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Connemara

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West Ireland : County Galway : Connemara
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Connemara countryside

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.

Cities

Other destinations

Understand

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.

Talk

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. 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 in

  • Bus Éireann [2]: Route 420, from Galway to Clifden winds through most of the major destinations.
  • Citylink [3] 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.

Get around

Citylink, Bus Eireann, Taxis and Hackneys for private hire

See

Do

  • Scuba Dive West, Renvyle, Co. Galway, [4]. 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[5]
  • The Killary Adventure Centre, 095 43411 (adventure@killary.com), [6], Leenane, offers a wide variety of activities including kayaking, rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking, etc, along the Killary fjord.
  • Biking and cycling around Connemara [7]

Eat

  • Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard, Co. Galway (Located off the N59, 3km's from Oughterard), 091 552214. 9.30 - 6pm. 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.


Drink

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.

Sleep

Hostels

  • Sleepzone (3.5 miles west of Leenane on the N59), [8], 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, [9], 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 [10] (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 [11] (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 at the National Park (Located at the foot of The Connemara National Park overlooking Laurel bay and just 2 mins walk from Letterfrack Village ), [12], is High quality, comfortable home away from home accommodation which will ensure you have a memorable holiday in Connemara, Co. Galway

Get out

Ballyconneely: Connemara Golf links

Letterfrack: The Diamond Hill.



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