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Places to Visit in Connemara

Aughnanure Castle - A Legendary place

Aughnanure CastleThis majestic 16th century castle which was once the home of the "Ferocious O'Flaherty's" . It is located a few km south of Oughterard town. The O'Flaherty's were a wild Irish clan who were masters of West Connacht - the area between Lough Corrib and the sea - up to the 16th century. The O'Flahtery's did not take kindly to the Normans who settled in Galway from the late 1300's, regarding them as enemies. They frequently attacked the settlers, who had to build walls around the city to keep them out. This led to the saying "From the ferocious O'Flahertys good Lord deliver us".

Described as "by far the finest dwelling" upon any part of the shores of Lough Corrib, Aughanure is a well preserved example of a six story Irish tower house. Open April to October, 09:30-18:00. Admission: EUR 2.75 (adult), EUR 2.00 (group/senior citizen), EUR 1.25 (child), EUR 7.00 (family).

Connemara Marble Quarry

The Connemara Marble Visitor Centre is located at Moycullen, 8 miles west of Galway City on the N59. The marble factory showroom and shop has Irelands largest disply of Connemara Marble Jewellery, fashioned in Gold and Silver depicting the Shamrock, harp, Celtic Cross and The Claddagh Ring. In addition, a large selection of Marble Gifts such as Clocks, Ashtrays, Marble Eggs, Cheese Boards and Chess Borads are available. Visitors can enjoy the added attraction of seeing the Centre's Craftsmen at work. Open all year round. Pre-Cambrian Geology qualifies Connemara Marble as one of the world's oldest natural minerals, 600 million years old. The marble is regarded as one of the most authentic products available in Ireland. The quarry is situated at Streamstown, Clifden, Co. Galway. Phone 091 555102/555746

Dan O'Hara's Homestead Connemara Heritage and History Center

Nestling into the hillside beneath the Tewlve Bens is the restored cottage of Dan O'Hara, a man made famous in song and story. From the hilltop above the farm, there is a spectacular view of the Roundstone Bog as it stretches towards the Atlantic. Left of the viewing site is an Upland Burial Site (5000 years old) which has revealed much about the Neolithic and early Bronze Age activity in Connemara. The audio-visual and history presentation introduces the main events which have shaped Connemara from pre-historic to the present - this is in several languages. Other features include reconstructions of crannogs (pre-historic lake dewellings), ring forts and clochauns (Early Christian Oratory). An old style carriage takes visitors on a guided tour through the Centre by prior appointment. Turf cutting demonstrations, sheep herding and other activities are demonstrated for groups on request. Facilities at the Center include a large craft shop, tea room (serving soups, salads and cakes), telephone and toilets. Major credit cards accepted. Groups catered for by prior arrangement. Lunches for groups by prior booking.Tel: 095 21246/21808

Glengowla Mines

Ireland's only show mine, Glengowla Silver and Lead Mine, which dates back to the 19th century, is located two miles outside Oughterard, (Clifden Road). Reputed to be one of the richest and most productive mines of its time, Glengowla has been restored to a level of 65 feet underground. Guided tours are available where you are lead down into the mines by steps, handrails and lighting. You will be guided through the large marble chambers and caverns where you will see silver, lead, calcite, quartz and many such mineral formations on the walls of the mine. On the surface there is a Visitor Centre hosting many examples of minerals from the mine, a Rock and gem shop, an Agents Cottage, Gun Powder House, a Winding Stow and Gold Panning. Open daily March to November. Guided underground tours every 20 minutes. Glengowla Mines, Ougtherard, Co Galway. Tel 091 552360/552021.

Kylemore Abbey and Visitor Center

Kylemore Abbey located in Beauitful scenery in the heart of the Twelve Bens in Connemara, is home to the Irish Benedictine nuns. The Abbey was originally built in 1868 by a Manchester business magnate Mitchell Henry, for his wife Margaret. Its design is neo-gothic and the house displays all the features of the period. The Benedictine nuns bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent in Ypres, Belgium in 1914, where they ran an international boarding school for girls for over 300 years. They re-established the school here and it is still very much alive today. Today you can enjoy the 'peace and tranquility' of Kylemore Abbey by visiting the Abbey and Gothic Church or the recently restored Victorian walled garden. Seperate or joint ticketing can be arranged. Opening times: ??? Tel: 195 41146 Web: www.kylemoreabbey.com

