Connemara Day Trips
Our location in the heart of Connemara give us a collection of great days out for all the family and the perfect location to explore the local sites.
The Hotel is less than a 30 minute drive from Kylemore Abbey, the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. Originally built in 1868, it has home to The Community of Benedictine Nuns since 1920. Facilities include a visitor’s centre, restaurant, Gothic Church, Victorian gardens, lake and mountain walks, pottery, craft and souvenir shop. Discounted tickets are available at our hotel reception along with a map of the area.
Connemara National Park
Connemara is renowned for its picturesque setting and beautiful scenery. Situated on the N59, Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980. One of its most popular climbs is The Diamond Hill Loop. Gravel footpaths and wooden boardwalks ease your passage over the bog as you approach the mountains, with a steady climb up the western slopes to the summit ridge. The ridge is a narrow fin of quartzite roughly half a kilometre long, which culminates in a cairn that marks the 445m-high summit. From here, look to the sea to Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark; to Tully Mountain rising over Ballynakill Harbour and along the intricate Connemara coastline for a view of Connemara like no other. To the north and east, the Twelve Bens are nothing short of sensational. To the northeast, Kylemore Abbey’s gothic turrets stand out from neighbouring Kylemore Lough; and directly north, the summit of Mweelrea, Connaught’s highest mountain, can be seen peeping out.
Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purposes. The Visitor Centre and main access for Connemara National Park is located near the village of Letterfrack along the N59. Entry to the park and visitor centre is free of charge and there is no charge for parking.
Omey Island in Claddaghduff is accessible at low tide every day by crossing acres of firm sandy beach, either in a car or on foot. Simply follow the direction poles in the sand that mark the way across, but be sure to check the tide timetable beforehand as you will be stranded if the tide comes in! Omey Island has a wealth of antiquities. The ruins of Teampaill Féichín (Feichin’s Church), a medieval church built on a 7th century Christian settlement lie close to the north coast. The church was covered in sand until 1981 and it is surrounded by the remains of a semi-sunken village that was wiped out during the Famine. St Feichin’s Holy Well can also be found to the west, just above a rocky inlet.
The island is now largely abandoned, with some part-time residents during the summer months. It once supported a population of over four hundred souls, however now its only year round resident is Pascal Whelan, a former Hollywood stunt man who now lives in near isolation on Omey Island. A book based on his life has been published, called “Omey Island:Last Man Standing”; we have a copy at the reception of Clifden Station House hotel if you would like to view it. Omey Island remains the main burial ground for this region of Connemara, utilizing an ancient burial ground associated with St Brendan.
Beaches of Connemara
Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, the point at which Connemara meets the Atlantic is home to miles upon miles of sandy beaches which are renowned the world over. From the rolling green hills leading to the shores of Glassilaun to the crystal waters and white sands of Dogs Bay, voted one of British Vogues Top 10 Beaches in the World, there truly is something for everyone. If it’s soft currents for paddling or family friendly activities you’re after we would recommend the beaches around Roundstone, such as Gurteen and Dogs Bay. For a scenic walk with a dramatic backdrop look no further than Silver Strand in Renvyle.
All of these can be done as day trips from the Clifden Station House hotel and we have maps available at reception for all of the area.