Wild, beautiful, and sparsely populated, Connemara, extending from Galway to the Atlantic Ocean, is Ireland at its most rugged and elemental. The indented Atlantic coastline is interspersed with beaches and seaside hamlets, while the interior encompasses bog, mountains, lakes, and empty valleys where sheep outnumber people.
With knock-your-socks-off beauty and a promise of peace and solitude, the westerly region of Connemara holds great sway among Ireland visitors and locals alike. If you’re into outdoor adventures, take part in guided and self-guided nature walks and hikes around Connemara National Park. Or go sea kayaking around the Wild Atlantic Way coastline, where dolphins, seals, and basking sharks inhabit the waters.
You can also explore the region during sightseeing day tours from Galway, which often incorporate stops at Kylemore Abbey, Pearse’s Cottage, Roundstone, Derrigimlagh Bog, and Killary Fjord, as well as the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Connemara is a must-see for sightseers, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as many hiking trails in the region have rocky, uneven surfaces.
- If you plan on spending much time exploring outdoors, bring a rainproof outer layer, water, and sunscreen.
- Gaeltachts (Irish-speaking regions) are scattered throughout Connemara.
How to Get There
Connemara is west of Galway city, with the Atlantic Ocean marking its south and west boundaries. Public transportation is sparse here, so the best way to get around is by car or organized tour, most of which depart from Galway city. Driving from Dublin takes about four hours.
When to Get There
The best time of the year to visit Connemara is between June and October, when mild temperatures make exploring outdoors easier. July and August are the busiest months, so if you plan on visiting then, you may want to hit the most popular spots early in the morning to beat the crowds. In winter, Connemara has a stark, desolate beauty, and tourists are few and far between.
Connemara’s Hollywood Connections
Among the most picturesque villages of Connemara is Leenane, which is set on the edge of Ireland’s only fjord, and was the filming location for The Field, a 1990 film starring Richard Harris. Elsewhere in Connemara, between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, sits the village of Cong, which still retains a collection of traditional thatched cottages. It was here that The Quiet Man was filmed back in 1951.