Leenane Cultural Centre

Leenane Cultural Centre, overlooking Killary Harbour, interprets North Connemara's sheep and wool industry. Over 20 different breeds of sheep graze on the lands around the centre. Inside, wool handcrafts, such as carding, spinning, weaving and the use of natural dyes are demonstrated. Local history and places of interest are also featured on audio visual display. A wool craft shop and a resturaunt are also provided. Tel: 095 42323

Renvyle House Hotel

Where hospitality is Art. Cradled between the rugged coastline and the wild undulating landscape of the Connemara mountains is Renvyle House Hotel. Visitors are not only delighted by the stunning location of the house but by the uniqueness the historical and literary connections have bestowed on it. In 1680, Henry Blake, whose family owned large areas of Connemara built an imposing house on the fingertip of the Renvyle Peninsula where his desendants lived for many generations. In 1917 Oliver St John Gogarty, Dublin Surgeon, writer, poet, wit, raconteur - and model for the character Buck Mulligan in James Joyce's Ulysses - bought Renvyle House. At Renvyle, Gogarty entertained such eminent guests as poet WB Yeats and his bride, George Hyde-Lees, artist Augustus John ( Who painted both Yeats and Gogarty there), writer and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre Lady Gregory, and JM Synge, author of the famous Playboy of the Western World. In 1923 the house was burnt down during the civil war by the anti-Treaty forces because Gogarty was a Free State supporter. Gogerty re-built the house in 1930 and opened it as a hotel. The aura and ambience that guests have chronicled for well over a century are still there to be enjoyed by todays visitors to Renvyle House Hotel. Among its many recreational facilities are golf, horse riding, croquet, lawn bowls, hill walking, angling, fishing, scuba diving, and exploring the glorious beaches and visiting the nearby offshore islands of Inishboffin, Inishturk and Clare Island. Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, Co Galway. Tel: 095 435111. Web: www.renvyle.com

Spiddal Craft Centre

12 miles from Galway City the Spiddal Craft Centre is where you can see crafts being made which gives a rara opportunity to buy unique handmade gifts directly from the skilled Artisans themselves. Consisting of a range of workshops, including candlemaking, leatherwork, textile design, pottery, screenprinting and siopa Gaeilge, weaving, celtic jewellery, and a restaurant. The craft centre is adjacent to Spiddals blue flag beach, with stunning views of Galway Bay and The Burren. Contact David McCarthy 091 553433. Open all year round. Also December Christmas Gift Fair.

Visit the set of 'The Field'

A film adaptation of John B Keane's famous play 'The Field', directed by Jim Sheridan was made in Leenane in the early 1990's. The film and play were based on a true story which occured in Kerry, and was a battle for land between a local man and an outsider which ended in murder. In Leenane you can visit the pubs and shops that were used as sets in the film, and see the house where the film star, Richard Harris lived.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park is a 2000 hectare state owned conservation centre made up of mountains, bogs and grasslands with spectacular wildlife. Facilities include an audio-visual show and photographic display of Connemara scenery. There are picnic facilities, nature trails and a Summer series of walks and illustrated talks. Connemara National Park is open to the public all year round. Tel +353 (0)95 41054/41006

Killary Fjord

Near Leeane is Killary Harbour - which is both a scenic and safe haven for visiting boats and yachts. The Killary, as it is more commonly called is truly unique in that it is Ireland's only fjord. Enjoy this beautiful and unique landscape by taking a cruise on the sheltered waters of the fjord with Sea-Cruise Connemara, who offer four daily sailngs on their luxury catamaran. Step back in time as you sail past the many deserted villages, abondoned since Famine times, which dot the Northren shore of the Fjord. Admire the rugged landscape of Mweelrea, the highest mountain in Connacht. As your cruise takes you to the mouth of the fjord, if you are lucky you may happen upon the resident school of dolphins which can regularly be seen there.

Lough Corrib - County Galway's largest lake

The Corrib system is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in Europe. It consists of a chain of lakes draining from Lough (Lake) Carra in Co. Mayo to Lough Mask and Lough Corrib, through the River Corrib into Galway Bay. Lough Corrib is the largest lake in the republic of Ireland, at 42,000 acres, and is renowned for its Salmon and Brown Trout. A feature of Lough Corrib is the number of islands, a few with houses, which dot it's length. On one of the islands, Inchagoill, there is an early Christian monastic settlement and a Romanesque Church. On another, Castlekirk there is an impressive 13th century fortress. The islands can be reached by boat ( arranged with local fishermen) and there are scheduled cruises March to October to Inchgoill Island with Corrib Cruises. Tel: 091 552644 for details of sailings. Angling on Lough Corrib contact: Western regional Fisheries board. Weir Lodge, Earls Island, Galway. 091 563118



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