An Insider’s Guide to Clifden
Insider Guides

An Insider’s Guide to Clifden

Capital of Connemara and Jewel of the West, Clifden certainly lives up to its reputation as being both a picturesque and flourishing cultural town.

Home to stunning views, cosy bars & restaurants, and a lively atmosphere. To give you the opportunity to fully explore all the gems in this iconic West of Ireland destination, find our favourite things to see and do in Clifden right here. A landmark town along the Wild Atlantic Way, if you haven’t already taken a whirl down Sky Road, now is your chance..

How to get here:

The ultimate way to travel is with the intercity coach bus Citylink. Not only do they offer regular bus service between Galway and Clifden throughout the day, their coaches are of the highest standards, putting customer comfort first. All coaches offer free Wi-Fi, toilets, reclinable seats, plug sockets and charging points. So you can sit back and enjoy some quality me-time as they do the driving for you. Check out their newly expanded bus services here.


Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Located on the picturesque Sky Road, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is every holiday-maker's dream hotel. It combines luxury with comfort and offers a variety of charming rooms, each one reflecting the opulence of Abbeyglen. These rooms and suites each have their own unique character and some even have four poster beds, open fires and free-standing claw-foot baths! Here you can awaken from a deep sleep in the splendour of a 4-star castle hotel and take in the unparalleled beauty of the Connemara countryside all while enjoying the most mouth-watering food and drink imaginable. We don't know about you but that sounds pretty amazing to us! If you agree please be sure to check out their special offers and book your stay here asap.

above: photo courtesy of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Alcock and Brown Hotel

Looking out over Clifden’s town centre square, when you stay at Alcock and Brown Hotel you are at the very epicentre of all that makes the West of Galway and Connemara so famous. Home to pristine bedrooms that are all beautifully decorated in the traditional style, the hotel itself contains lovely trinkets that nods to its locale. After a day of sightseeing, we highly recommend a visit to the hotel’s Vickers Bar & Cocktail Lounge. The cocktails are to-die for and are the ultimate indulgent treat after a day on the road or ahead of a night on the town. Its location makes it the ideal hotel for Wild Atlantic Way explorers and people looking to go on day-trips up to Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey. To find out more and to start planning your stay, just click right here.

Clifden Station House Hotel

A picturesque accommodation provider for all Clifden holidaymakers, Clifden Station House Hotel goes the extra mile to guarantee their guests an enjoyable and restorative break. Located in the courtyard of the Clifden Station House Hotel, Clifden Station House Suites offer a choice of two and three bedroom deluxe self-catering apartments. If you are planning an extended holiday in Clifden, they’re the ideal choice as a home-from-home for family and friends. All guests can enjoy full use of the hotel facilities including the swimming pool and leisure facilities and children can attend the Railway Kids Club which operates during certain school holiday periods. To begin planning your holiday in Clifden head over to their website here.

Food & Drink

MC McGraths

Always eclectic, the feel and ambiance of MC McGraths is unparalleled. It's one of the oldest family run pubs in Clifden and the team here are truly dedicated to having the craic. This Irish bar delights in presenting talented musicians from near and far spanning just about every genre; old Irish, American country, rock n roll, blue grass – you name it, they play it. Additionally, alongside their full bar, they have now launched a food menu which is available from Wednesday to Sunday and includes popular dishes such as burgers, spice bags and loaded fries.

above: photo courtesy of MC McGraths

Deli 19 Clifden

Imagine fine coffee, freshly baked pastries, all day brunch and tasty lunches in a rustic-chic contemporary café set right in the middle of Clifden's town centre… That’s Deli 19! Open daily from 8am, with a dine in or take out option, you are spoilt for choice. Offering delicious coffee from JJ Darboven, and serving brunch and lunch until 3pm. Come in and watch the world go by over a glass of wine and do some retail therapy with their niche goodies. And, if you fancy some Deli 19 at home, they also provide a catering service which is ideal for parties.

Lowry's Bar

Lowry's Bar provides an authentic traditional Irish pub experience with plenty of contemporary flair. It's too easy to get drawn in by the live music and before you know it you'll be seated with a pint in hand and tapping your foot along to the tunes, trust us! Lowry’s is the perfect spot for a jig and a sing-song, with live music seven nights a week. As well as all this, they have any beverage you’re after and offer a selection of famous Irish whiskey, great pints, cocktails and more. There's really no excuse not to call into Lowry’s for a tipple or two.

above: photo of Lowry's 

Tom Kings Bar & Snug

A bar that has become synonymous with Clifden, Tom Kings Bar and Snug was initially opened and established by The King Family; and it has been under the management of another local clan, The Keoghs, since early 2022. Priding itself on being an authentic local bar. What you get here is a pub where all the real local characters drink. The Guinness is glorious, the staff are friendly and the interiors are old school and traditional, with an open turf fire that blazes all year round.

