, spongy ground consisting mainly of partially decayed plant matter called peat. Connemara was intrinsically linked to the boglands as peat was the only source of fuel for many people. There is a lot of back-breaking work involved in cutting, footing, gathering and saving turf(dried out peat sods) and traditionally, the whole family were called upon to work on the bog. There are no boglands on the Aran Islands, however, Connemara people used to sail out to the islands on Hookers to trade turf.
Take a trip on a unique Galway Hooker traditional wooden boat around the scenic and rugged Connemara coast along the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way. The hooker, a sailboat unique to Galway is a historical Connemara symbol. Hookers played an important role in the economy of the coastal communities in Connemara. They were used for fishing and carrying cargoes of turf, livestock, general supplies, lime, poitín(an illegal alcohol) and seaweed.
The Gaeltacht has a central role to play in the learning of Irish. Learners of Irish flock to Connemara and the Aran Islands year after year recognising it as a rich source in which to learn and practise Irish, as Irish can be heard in all aspects of daily life. Attending Gaeltacht courses allows learners and speakers to immerse themselves in Irish and to enrich and develop their vocabulary. There are a vast range of courses available in the Connemara Gaeltacht and the Aran Islands for adults and teenagers alike.
16km 1+ hour This route offers miles and miles of single track in the most spectacular setting imaginable with outstanding views of mountains, lakes and forests all combined with big climbs and big descents. It is a circular way marked loop of around 16km with a little over 13km on single track. Parts of the trail are technical, steep and rocky and you need to know how to handle a bike over all kinds of terrain including exposed rock slabs, boulders, mud, roots, loose gravel and even elevated timber boardwalks. Please ensure that your bike is in good working order and always carry spare warm clothing, water and food. Always wear a helmet and be prepared for any eventuality. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back. Always ride within your abilities and take care. Courtesy of Coillte
8km 30min On this fabulous route you will get a chance to explore the island and visit all of its main attractions along with breathtaking views of the sea, the lake, the neighbouring island of Inishmaan, the legendary Cliffs of Moher and the 12 Bens. You will see the ruins of a10th century sunken church, the Plassey shipwreck, O’ Brien’s castle and much more! This route suits all levels of fitness and brings you back to the centre of the village where you can enjoy a cuppa or pint before ambling the last 300m back to the trailhead at the pier. Bikes are available for hire from Rothaí Inis Oírr situated just at the pier!
55km – 4 hours This full day cycle around Inishmore Islands is extremely popular, interesting and stunningly scenic. Inishmore is the largest of the Aran Islands off the west coast of co. Galway, Ireland. This route is a moderate full day (55 km) cycling route around the entire island stopping at all the best sights including the ancient stone fort of Dun Aonghasa, the strange natural rock formation and blow hole known as ‘Poll na Péiste’ (the Serpents Lair), scenic viewing points, beaches, headlands and old churches. Straight off the ferry, you can rent a bike for this stunning cycle route around the entire island and depending on time available you can judge how many places you can visit and explore.
This route gives cyclists the opportunity to explore the unique barren but beautiful landscape that is typically associate with Connemara. The route begins in Carrore where the cyclist can visit the legendary Coral Strand. Further north lie the South Connemara Islands, which are a series of archipelagos, islets and rocks to the west of the Carraroe Peninsula in West Galway. These islands lie off the main tourist trail and as a result are still unspoiled and relatively unexplored.The local wildlife is spectacular with large numbers of seals, some of which are inquisitive, and otters, which quite definitely are not. Birds include Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull, and large numbers of Red Breasted Merganser. Courtesy of Ireland Byways
41km 2 hours Travel around this stunning peninsula on the edge of the Atlantic with the most spectacular sea views. Carna and Cill Chiaráin are the two main villages and it is a Gaeltacht area and 80% of its inhabitants are native speaker. Fascinating area to explore with many islands, historic remains and fine sandy beaches. Cyclists follow the coast road and then cross the peninsula taking in the magnificent views of Cnoc Mordáin, the best of the south Connemara summits. The slightly pinkish granite of the ridge has been shaped by the passage of abrasive laden ice into roche moutonée.
