Thinking of a short break this Winter? Look no further than beautiful Connemara. Surround yourself with the ever-changing landscape, always adorned with magical colours. Explore the rugged wild Atlantic coastline and make sure to visit some of the many key points along the way. Choose from some fabulous places to stay, shop, eat & drink. Make sure to check out all the places to see and things to do by searching the relevant section at Love Connemara – The Definitive Visitor Guide to Connemara. Although a busy and bustling tourist destination in the Summer months, there is still lots to see and do in the off-season in the Connemara region. Come to Connemara and discover this unique and beautiful area!
We have put together a few ideas of things to do and places to see while taking a short break in the area. Lots more can be found HERE.
Enjoy a wonderful scenic drive with breathtaking views in the glaciated Inagh Valley, just off the N59. The valley stretches from Recess and towards Kylemore along Lough Inagh. The valley itself separates the Twelve Bens from the Maamturk Mountains. The valley’s lake, woodlands and hills are enjoyed by many walkers, fishermen and artists. Boat hire is available locally. This is definitely a stop for photo opportunities, whatever the season.
Close to the Inagh Valley is Pine Island which lies within Derryclare Lough. The lake is about 20 km east of Clifden, on the N59 Galway Road. The majestic Twelve Bens mountain range lies to the north of the lake. This is a popular viewpoint for visitors to the area and a great place for photo opportunities. The lough is popular with fishermen for both salmon and trout.
Connemara National Park
Stop off at Connemara National Park and enjoy any of the wonderful nature and walking trails, scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Trails are very well maintained within the park. Access can be found at at Letterfrack. Some of the park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range.
Why not attempt to climb Diamond Hill? The trail starts and ends at the Visitor Centre in the park. The entire circuit of lower and upper Diamond Hill trails measures about 7km and you should allow 2.5 – 3 hours duration. At the summit you will be rewarded with panoramic vistas across all of Connemara. The Twelve Bens mountain range to the North and East, Tully Mountain to the West, and Mweelrea to the North. Kylemore Abbey and Lough can be seen far down below the hill.
As well as the being an iconic building in a beautiful location, Kylemore Abbey is also home to the Sisters of the Benedictine Order, in Ireland, since 1920. Today it is still a working Abbey where the sisters live, work, pray and welcome visitors from around the world.
Hidden in the woods you will also find the stunning Gothic Church built for Margaret Henry the woman who inspired the building of Kylemore Castle in the late 1860’s. Her husband Mitchell Henry was an entrepreneur, surgeon, politician and social reformer who transformed this area of bog land in the desolate west into a virtual paradise of comfort and innovation in the 1800’s. Tragically Margaret died at the age of 45 while on holiday to Egypt in 1874. Henry returned to Kylemore where he lived until 1903 and was finally laid to rest by Margaret’s side, in the little mausoleum on the grounds of the Estate.
Simply put, the scenery along the Sky Road is stunning. Very few places in Ireland can match the rugged beauty and range of scenery that can be seen from the Sky Road. The circular route is 16km long and takes you out west from Clifden, onto the Kingstown peninsula, and back into Clifden via the N59. The route is well signposted from Clifden town and is easy to find. As you travel away from Clifden, you are going up-hill on the Sky Road. Not long after you see the Castle Gates, the road will separate into the lower and upper roads. The lower road goes downhill towards the sea and will give you a very close up view of the landscape, but the upper road is most popular because of the views it offers over the entire area. Here you will find unbeatable views of the Connemara countryside, the Atlantic Ocean, The Islands, and the coastline of Co. Mayo to the North, and Co. Clare to the south. There is a car park and viewing area at the highest point with plenty of room to park and take pictures. This is an area of unique natural beauty and we highly recommend that visitors to the area should experience it.
Derrigimlagh Looped Walk
The Derrigimlagh/Marconi walking loop provides visitors with a five kilometre trail through an area of outstanding natural beauty within the Derrygimlagh bog complex. Visitors can can discover the stories of this famous site and it’s past history. The walk is made all the more interesting by a number of engaging and attractive features along the route, which are designed to engage visitors and encourage them to interact with the history of the location.
Steeped in history, The Derrygimlagh blanket bog, close to Clifden, is a rugged and wild landscape with an two major claims to fame. Pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crashed-landed in the bog in 1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight. They landed close to a wireless telegraphy station which had been set up 14 years earlier by Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi. Today the location of the Marconi wireless station is home to a memorial cairn dedicated to the pair.