Taking you from Leenaun in County Galway to Louisburgh in County Mayo, the Louisburgh Drive is one of the most scenic drives Ireland has to offer.
Snaking its way along a short section of Ireland’s beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, the Louisburgh Drive is a great Irish road trip for those who are short on time.
Travelling past beautiful beaches, heritage towns, and breathtaking islands, you can enjoy some of the very best of Ireland’s most scenic coastal route.
So, if you want to enjoy some of the finest scenery you’ll find in Ireland’s west, here is everything you need to know about the stunning Leenaun to Louisburgh Drive.
Overview – what is the Louisburgh Drive?
Starting in Leenaun in County Galway and finishing up in Louisburgh, County Mayo, the Louisburgh Drive is arguably one of Ireland’s most scenic drives.
At just under 31 km (19.2 miles) driving distance, it is a relatively short stretch and can be completed without stopping in just over half an hour.
Route – for the most incredible views
Starting in Leenaun, you will head north past Killary Harbour onto the N59. Continue along the N59 overlooking Killary Fjord before you reach the junction at St John the Baptist’s Church.
Take a left here onto the R335, passing the beautiful Aasleagh Falls (worth stopping if you have time) and crossing the Aasleagh Falls Bridge.
Continue along the R335 as it makes its way along the northern shores of Killary Fjord before cutting north towards Delphi. Travelling through Connemara, you will get to enjoy some of Ireland’s most magnificent scenery, including incredible mountain views.
Passing the town of Delphi, you will continue along the R335, which makes its way north along the eastern shore of Doo Lough. You will continue through the beautiful but harrowing Doo Lough Valley Famine Memorial.
After this, you will continue north along the R335 as it winds its way north through the Irish countryside towards Louisburgh town centre.
When to visit – weather and crowds
As the main attraction of the Louisburgh Drive is the incredible views, it is best to visit on a clear day. The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable no matter the time of year, so deciding on the day can sometimes be the best option.
Still, your best chance to enjoy clear conditions is during the spring, summer, and early autumn, from April to September.
When it comes to crowds, Ireland’s rural roads never tend to be overly busy. However, as the Louisburgh Drive is one of the most beautiful in Ireland, it will attract more visitors than others.
If you want to be in with the best chance of enjoying a quiet drive, we advise avoiding visiting during bank holidays and weekends.
What to see – beach walks and stunning views
Winding through the mountains, you can take in some of the most stunning views you’ll find in Ireland along the Louisburgh Drive.
The first stop is the charming town of Leenaun, which offers brilliant views over Killary Fjord. This is undoubtedly a great place to start one of Ireland’s most incredible day trips.
Some of the must-stops include Killary Fjord, Doolough Valley, and the surroundings of Connemara National Park. It’s also worth making the short detour to Aasleagh Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland.
Not far from the Louisburgh Drive are some of Ireland’s best sandy beaches, including Bertra Beach and Carrowmore Beach.
Along the way, you can find some of Ireland’s busiest beaches as well as many unspoilt beaches, making it the perfect destination for a family holiday.
If you fancy travelling out a bit further, you can visit Achill Island for a stunning ocean view and walk on Keel Bay, a magnificent Blue Flag Beach.
Alternatively, you can visit Clare Island, home to sandy coves and Clare Island Lighthouse, or the uninhabited Inishturk Island.
Where to eat – great food for your journey
The Blackberry Restaurant is located in the centre of the picturesque Leenaun Village, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat before setting off on the Louisburgh Drive. Offering fresh, local dishes, you’ll have plenty of options for a tasty bite to eat here.
The Misunderstood Heron food truck in Connemara serves up a range of dishes to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. With a great range of seafood, meat, and vegan and vegetarian dishes, there is something for everyone here.
Gaffney’s Restaurant is a popular seafood restaurant in Louisburgh, specialising in fresh, locally caught fish and seafood dishes.
Offering great quality food and drinks and a warm and friendly atmosphere, The Derrylahan Bar and Bistro is a great place to get some delicious food on your journey.
For an unforgettable dining experience, we highly recommend stopping off at The Glen Keen Estate in Louisburgh. With breathtaking surroundings and great food and drinks, this is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip.
Where to stay – a base to explore the Louisburgh Drive
If you’re visiting on a backpacking holiday or are planning to undertake the Louisburgh Drive as part of a family holiday to the area, there are plenty of guest services and great places to stay nearby.
Leenane Hotel: Located on the shores of Killary Harbour, the Leenane Hotel is a historic coaching inn that offers classic and comfortable accommodation.
Address: Clifden Road, Leenane, Connemara, Ireland
Delphi Resort Hotel & Spa: The four-star Delphi Resort Hotel & Spa is the perfect luxury retreat in the picturesque Irish countryside.
Address: Tawnyinlough, Leenaun, Co. Galway, Ireland
An Nead Beag (The Little Nest): For a tranquil and private escape to the Irish countryside, we highly recommend booking into An Nead Beag or The Little Nest. This cute Irish cottage is located in Louisburgh and is the perfect place for all the family.
Address: Falduff, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, Louisburgh, Ireland
The area of County Mayo and County Galway is a favourite holiday destination for many. So, if you travel to the area, there are plenty of other great things to see and do nearby.
Westport: One of the most picturesque towns in the west of Ireland, Westport is just a few miles north of Louisburgh. Thus, it is well worth visiting while in the area.
Atlantic Drive: If you’re looking for more scenic drives nearby, why not take in Ireland’s world-renowned Atlantic Drive?
Achill Island: Just off the coast of County Mayo, Achill Island is a picturesque island in the Atlantic Ocean. For breathtaking views and fascinating history, this is a must-visit.
Galway City: As Ireland’s Capital of Culture, you can’t visit County Galway without paying a visit to this famous city. This coastal town offers culture, enormous beaches, and beautiful views.
FAQs about the Louisburgh Drive
Is the Leenaun to Louisburgh drive worth doing?
Yes! Known by locals as one of Ireland’s most picturesque drives, the Leenaun to Louisburgh Drive is a must while in the west of Ireland.
Is it better to start the drive in Leenaun or Louisburgh?
Either way! It just depends where you want to start and end.
What is there to do near Leenaun and Louisburgh?
There is plenty to do nearby, from the iconic Croagh Patrick to the beautiful beach location that is the coast of Galway and Mayo.