20 Hiddens Gems in Connacht everyone should experience…

Connacht is a province of Ireland which has a lot to offer for beauty. We would highly recommend going to this region! Here are some of the best places in this region.

1. Doo lough Pass, Co. Mayo

doolough_pass

The Doolough Valley was the most beautiful scenery we saw in Ireland. Doo Lough means Dark Lake. The lake is at the southern end of the valley and does look quite dark on the surface.

The valley is bogland and is uninhabited except for the intrepid sheep who seem quite content to have it to themselves. The bog grass has a beautiful reddish hue. Many small waterfalls flow down both sides of the valley.

2. Aasleagh Falls, Co. Mayo

Aasleagh falls, Co. Mayo

Located 1 km north of the Galway/Mayo border, this location provides views over Aasleagh Falls, a picturesque waterfall located on the River Erriff just before the river meets Killary Harbour.

Two laybys located on either side of the R335 Regional Road provide formal parking. A pathway exists which allows visitors to make the short walk to the waterfall. Salmon fishing is very popular at this location.

3. Ashleam Bay, Co. Mayo

Ashleam Bay, Co. Mayo. Credit to johnmeephotography
www.johnmeephotography.com

This Discovery Point, along the southern coast of Achill Island that looks down onto Ashleam Bay, is a small pebbly cove sometimes known as Portnahally.

A series of hairpin bends descend from this point to the inlet of Ashleam Bay which is enclosed by rock cliffs some 100ft high. This vantage point boasts a series of exceptional panoramic and elevated viewpoints. It offers one of the most breathtaking views on Achill Island.

4. Achillbeg Island, Co. Mayo

Achillbeg Island, Co. Mayo

Acaill Bheag (Achillbeg) is a small island in County Mayo, just off the southern tip of Achill Island. Its name means ‘Little Achill’. Acaill Bheag was evacuated in 1965 and the inhabitants were settled on the main (Achill) island and nearby mainland. The main settlement was in the centre of the island, bounded by two hills to the north and south.

There are a small number of holiday homes on the island, but they are usually empty for most of the year. Access to the island is from Cé Mhór, in the village of An Chloich Mhór (Cloghmore), by local arrangement. A lighthouse on Acaill Bheag’s southern tip was completed in 1965.

5. Knockmore Mountain, Clare Island

Knockmore Mountain, Clare Island. Credit to Gareth Mccormack
Credit to Gareth Mccormack

This is an amazing spot in Clare Island which lies off the west coast of Ireland at the entrance to Clew Bay. It is the largest of the Mayo offshore islands, it has a varied terrain: spectacular cliffs with large numbers of nesting seabirds and a rich ‘inland’ topography of hills and bogs and small pockets of woodland, making it ideal for hill-walking.

6. Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo

mullaghmore

Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo. It is a noted holiday destination, characterised by ocean views and a skyline dominated by the monolithic shape of Ben Bulben mountain. In Irish – An Mullach Mór, meaning “the great summit”.

7. Ben Bulben, Co. Sligo

Benbulben, Co. Sligo.

Benbulben, Co. Sligo. Sometimes spelled Ben Bulben or Benbulben, is a large rock formation in County Sligo, Ireland. It is part of the Dartry Mountains, in an area sometimes called “Yeats Country”. Benbulbin is a protected site, designated as a County Geological Site by Sligo County Council. In fact, one might possibly describe what is easily Ireland’s most distinctive mountain as being the nearest that Ireland gets to having its own version of Ayres Rock, in central Australia, or Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa!

8. Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim

Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim. Credit to cycleireland.ie

Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk. There are more waterfalls visible from the road, although none is quite as romantic as this one.

9. Castle Island, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Castle Island, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

The Ruins On Castle Island, Lough Key, Boyle, is a beautiful and interesting sight from the water.

10. Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway

Kylemore Abbey Co. Galwayy

Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I. The current Mother Abbess of the Benedictine Community is Mary Margaret Funk.

11. Connemara Lakes, Co. Galway

Connemara lakes, Co. Galway

Connemara is a district in the west of Ireland, the boundaries of which are not well defined. Some define it to be the land contained by Killary Harbour, the Maam Valley, Lough Corrib; a line from there to the sea at Barna and the Atlantic Ocean. Others draw the eastern boundary line from Killary Harbour to Kilkieran Bay in the west of County Galway.

12. Hill of Doon, Lough Corrib, Co. Galway

Hill of Doon, Lough Corrib Co
Hill of Doon, Lough Corrib Co

The Hill of Doon is on Lough Corrib, about seven kilometers outside Oughterard, County Galway, Ireland. The Lake is famous among anglers for its trout and salmon.

13. Clifden, Co. Galway

Clifden, Co. Galway

Clifden is a town on the coast of County Galway, Ireland and being Connemara’s largest town, it is often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara”. It is located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. The town is linked to Galway city by the N59 and is a popular tourist destination for those touring Connemara.

14. Sky Road, Near Clifden, Co. Galway

Sky Road, Clifden, Co. Galway.

Sky Road, Clifden, Connemara. The Sky Road drive in Clifden is a popular route in the Connemara region and has been described as being the most impressive coastal drive in the country. The steep ascent along the coastal edge provides a wonderful vantage point with panoramic views of Clifden bay and its many islands.

15. Bunowen Bay, Co. Galway

Bunowen Bay, Co. Galway

A lovely sandy beach in Bunowen Bay on the Slyne Head promontory. Set in a typical rocky landscape of Connemara, the area is home to the Connemara Golf Club and The Connemara Smokehouse is also situated at the harbour 200 metres from the beach.

16. Connemara National Park, Co. Galway

Connemara, Co. Galway

Connemara National Park is one of six national parks in the Republic of Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is located in the west of Ireland within County Galway.

17. Dogs Bay, Co. Galway

Dogs Bay, Co. Galway

Two miles from Roundstone, Co Galway, on the road to Clifden, are two of the finest beaches in Ireland. Gurteen Beach and Dog’s Bay lie back to back forming a tombolo jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dog’s Bay is located closer to Roundstone village and has a spectacular horseshoe shape with more than a mile long stretch of white sandy beach. Similar to Gurteen Bay, the sand is not comprised of traditional limestone but rather made entirely of fragments of seashells which give it a pure white colour.

18. Galway City, Co. Galway

Galway city, Co. Galway

Discover magic by walking through Galway at night.

19. Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, Co. Galway

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, Co. Galway

This 16th century tower house sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay its architecture is simple yet magnificent. A short stroll from the village for you to enjoy as the castle is just 300 yards outside the lovely village of Kinvara.

20. Parkes Castle, Co. Leitrim

Parkes Castle, Co. Leitrim

A restored plantation castle of the early 17th century, picturesquely situated on the shores of Lough Gill, once the home of Robert Parke and his family. The Courtyard grounds contain evidence of an earlier 16th century Tower House structure once owned by Sir Brian O’Rourke who subsequently was executed at Tyburn, London in 1591. The Castle has been restored using Irish oak and traditional craftsmanship. Access for visitors with disabilities to the ground floor.

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