Our Top 10 Activity Choices
1. IMMERSE YOURSELF IN HISTORY AT DERRIGIMLAGH DISCOVERY POINT
The Derrigimlagh Discovery Point walking loop provides visitors with a five kilometre trail through an area of outstanding natural beauty within the Derrygimlagh Bog. Visitors can discover the stories of this famous site and its history. The walk is made all the more interesting by a number of features along the route, which are designed to engage visitors and encourage them to interact with the history of the location. 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. This is where the first Transatlantic telecommunication took place.
Wander around tiny lakes and peat bogs, and discover this unique and beautiful area. It is a point along the Wild Atlantic Way, open year round and entry is free.
2. DRIVE THE SKY ROAD
The Sky Road is one of Irelands most famous scenic driving routes, and with good reason. An outstanding coastal viewing point providing long views along the Connemara coastline, it is a popular location for tourists and locals alike to witness some breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic. The 16km Loop offers panoramic views over Clifden Bay & the Atlantic Ocean, and the steep ascent along the coastal edge reveals an increasingly dynamic view, culminating at the Wild Atlantic Way vantage point at the top. Look out over the Islands dotted off the coast of Connemara and witness the sky sink into the ocean below.
The drive is narrow in parts and care is advised, but it is very safe to pass and a carpark at the top offers plenty of opportunity for pictures.
Sun-rise and Sun-set offer the best views, but this drive can be done at any time of day. Allow 1 hour to take in the whole route, with time at the top for photographs.
3. EXPLORE CONNEMARA NATIONAL PARK
When you first see the park, watched over by its cone-shaped mountain, Diamond Hill, you will be impressed by its stunning beauty. Enjoy the picnic area, children’s playground and tea room, visit the exhibition on Connemara’s landscape, audiovisual show and Connemara ponies or take part in one of the July and August activities: Guided Nature Walks; History and Management of Connemara Ponies; Fun with Nature for Kids.
500 metres high, Diamond Hill rises above the small village of Letterfrack. This is one of the finest hikes in the country. It commands huge ocean, island and mountain views in all directions. From its sharp edge summit it looks down on Kylemore Abbey and deep into the Twelve Bens mountain range. On the slopes of the mountain are the remains of an abandoned 19th century farm and a megalithic tomb built by the first farmers of the area 5,000 years ago. The Visitor Centre is open daily from March to October and the Park grounds are open all year round. Admission is free. Don’t forget to bring appropriate footwear and rainwear.
4. TREK SANDY BEACHES ON A CONNEMARA PONY
There are multiple local companies offering a variety of Pony Trekking options suitable for all ages, experienced or beginner. Pony Trekking offers a unique opportunity to discover some of the most breathtaking scenery in the West of Ireland on horseback. Spectacular beach rides have provided riders with some amazing experiences over the years, and with the Twelve Bens as a backdrop and the Atlantic Ocean at your feet, it doesn’t come any more scenic than this. Errislannan Manor Riding Centre treks bring you over heather covered moors, past famine villages, along the shores, home of hares, many other wild life and all kinds of seabirds. You can enjoy stunning views out to the Atlantic ocean and islands or inland to the Twelve Bens mountain range. The Point Trekking will guide you and your horse safely along the dazzling sandy beaches and through wide open countryside.
5. EMBRACE ADVENTURE WITH A DAY ON THE OPEN WATER
Real Adventures are specialists in outdoor adventure activities and explorations in Connemara. Connemara is home to a beautiful coastline with coves, cliffs, bays, and caves just waiting to be explored. They offer a range of activities that will get you active and rediscovering the fun of the outdoors. Join them for coasteering, kayaking, rock climbing, stand up paddle boarding, and surfing with your friends, family, and loved ones to truly experience the Irish coast. Ideal for the young and young at heart!
6. EXPERIENCE THE GRANDEUR OF KYLEMORE ABBEY & VICTORIAN WALLED GARDENS
Visit the Abbey with its beautifully restored period rooms and fascinating Visitor Experience and learn about its history of tragedy, romance, education, and spirituality. Explore the 6-acre Victorian Walled Garden with its delightfully restored garden buildings, formal flower, vegetable and herb gardens. Discover woodland and lakeshore walks that will take you on a beautiful journey through a 1,000-acre estate.
The beautiful neo-Gothic Church is a short walk from the Abbey, nestled nearby is the Mausoleum where Mitchell and Margaret Henry are buried side by side. Children will enjoy making a wish at the Giants Ironing stone, playing in the wild play area and meeting the pigs and Connemara ponies. Tickets can be bought here.
7. CRUISE ALONG KILLARY FJORD
Killary Boat Tours cruise starts at Nancy’s Point, just West of Leenane Village, on the South side of the Killary. From there it sets off towards the the mouth of the Fjord.
Take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape – hills rising steeply from the silvery sea, with frequent shifts in light and shadow creating different colours on the peaks and valleys. Deep green fields and occasional stands of trees contrast with heathery bogs.The fjord’s sheltered waters are perfect for mussel farming and you will see the ropes at several points on the fjord. You will also see some circular salmon farms, closer to the shore. Sheep dot the hills.Towards the mouth of the fjord is a small island, which has a Victorian range marker on it. This is the point at which dolphins typically emerge if they are in the vicinity. Tickets can be purchased here.
8. HIRE BIKES AND CYCLE THE GREENWAY
On a sunny day in Connemara, the best thing to do is to go cycling – the landscape always looks so much more magnificent when you’re not looking at it through the glass of a window. Mannion’s Cycle Shop offers a comprehensive bike rental service (daily or weekly rates) which includes insurance, lock and repairs. They have all types of bikes for hire, including mountain and hybrid, along with helmets, carrier bags, child seats and maps. The section of Greenway we recommend cycling is the Dooneen section, accessible directly from town. It is 12km total (6km out and 6km back) and offers a wide variety of landscape and scenery.
9. SET SAIL TO INISHBOFIN
Inis Bo Finne (Island of the White Cow) lies seven miles off the Connemara coast. The island is 5.7km by 4km, and home to several safe award winning sandy beaches strewn with shells and with crystal clear water make swimming, snorkelling and diving a joy. For the more adventurous, the islands waters make for spectacular diving. Inishbofin is a breeding area for many species of birds. The rarest or most threatened species breeding on the island at present are the Corncrake. Inishbofin has become an important centre for traditional Irish music and song with its own Ceilí band.
It is estimated that Bofin was inhabited as far back as 8000 – 4000 B.C. The first documented history of the island dates from early Christian times. As you sail around the tower and signal light into the harbour you will notice Cromwell’s 16th Century Barracks. It was used as a prison for catholic priests from all over the country after the English Statute of 1585 declared them guilty of high treason.
Drive from the Clifden Station House to Cleggan Pier where you can take the boat to Inishbofin, times, prices & tickets can be found by clicking here.
10. GOLF ON THE AWARD WINNING CONNEMARA CHAMPIONSHIP LINKS
Voted Best Links Course in Connaught 2016 by Golfers Guide to Ireland, this 27 holes Championship Links course situated along the majestic west coast of Connemara, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and 12 Bens Mountain range was designed by Eddie Hackett and opened in June 1973.
This beautiful isolated links course is a testament to the vision of her founders and in the short years since, it has become established as one of the finest in the country and plays host to the longest running Pro-Am in Ireland. A truly natural links with the unique addition of a rugged, rocky landscape with breathtaking view on every hole is a challenge to all.
Discounts available at reception.