24km 1.5hours The route begins in Oughterard and follows the Lough Corrib shoreline for some ten kilometres north west toward Maum. It is the second largest lake in Ireland at 176 km². In places it is 47 metres deep. Wildlife in and about Lough Corrib includes hawks, otters, mink, stoat, frogs, and bats.A few kilometres beyond Doon Rock the trail enters a forestry plantation and for the first time the sensation of remoteness will be experienced. The R336 brings the hiker over the pass and down toward Maum. The trail turns west 300 metres south of Maum Bridge. Courtesy of Westernway.ie
40 Kilometres: 3 hours On this route cyclists can take in the lovely natural wilderness of Derrygimlagh and Roundstone bogs. They will see the site of the crash-landing of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock & Brown in 1919, as well as the old Marconi transatlantic wireless station. Further on towards Ballyconneely, Coral Strand makes a lovely photo stop. At Roundstone, one of the oldest fishing villages in Ireland, cyclists can experience the local fishermen’s’ catch of the day direct from its busy harbour. Nearby cyclists can also visit the stunning beaches of Gurteen and Dog’s Bay with their pristine white sands and azure waters. On the coast road there are fine views and generally gentle gradients. Courtesy of Failte Ireland
33 Kilometres: 2+ hours This route is a longer trip north to the rocky Connemara coast around Cleggan, following the fringes of Streamstown Bay. The route passes Omey Island and cyclists can opt to visit this small but beautiful island on foot when the tide is out. Near the charming fishing village of Cleggan visitors can climb to the top of Cleggan Head where they can admire the views of the village below as well as Inishbofin, Inishturk, Clare Island and the imposing Twelve Bens mountain range. There is an option to catch the ferry at the pier in Cleggan to the island of Inishbofin. From Cleggan a mountain road climbs more gradually through a forested area before a speedy descent back down to the town. Courtesy of Failte Ireland.
14 Kilometres: 1+ hours This is a short loop. From Bridge Street in Clifden cyclists can pause to view the Owenglen Cascade where salmon can be seen leaping upstream before continuing on up a steady hill while enjoying fine views of Clifden Bay. A signpost indicating the Alcock & Brown monument is the signal to turn. The monument offers a magnificent panoramic vantage point. Water and stone are the themes of this circuit; the rocky landscape is typical of Connemara. Courtesy of Failte Ireland
16 Kilometres: 1+ hours Overlooking Clifden Bay to the South and Streamstown Bay to the North, this route rises more than 150 m above sea level and has spectacular views of the Atlantic, the islands of Inishturk, Turbot and Clifden town. You will also see the ruin of Clifden Castle, former home of John D’Arcy who founded the town at the start of the 19th century. The terrain is relatively flat towards the end of the peninsula. Cyclists follow the coastline of the tranquil Streamstown Bay back towards the main road. Courtesy of Failte Ireland
Start off in Maum, travel along the R345 out to Cong, home of the magnificent Ashford Castle and a discovery point. You will pass an Orientation Point on the east overlooking Loch Corrib and the Maumturk Mountain Range to the west. At Cong take the R300 to Clonbur, where there are a number of hill walks, including the infamous Mount Gable.Continue on to Leenane, the Party Mountains and Lough Mask lie to the north. Continue on the N59 towards Letterfrack and take the turnoff for Lough Inagh Valley for spectacular views of Lough Inagh, the Twelve Bens and the Maamturks. Total distance: 68km; 2 hours
Take the R336 out west along the coast road taking in views of the Burren and the Aran Islands across the water. Veer right and continue north along the R336 once you come to the Ros a’ Mhíl junction. Continue north on the R336 to Screebe taking in views of the Hill of Mordan. Continue west on R340 to Pearses Cottage and Cultural Centre in Ros Muc. Head south on the R340 to Kilkieran. Continue west around the Iorras Aithneach peninsula until you get to Carna. Drive through Carna village and follow the road out to Moyrus to find a quiet beach of crystal clear water and white sand. Continue to make your way around the peninsula to Glynsk house, a perfect stop for lunch which brings you back on the R340 Continue north on the R340 and take a right at the T junction onto the N59. Continue along the R340 for just over 1 km until you see the turn off on the left for Letterfrack. Continue along the R344 with caution as you will come across sheep wandering freely on this road! Then you will come to the spectacular Lough Inagh Valley with views of […]
