photo by Marc Llopart

Connemara National Park

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Connemara, in the northwest of County Galway, West Ireland has scenery like that out of a fairy tale. Its mountains are a deep and rich colour of green and when the clouds roll in it seems almost magical.


Connemara is the pennisula of Western Galway. It has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its barren windswept landscape is compelling and inspiring. The blanket bog covering the region houses some beautiful and varied flora, and provides a contrast to the more green and fertile land of the midlands and the south. The ancient mountains have been raked to their bones by long thawed glaciers, leaving patches of grey granite and jutting outwards, and potatoe rows still visible from the desperate times of the Great Famine. The fields are divided by hand made stone walls, often collapsed. The Atlantic coast is dramatic and powerful, filling one with appreciation for the fear that the Irish men and women from this region must have felt when preparing for the trip across it.


  • Carraroe

  • Claddaghduff

  • Cleggan

  • Clifden

  • Leenane

  • Omey Island

  • Spiddal

Other destinations

  • Inishbofin Island

  • Omey Island

Getting there

  • Bus Éireann : Route 420, from Galway to Clifden winds through most of the major destinations.

  • Citylink has started a route to Clifden and Letterfrack from Galway.

  • For drivers, take the N59 or R336 northwest from Galway City. The N59 is the main road from Galway to Clifden, while the R336 winds its way along the southern shore before turning north to Leenane. The two roads intersect at Maam Cross.

Traveling around

Citylink, Bus Eireann, Taxis and Hackneys for private hire


Known as Ireland’s most romantic Castle, Kylemore Abbey, located in Connemara, Co. Galway is the No.1 tourist attraction in the West of Ireland. Perfect for a family day out and easily accessible from Galway or Mayo, It offers visitors scenic photographic opportunities as well as woodland walks, garden tours, fascinating history, beautiful architecture, ample shopping in the craft shop and tempting homemade delights in the restaurant and tea rooms. Definitely one of the highlights of a tour in the area, but be sure to get there early enough to go see the Victorian Walled Garden -- there is a mandatory shuttle to the garden and if you miss the last one, too bad. The abbey has a few rooms on display, and you can also walk down the lake to the church and mausoleum. Magnificent views.

Things to do

  • Scuba Dive West , Renvyle, Co. Galway, Offers PADI courses and boat diving in scenic Little Killary and environs.

  • Hiking is the best way to see Connemara. Highlights include the Twelve Bens, a small range of mountains stretching between Kylemore Lake and Lough Derryclare. Parts of the bens are included in Connemara National Park

  • The Killary Adventure Centre, 095 43411 (adventure@killary.com), , Leenane, offers a wide variety of activities including kayaking, rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking, etc, along the Killary fjord.

  • Biking and cycling around Connemara


  • Aughnanure Castle, 091 552214, 9.30 - 6pm, Oughterard, Co. Galway, Located off the N59, 3km's from Oughterard, Set in picturesque surroundings close to the shores of Lough Corrib, lies Aughnanure Castle - a very well preserved example of a 15th century tower house built by the O'Flaherty's. In addition, visitors will find the remains of a banquetting hall, a watchtower and an unusual double bawn and bastions, and a dry harbour.


Boulger's Br, Cashel - a rural and local institution, found in the ornate village of Cashel, overlooking Bearthagh Boy Bay and Mannions bar and EJ Kings pub located in Clifden.



  • Sleepzone (3.5 miles west of Leenane on the N59), , is a brand new hostel opening in March 2005, is in a converted 19th century building. It overlooks Killary fjord, and offers facilities for a wide variety of wilderness activities. Shuttle service is available to the affiliated hostel in Galway City.

  • Ben Lettery Hostel (east of Clifden on the southern leg of the N59), 095 51136, , this HI/YHA hostel is situated in an ideal location right in the mountains of Connemara. It serves as a good base for hikes in the region, including that around the 12 Bens.

  • Bard's Den (Letterfrack), this hostel is located right in the center of Letterfrack, Connemara, surrounded by ocean, mountains and forests. It is 2 minutes walk from the well-known Connemara National Park, and 30 minutes drive from the Killary - Ireland's only fjord.

  • Mitchell's Cottage (Letterfrack), this self catering is located close to Letterfrack, Connemara. Homestead of Mitchell Henry of Kylemore Abbey fame, who brought much need employment to the area in the 1800's.

Self Catering

  • Connemara Self Catering beside Connemara National Park (Located at the foot of The Connemara National Park overlooking Laurel bay and just 2 mins walk from Letterfrack Village), , is High quality, comfortable home away from home accommodation which will ensure you have a memorable holiday in Connemara, Co. Galway


Irish is widely spoken in Connemara, and is the native language of all the locals. And will appreciate if you tried to speak a little Irish to the locals, however they will not expect you to speak in Irish. A person who asks "Do you have any Irish?" is inquiring whether you speak the language. You can get by, by using Irish to the locals, shops, the villages or anywhere. However if you are a holiday maker you don't have to use Irish to get by in Connemara as English would be understood by everyone, but you are more than welcome to use the language if you wish to be apart of the Gaeltacht spirit!

Get out

Ballyconneely: Connemara Golf links

Letterfrack: The Diamond Hill.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Marc Llopart, Bert K, Michal Osmenda, rejflinger, Eoin Gardiner, Simone, Croila

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Call Me Snapps , Peter Fitzgerald, Stefan Ertmann, Ryan Holliday and Sarah Lucas, Bango Art, Tatatabot, Episteme, MartyB, Nzpcmad and Neil C

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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