The Lamplight

The gorgeous tapas restaurant The Lamplight is open for breakfast, lunch, brunch and tapas seven days a week and we highly recommend you visit them during your travels out west. They are also home to a newly refurbished B&B with chic and stylish furnishings. Thanks to its unbeatable location in the Clifden town, you will never go wrong, sleeping and dining at The Lamplight.

EJ Kings Bar and Restaurant

A magnet for writers, artists, film-makers and naturalists, EJ Kings enjoys a reputation for excellent food, drink and good cheer. The restaurant  offers a wide range of dishes that showcase the best of Irish cuisine with a modern twist. Its menu is now under the supervision of Chef Shane Regan, who has taken up a front of house role. In the evenings, the bar regularly hosts local musicians and bands creating a lively atmosphere for all to enjoy. They also show all live sport fixtures so if you want to catch a game while in Clifden EJ Kings will be showing it.

above: photo of EJ Kings, by Ciarán MacChoncarraige

Bridewell Brewery

Offering a true taste of Connemara, the beers of Bridewell Brewery can be found on tap in bars, hotels and restaurants across the region. This family-run brewery specialises in original draught beers that are filled with flavour. Brewed by locals for locals and special guests, Bridewell Brewery supplies traditionally-brewed beers to businesses across West Galway. Whether these beers are paired with food or enjoyed on their own, the premium quality of Bridewell Brewery beers makes them the perfect drinks to enjoy during your visit to Clifden.

Guys Bar

With over 150 years of service under their belt, Guys Bar is one of the longest established food and drink venues in Clifden. This lovely gastropub serves quality Irish food from 12pm daily and menus feature local seafood, gourmet pizza, wines, cocktails and craft beers. In the wintertime they have plenty of cosy snugs and open fireplaces to keep you comfy and their al fresco seating is ideally located to catch all the warmth of the sunshine throughout the summer months.

above: photo courtesy of Guys Bar

Walsh's Bakery

The family run Walsh’s Bakery offers delicious handcrafted baked goods, freshly roasted coffees and hot deli foods. Famous for their wonderful selection of pastries, fresh cream celebration cakes and delicious breads, Walsh’s family baking tradition keeps the bakery buzzing with visitors all year round. Alongside their mouth-watering display of breads and cakes, Walsh’s café offers both breakfast and light lunch options to eat in or take out.

Signal Bar & Restaurant

Set in a Victorian era building as part of the original Clifden Railway Station, the Signal Bar is full of old-world charm with many of the original features still on display. Their menus provides restaurant quality food made with carefully sourced ingredients, raising the bar on traditional pub food. All guests are invited to enjoy local specialities such as seafood chowder, Connemara lamb shank, and fresh fish of the day while relaxing in this unique Irish setting.

above: photo by Ado Lyons, from Signal Bar & Restaurant

Ravi's Bar & Restaurant

With live music three nights a week and an amazing variety of food and drink across their menus, Ravi’s Bar and Restaurant is ideal for any and all social gatherings. This family friendly gastropub’s seasonal menu features an array of locally sourced seafood platters and bar favourites, with an occasional Sri Lanken twist. Here, they also make all their own spices so you are guaranteed excellence down to the smallest detail when opt for a meal out at Ravi's.

Fadó Pizza

Serving takeaway pizza in Clifden's idyllic Camping & Caravan Park, Fadó Pizza is a wood fire pizza trailer that should be on everyone's must-visit list while in Connemara. Their reopening each year is the first sign for Clifden that the summer season has officially begun. They operate out of a uniquely hand-built truck and offer a menu with both classic and specialty pizza toppings. No matter if you're just passing through or staying in town this is one spot you seriously need to sample for yourself!

above: photo courtesy of Fadó Pizza


The Whitethorn Gallery

To see Connemara through an artist’s eye visit The Whitethorn Gallery. Re-established in a new location on Main Street, they showcase a mix of local, national, and international artists. Featuring a combination of both paintings and sculptures, there is plenty for you to see and admire during your visit. Their exhibition also alters frequently giving artists a chance to showcase new works every season. The gallery space also provides a shopping opportunity should you fancy bringing a bit of Clifden home with you.

Connemara Blue

Connemara Blue is a family run glass art gift store whose artwork are all captivatingly beautiful. With a focus on unique, contemporary design, they take inspiration from the Connemara landscape around them, resulting in designs that are truly one-of-a-kind. Shop their Keepsakes and Unique Gifts collections to find gorgeous pieces that are suitable for all budgets. Next time you’re in Clifden, be sure to wander around their stunning shop and experience the West of Ireland in a whole new way!

above: photo courtesy of Connemara Blue 

Evita Studio

An independent fashion studio, Evita Studio supports women owned businesses by presenting the clothing creations of 3 mesmerising women designers - Süel Knitwear, EYCIIR, and AudryAnne. This studio offers a collection of unique and colourful knitwear, designer dresses, eye-catching jewellery and much more. Its founder Szilvia Toth, is on a mission to provide a platform for talented, high-vibrational women to showcase their creativity. Shop online at or visit them in-person in Clifden.