Starting from Spiddal, follow the spectacular R336 coastal out to Ros a Mhíl taking in views of the Burren and the Aran Islands across the water. Take a loop around the bay along the R343 to Carraroe while taking in spectacular views of the rocky landscape and peep through the cracks of the dry stone walls built by hand. Drive north along the R374 to Bealadangan taking in more curious sights of this unique barren landscape where the sky is reflected all around you in the abundance of lakes and rivers. Continue along the R374 as you now enter the archipelago low-lying islands, commonly known as the most peaceful area of Connemara. Drive all the way through the islands connected by bridges as far as Furnish Go back on yourself to Bealadangan and take the R340 to Pearses Cottage, Pearse was an Irish nationalist leader, poet, and educator. Visit the newly built cultural centre which will give you an insight to local culture and heritage. Travel back to Screebe along the R340. Take the R336 and travel north to Maam Cross.Take the N59 to Moycullen and take the turn off for Spiddal. 124km 2.5 hours
Starting off in Maam cross head south on the R336 in the direction of Screebe taking in views of the rugged rocky connemara landscape and lakes. Head west on the R340 to Pearses Cottage, Pearse was Irish nationalist leader, poet, and educator. Visit the newly built cultural centre which will give you an insight to local culture and heritage Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh Head southwest on R340 to Carna travelling around the peninsula of Iorras Aithneach and taking in views of the bay in Kilkieran. Carna has many white sand beaches with clear water, it’s worth taking time out to explore Head north on R340 and then turn off to R342 for Cashel and enjoy the magnificent views of the Twelve Bens. Head west on the R342 and take the turn for R341 for Roundstone at the T-junction.Roundstone is a picturesque quaint harbour village with some lovely bars and restaurants. Dogs Bay is a spectacular beach located just a stone’s throw from Roundstone Head West on the R341 to Ballyconneely, a popular destination for holiday makers with beaches with crystal clear water and an internationally renowned links golf course. Head north on R341 to Clifden. You’ll be passing a discover […]
Connemara and the Aran Islands along the western seaboard is the richest region in the country for traditional music and dance. Whether you’re a musician or enthusiast there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the vibrant world of traditional Irish music. There is an abundance of workshops, summer schools, music festivals, classes and live music sessions throughout the region.
Dun Aengus, the largest prehistoric stone fort of the Aran Islands, is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls made of blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. The fort sits on a 300 ft cliff and offers the visitor spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Excavations carried out in the 1990s indicated that the cliff tops had been inhabited from as early as c.1500 BC with the first walls and houses being built c. 1100 BC. An amazing network of defensive stones surrounds the whole structure.
Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh, Conamara is located in Ros Muc, in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht, on the Wild Atlantic Way. It was here that Patrick Pearse, writer, educator and leader of the 1916 Rising built a cottage for himself on the shores of Loch Oiriúlach in 1909. The Visitor Centre houses a fascinating interactive exhibition dealing with Pearse’s legacy, and exploring the things that drew Pearse to Connemara, the area’s unique landscape and history, and the ancient gaelic culture and language which is still alive in the area today. 21st century Connemara, which maintain’s the traditions of the past, while looking to the future, is also celebrated. Visitors can take the short stroll from the Centre across the bog up to Pearse’s cottage itself, left just as it was when he departed for the final time in 1915, and meet the local guides who are steeped in Connemara’s vibrant culture. Visitors can also sample local delicacies at our café, and take a break from the road, which looking out on Connemara’s lakes and mountains.
