Tobacco-coloured hills, windswept bogs, ponies galloping through wild terrain – Connemara is something special. This is a gloriously isolated region of Ireland, a place of brooding valleys and stunning white-sand beaches, a place that has inspired artists, poets and thinkers through the ages.
Covering parts of County Galway and edging into County Mayo, Connemara abounds in beauty, from the breathtaking Killary Fjord to the ancient bogs of Roundstone. No wonder Oscar Wilde dubbed it a “savage beauty”. Here you can enjoy an idyllic escape, a quiet moment or a thrilling adventure – ride a Connemara pony, walk one of the stunning National Park trails, enjoy a pint in a traditional old pub or take a trip out to the stunning island of Inishbofin.
Around the tip of the bay the beaches of Renvyle and Glassilaun are swathes of white sand, as perfect as any in the Western Isles. Places fit for thinking
Beyond the landscapes, you’ll find traditional life holds fast in this part of Ireland. As one of the island’s largest Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) regions, locals use Irish on a daily basis, while Irish song, dance and literature are all celebrated with a whirl of festivals during the summer. Traditional music reverberates here, with great sounds spilling out of pubs most nights of the week. An Tobar in Spiddal, Power’s, Tigh Darby and Tigh Chualáin are just some of the great pubs to keep an eye out for.
While much of the landscape here is defined by rolling hills, brooding bogs, and navy-coloured loughs, Connemara is also famed for its glorious beaches from the stunning arc of Dog’s Bay to the tidal island of Omey Strand. Fringed by the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no surprise that the food culture here revolves largely around fresh seafood. Bowls of seafood chowder flecked with mussels are served up on pub tables every night, and the sweet local crab is legendary. At
The Connemara Smokehouse you can taste traditional smoked wild Atlantic salmon, mackerel and tuna, landed daily at Bunowen Pier in Ballyconneely.
Connemara's interior is a kaleidoscope of rusty bogs, lonely valleys and shimmering black lakes.
The Streets of Clifden, "The Capital of Connemara"
Food-wise, keep your eye out too for Connemara hill lamb, fed on wild herbs and hill flowers. It’s succulent, sweet and special enough to be recognised with special European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
Landscapes, music, culture and good – no wonder Connemara holds a special place. It doesn’t get much better than this.