Connemara is one of the most enchanting and alluring places in the world. The rugged and wistful charm of Ireland’s west is something to behold. Positioned just off the Wild Atlantic Way, this beautiful stretch of land is sprawling with adventure and discovery. If you’re planning a visit to this remarkable region, here is our 48 Hour Guide to Connemara.
1pm - Check in, let Clifden be your base
Clifden is the perfect place to settle down and kick off your adventure. Known as the ‘Capital of Connemara’, Clifden is an idyllic market town that has everything you’ll need for a base. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Alcock and Brown Hotel is the perfect central accommodation. Located in the heart of town, Alcock and Brown is within walking distance to all of the best shops, pubs and restaurants. So check in, and kick off your adventure out west!
3pm - Explore Kylemore Abbey Gardens
The Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Gardens are a part of the elegant and scenic landscape of the iconic Connemara Abbey. The gardens span 6 acres, and have been expertly restored to their original glory. The Victorian Garden has been divided into two separate sections by a stunning mountain stream. East of the stream is a decadent and elegant formal flower garden complete with glasshouses. West of the mountain stream is the vegetable garden, herbaceous border, fruit trees, a rockery and herb garden. Truly magnificent and abiding, this is a must see spot when exploring Connemara.
6pm - Back to Clifden for Dinner…
After your excursion, be sure to get back to Clifden for some food! The town has amazing options for a bite to eat. Located just off the coast, Clifden has some of the freshed seafood available. Mitchell’s Seafood Restaurant excels not only in deliciously fresh fish, but the restaurant is incredibly atmospheric as well, guaranteeing an amazing dining experience. With everything from Smoked Mackerel Patê, to a Herb and Parmesan Crusted Fillet of Lemon Sole, Mitchell’s menu is swimming with amazing options.
8pm - …and Drinks!
Finish your perfect day with the perfect night in Lowry’s Bar. Lowry’s has been named Best Traditional Irish Bar in Ireland on three separate occasions. You’ll always find yourself feeling encapsulated by the enigmatic and bustling atmosphere inside. With traditional music echoing throughout the night, Lowry’s Bar is the meeting point of visitors and locals alike finding solace in the uniquely unifying ambiance. Grab a pint or sip your whisky and let the traditional music swing and swell in its own melodic way. It’s the best way to end your first day in Connemara.
10am - Hit the Road Explore and Connemara National Parks
Start your morning early and get back on the road to explore Connemara National Park. The park is rich with beauty as well as history. Covering around 2,000 hectares of mountains, woodlands, bogs, and grasslands across County Galway, the park is mystical and enchanting. Wherever you wander or roam, you’re sure to be in the midst of natural beauty. The park includes part of the Twelve Bens mountain range, including Benbaun, the highest peak in County Galway at 725m. There are four walking trails, however these are the only formal paths across the park. Spending the morning in nature is an incredible way to start off the day. If you’re looking for a coffee or a snack to fuel your adventure, the Happy Hiker Café has you covered. Pop in for a quick coffee and then go into the wild!
12pm - Misunderstood Heron
The Misunderstood Heron is a landmark food truck along the Wild Atlantic Way. Located along the Killary Fjord in Connemara, The eatery serves up a satiating menu that’s unconventional as well as irresistible. This is the perfect pitstop as you make your way through Connemara. Their menu is made up of seasonal and local produce and products, ensuring you’re getting the freshest ingredients possible. Its location off the shores of the Killary Fjord provide you with an absolutely stunning view while you enjoy your meal.
1pm - Cycle Through!
One of the best ways to take in Connemara is to simply be present in your surroundings. That means taking advantage of the winding routes that are sprawling with scenic views. Sky Road is an absolute must. A stunning route that takes you from Clifden onto the Kingston Peninsula, ride your bike along the sea and take in the picturesque views over Clifden Bay, its offshore islands and the Connemara countryside.
The Errislannan Loop is a gorgeous route where you might catch a glimpse of the odd salmon swimming upstream. It’s easy to lull yourself into a state of peaceful remoteness as you cycle through this loop. The Errislannan Loop is also rich in historical significance. Here is the landing site of pilots Alcock and Brown who were the first to successfully complete a nonstop transatlantic flight. When they crashed down in 1919 in an isolated bog in Connemara, they made history. Along with the landing site for the 20th century pilots, the loop also is home to the world’s very first transatlantic radio station, the Marconi Station, which was greatly damaged during the Irish War of Independence. Saturated with history and beauty, these routes are an iconic part of Connemara.
3pm - Real Adventures Connemara
Real Adventures in Clifden is home to Ireland's premier outdoor adventure experience. Providing everything from coastal kayaking to rock climbing and everything in between, this is an amazing experience where you can brave all the elements of the west. Their team is composed of experienced guides who’ll work to ensure you have an adrenaline filled afternoon. Sometimes the best way to truly experience something is to dive in headfirst! Spend the rest of the afternoon off the beaten path with Real Adventures Connemara.
6pm - Marconi for Dinner
As your second day winds down, get back to Clifden for a relaxing dinner. Marconi Restaurant is an amazing spot to sit down and unwind after a great day of exploring. Named for the Marconi Station that you saw earlier, you’re sure to learn even more about the historical significance, all the while having a delicious meal.
7pm - MC McGraths for a pint
The second evening in Clifden should be spent listening to even more traditional music with another pint in hand. MC McGraths is another iconic pub up west. Spanning generations, the pub is interwoven in the history of Clifden, making it the perfect spot to spend the evening. The pinnacle of traditional and contemporary combined, MC McGraths has something for everyone who walks through their door. The atmosphere is familiarly comfortable and cosy, the music spans genres and styles making every night there a unique and special experience. This is another spot that brings together locals and visitors under the same roof, making friends of us all.
10 am - POTA Cafe
As your trip out west comes to a close, make the most of it. Grab breakfast at the award winning POTA Cafe. Hailed as the, “perfect Irish café,” POTA places emphasis on the Irish language all the while serving up an incredible food menu. Their menu changes based on seasonal produce, and what ingredients are available. They place a focus on sustainable methods, ensuring your meal is made up of the freshest ingredients possible.
12pm - Dogs Bay Beach
Dogs Bay Beach is a white-sand beach that rests on the edge of Connemara. The beach is just the place to end your adventure throughout Connemara. The waters are quiet and serene making it perfect for swimming and windsurfing. The spectacular view from the beach makes Dogs Bay one of the finest stretches of coastline in Connemara, and Co. Galway. This is the perfect punctuation to a perfect trip through Connemara!