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Towns and Villages / Islands

Clifden - The Capital of Connemara

Clifden is the largest town in Connemara, and viewed as the region's capital. Founded at the start of the 19th century by local landlord and sheriff John D'Arcy. Clifden today is a lively spot, with excellent restaurants and many sociable pubs.

In August the town hosts the Connemara Pony Show, an annual highlight centred around the distinctive small, sturdy Connemara Ponies, special to this region. Street traders, exhibitions, bands, displays of home produce and conventional equestrian events give this festival a great flavour.

 

Alcock And Brown

On June 15, 1919 Captain John Alcock (pilot) and Lt. Arthur Brown (navigator) Flew a Vickers Vimy 1,900 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland in 6 hours and 12 minutes, flying approximately 120 mph and landed not firm on the ground but in the Derryimlagh Bog, near Clifden. A monument representing the wing of the plane was erected on a nearby hill, and you can walk along a track to the original landing site. Located about 3km south of Clifden, the site can be reached by taking the R341 towards Roundstone. About 2.5km past Clifden is a signpost indicating the turn-off.

Cleggan

Cleggan is a small fishing village nestling at the head of Cleggan Bay, on Connemara's Atlantic Coast. This village is the departure point for ferry services to the islands of Inishbofin and Inishturk. The outstanding feature of the landscape around Cleggan is blanket bog. Ireland and Connemara contain the last surviving bogs in Europe. Few plant species can live in the acid condition of the bog, but those that can form a vegetation not found outside Ireland. Between Cleggan and Ballynakill Lough, some 2km to the east, is a fine collection of prehistoric monuments including tombs, standing stones and walls.

Oughterard - The Gateway to Connemara

Oughterard is the largest town on the western side of Lough Corrib. A wide expanse of purple heather and white bog cotton marks your arrival to the village. The Twelve Bens mountain range stretches ahead into the distance while the road follows the old railway line, which once linked the town to Clifden. Surrounded by trees it has a collection of Georgian houses, built alongside the few small thatched cottages that still remain in the area.

Roundstone Village

This lovely village at the foot of Errisbeg mountain on the west side of Roundstone Bay was founded by the celebrated Scottish Engineer Alexander Nimmo. It is also the location of Roundstone Music, Crafts and Fashion where handmade bodhrans, one of Ireland?s most distinctive musical instruments are manufactured. Open 7 days a week in Summer, closed Sundays in Winter. Visitors are welcome. The Irish translation of the name Roundstone is "Cloch na Ron". The word "Cloch" means stone and the word "ron" means seal and refers to a time when seal shooting was offered as a tourist attraction in the area. The sport is now of course banned, but the harbour where the seals were hunted still attracts people. Now they go surfing or boating or watch currach races. Today, Roundstone is a quiet holiday resort beloved by artists and botanists.

Beaches

On the Ballyconeely Road about 3km from Roundstone are the beautiful sandy beaches of Gurteen Bay and Dog's Bay. Errisbeg mountain towers over the village. Its easy ascent rewards the climber with a truly magnificent view of the lake dotted countryside to the North and the fine seascapes in other directions.

Inishbofin Island

Inishbofin Island lies off the coast of County Galway and County Mayo. Although only three miles long, Inishbofin has many attractions; scenery, fishing, sailing and swimming. It is also rich in archaeology and geology. Inifhbofin has a population of almost 200 people, two hotels, a pub, a hostel, two shops and several B&B's and guesthouses. The Island has wonderful cliff scenery, with blowholes and sea stacks as well as a magnificent safe beach and clean water. Inishbofin's archaeological treasures include the promontory fort, Dun Grainne and Don Bosco's ancient castle, which overlooks the harbour. Towards the East End are the remains of a 13th century church on the site where St Colman founded a monastery in the 7th century. Its graveyard has many relics. In the 16th century a Spanish pirate Don Bosco, who was an ally of Granuaile, the famous Irish pirate queen, occupied Inishbofin. In Cromwellian times the island was used as a barracks. Inishbofin today is a warm, welcoming place. There are regular sailings to Inishbofin from Clogging during the summer.

Inchagoill Island

Inchagoill Island, located midway between Cong (Mayo) and Oghterard (Galway), is one of the largest of many wooded islets along Lough Corrib. The island has spectacular views of the Maumturk range. Joyce Country and the mountains of Connemara, and it is also home to two ancient venerated sites, set close together in its woods' St Patrick's Church believed to have been erected in the 5th century and the tiny 12th century Church of the Saints. There are secluded beaches and enchanting woods with a variety of walks around the island.


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Galway Gallery
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Snow-capped mountains surrounding Killary Harbour, 18 Mar 2007. Photo credit: North Atlantic Skyline.

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