“Closed to steam in 1935…opened to discerning guests in 1998!”
The Galway Clifden railway was opened officially on the 1 st of January 1895 and ran through villages including Moycullen, Ross, Oughterard, Maam Cross, Recess, Ballinahinch and ending in Clifden. The steam train ran at a financial loss for 40 years carrying freight and passengers through Connemara. It was operated by the Midland Great Western Railway Co. but a change in governing policy in 1935 resulted in the closure of the railway line, much to the detriment of the social and economic future of Connemara. Immediately after the closure the steel tracks were lifted and sold on as scrap metal rumour has it that the steel was used in the making of munitions used in WWII.
The railway buildings and site later became home to Millars Connemara tweed mills. Millars tweed were the largest employers in the area and produced their world famous tweed from here until the mid 90’s when the mill then ceased manufacturing. The site and surrounding listed buildings lay in disuse until 1998 when a huge development and restoration project was completed by local businessman John Sweeney.
Clifden Station House, now nearing its 20th birthday, has evolved as a major tourist destination in the West of Ireland. The old Stationmasters house is now home to a bar/restaurant specialising in quality cuisine made from the freshest local ingredients. It features a railway theme incorporating many of the original features, including the old railway platform which is the perfect spot to enjoy your morning coffee.
The Station House Hotel, the 1st hotel to be built in Clifden in 30 years, is a new structure built in the style of a traditional Railway utility building. It includes an 18m heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym & Renew Spa by Rose Greene.
The old engine house is now a museum with a particular emphasis on the local historical connections with Marconi, pioneering pilots Alcock & Brown, John D’Arcy the founder of Clifden, and the Connemara Pony.
The “Goods Store”, one of a number of the historical and listed buildings in the development, has been carefully turned into a 200 seat state of the art theatre/cinema and hosts many events, concerts and performances throughout the year. The courtyard is a vibrant shopping and dining destination with fabulous boutiques including Oh!By Gum, Design Platform/Millars Connemara, Hedz Hair Salon and Steam Coffee House.
Clifden Station House is an ideal centre for exploring Connemara and all its famed attractions. It’s a fantastic example of old world Ireland being thoughtfully restored.