Ohh! by Gum

Ohh! By Gum was one of Ireland's first ever sustainable lifestyle stores. They offer customers a unique range of products that were kind and conscious towards the planet and its people. They stock womenswear, menswear, books, gifts and homewear, they also have a selection of preloved clothes. In their stores you will find clothes made from environmentally-friendly materials that also use natural and bio-degradable dyes. So not only will you look good wearing their clothes. You’ll feel good too!

above: photo courtesy of Ohh! by Gum


Stocking an electric mix of home furnishings, garden products, ceramics, glassware, baby gifts and jewellery, it is well worth stopping into Whistlestop and checking out their vast amount wares for yourself. You really never know what you might find! Their gifts range from the whimsical to fabulous functional (sometimes both) and we can almost guarantee you'll find something you love and use time and again on their shelves.

O’Dalaigh Jewellers

Experts in their craft, the Dalaigh family in Clifden have been creating eye-catching jewellery for people across the globe since 1973. The unique pieces at O’Dalaigh Jewellers can’t be found anywhere else, and it is truly a credit to their skill and passion for their work. Here you’ll find jewellery made of the world-renowned Connemara Marble as well as piece that feature Celtic designs resembling the famous Gleninsheen Gorget, Lough Gur Shield and La Téne Torc.

above: O'Dalaigh Jewellers

Things to do

See the sights on your bike

To see the full scope that Clifden has to offer, rent a bike from Clifden Bike Hire and off you go.
Sky Road: We’re sure you have already heard of Sky Road’s spectacular view but trust us when we say the stories don’t live up to the experience. Overlooking Clifden Bay, the route lies more than 150m above sea level so you’ll feel on cloud nine as you fly along on your bike. Just remember to bring a camera so you can capture some of these breathtaking sights.
Errislannan Loop:  This short loop will bring you past Owenglen waterfall where you just might spot the odd salmon swimming upstream. You’ll also spot a signpost directing you to  the landing point of the very first transatlantic flights from 1919, the Alcock & Brown Memorial. Not too far away lie the remains of the world’s very first transatlantic radio station -the Marconi Station- which was greatly damaged during the Irish War of Independence.
Cleggan Loop: The route will give you the opportunity to ascend Cleggan Head for optimum views all around.
Roundstone Loop: Offers a tranquil escape past beautiful bogland and the shores of Gurteen and Dog’s Bay.

Enjoy some Seaview at Clifden's Beaches

Picture perfect beaches dot the coastline around Clifden such as the breathtaking white sands of Gurteen and Dog's Bay. Another local favourite, Eyrephort Beach provides an ideal escape against the backdrop of lapping waves. Perch on one of the surrounding stones and watch the tide roll in - you won’t feel the time passing by. With fish in the rock pool and seagulls standing guard, there’s plenty of critters to keep you company on a visit to Eyrephort Beach. Keep your eyes peeled too, because it wasn’t all that long ago that a Viking sword and shield were unearthed on the site!

Clifden Castle

Just a 2 kilometre wander from Clifden town, you’ll find the spectacular ruins of Clifden Castle. Overlooking the bay, this historical landmark dates back to 1812, when it was founded by John D’Arcy. The romantic Gothic style castle is just part of the legacy left by this family, who owned much of the west of Galway in the early 19th century. An afternoon spent admiring the ancient stonework, magnificent pillars and beautifully crafted archways is an afternoon well spent - after all, who doesn’t enjoy acting like royalty for the day?
Clifden Castle

D’arcy Monument

Erected in 1842 in memory of the founder of Clifden town, John D’Arcy (1785-1839). This square-plan stepped monument contains examples of graffiti dating from 1871 which can be seen etched into the side of the monument. The monument also serves as a focal point for locals and visitors alike to observe Clifden town below and offers a breath-taking view of Connemara’s stunning mountains, bogs and coastline.

Alcock & Brown Memorial

The Derrigimlagh looped walk is an ideal destination to clear your head, this 5km trail will provide you with an abundance of incredible sights that will definitely peak your interest. The most noteworthy among these sights is the landing point of the very first transatlantic flights from 1919, and commemoration to Alcock and Brown, who were the airmen on board when the plane crash landed. As well as that, you’ll also come across the remains of the world’s very first transatlantic radio station- Marconi Station which was greatly damaged during the Irish War of Independence.

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