Leaving and returning Life was hard for the 400 families living here in the mid 19th century. The population halved in ten years around the time of the Great Famine. A Tuke family Encouraging families to emigrate was Quaker James Hack Tuke’s solution. At least one family from Omey Island took up his offer of an assisted passage to North America, sailing from Galway in 1883. Soupers and jumpers Poverty, hunger and evictions continued to haunt the island. Evangelical missions battled for the souls of the poor by offering soup and schooling if they switched religion. A riot broke out in 1879 when a local Catholic priest accused Omey Island’s Protestant schoolmaster of stealing his flock. The schoolmaster, father of poet Louis MacNeice, had to leave Conamara. The last resident of Omey Island-born Pascal Whelan emigrated to Australia in 1962. He returned to island solitude after a career as a Hollywood stuntsman —————— Item image credit: Omey Strand Horses on beach – image copyright Jonathan Wilkins and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Take the N59 from Galway city out to Moycullen. Lough Corrib, the biggest fishing lake in Galway is to your north. Continue on to Oughterard where cruises on the Corrib out to Ashford Castle and to Inchagoill, a historical island on the Corrib, are available. Continue on to Maam Cross and take the R336 to Maum to take in spectacular views of Lough Corrib. Take the same road back to Maam Cross and continue on the N59 to Recess, taking in the views of the many small lakes on the way. When you come to Recess there are three popular fishing lakes, Lough Inagh, Ballynahinch Lake and Derryclare Lough. Ballynahinch Castle has beautiful grounds and is well worth a visit. Take the R341 out as far as the Anglers Return. Take the same road to return back to the N59 and continue on to Clifden Total Distance: 101 km; 2 hours
The Coastal Route explores the vast, spectacularly beautiful Connemara coast. It’s advisable to complete it over two days and staying the night somewhere considered halfway. Take the R336 from Galway city. You will pass Silverstrand Beach in Barna holds the blue flag and is safe to swim in. Continue on through Furbo as far as Spiddal taking in spectacular views of Galway Bay and County Clare in the distance. Spiddal has a nice beach and pier worth exploring. Continue on to Inverin, home to An TráMhór, another blue flag beach safe for swimming. While driving through Inverin you will be able to see the spectacular Aran Islands in the distance. You will also pass by Connemara Airport with daily flights out to the Aran Islands. Continue on the R336 and you will reach the turnoff for Rossaveal, a beautiful fishing village where the port for the Aran Islands is situated. A daily ferry service runs to each of the Aran Islands. Continue on the R336 to Costelloe, where you will find a Tourist Information Office. Here, take the R343 to Carraroe, where the Coral Strand is situated, another blue flag beach indicating it is safe to swim. Continue back on […]
Take the N59 north to Cleggan. From here you can get a ferry out to Inishbofin or go horse riding out to the tidal island of Omey or simply enjoy the sea views of Inis Boffin, InisTurc and even as far as Achill Island. Travel along the lake road until you come to Moyard. Then take the N59 to Letterfrack, home to Connemara National Park, wherein you will find Diamond Hill, popular among all levels and age groups. Without a doubt, Diamond Hill is one of the best places to observe Connemara’s soaring mountains, scattered lakes and intricate coastline all at once. Travel north along the Connemara loop to come to the quaint village of Tully Cross. There are plenty of places to stop for something to eat. Travel North along the Connemara loop taking in panoramic views of inlets. You will be driving through Killary, Ireland’s most dramatic fjord sculpted by glaciers many moons ago. There are many ways to pass the day here with spas and seaweed baths, a sheep farm and boat tours. Travel south along the R336 to Maum and enjoy the views of the valleys Head east along the R345 to Cornamona taking in views […]
Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens is the biggest attraction in the West of Ireland. The Abbey, an extraordinary example of Victorian architecture, was built on the shores of a lake in the heart of the 1,500 acre estate. There is a complimentary shuttle bus up to the six acre Victorian walled garden including a number of walks and trails and a spectacular mountain walk. The community of Benedictine nuns who arrived in 1920 offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy the peace and natural beauty of Kylemore. There is also a café, tea house and gift shop at Kylemore for visitors to enjoy.
Inis Mor is an the largst of the Islands, located off Irelands west coast.
Take the N59 north to Cleggan. From here you can get a ferry out to Inishbofin or go horse riding out to the tidal island of Omey or simply enjoy the sea views of Inis Boffin, Inis Turc and even as far as Achill Island. Travel along the lake road until you come to Moyard. Then take the N59 to Letterfrack, home to Connemara National Park, wherein you will find Diamond Hill, popular among all levels and age groups. Without a doubt, Diamond Hill is one of the best places to observe Connemara’s soaring mountains, scattered lakes and intricate coastline all at once. Travel north along the Connemara loop to come to the quaint village of Tully Cross. There are plenty of places to stop for something to eat. Travel North along the Connemara loop taking in panoramic views of inlets. You will be driving through Killary, Ireland’s most dramatic fjord sculpted by glaciers many moons ago. There are many ways to pass the day here with spas and seaweed baths, a sheep farm and boat tours. Travel south along the R336 to Maum and enjoy the views of the valleys Head east along the R345 to Cornamona taking in […]
Mayor of Boston to launch exciting new website for Connemara & Aran
New destination website for Connemara and the Aran Islands is being launched today at Golden Bridges in Boston by mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh. The Mayor’s parents hail from Ros Muc and Carna, and he officially opened the Emigration Centre in Carna. If you would like your business to be listed on the website you can sign up online @ Connemara.ie