North Connacht has a lot of beauty to offer. We would highly recommend going to this region! Here are some of the best places to see in north Connacht.
From sweeping valleys to stunning beaches and waterfalls, the northern region of this Irish province has a lot of beauty to behold.
We’re going to count down the 11 spots that you can’t miss on your Irish road trip through north Connacht. Read on to plan your trip now.
11. Doolough Pass, Co. Mayo – one of the most scenic spots
The Doolough Valley is one of the most beautiful and scenic places to visit in County Mayo. ‘Doo Lough’ translates to ‘Dark Lake’ from the original Irish. 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.
Location: Co. Mayo, Ireland
10. Aasleagh Falls, Co. Mayo − one of the most beautiful places to see in north Connacht
Located 1 km (0.6 miles) 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.
Location: River, Erriff, Co. Mayo, Ireland
9. Ashleam Bay, Co. Mayo − a small, pebbly cove
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 100 ft (30 m) high.
This vantage point boasts a series of exceptional panoramic and elevated viewpoints. It offers one of the most breathtaking views on Achill Island.
Location: Claggan, Irska, Co. Mayo, Ireland
8. Achillbeg Island, Co. Mayo − little Achill
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 the 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.
Location: Achillbeg Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland
7. Knockmore Mountain, Clare Island − spectacular cliffs
This is an amazing spot on 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 and has a varied terrain.
Furthermore, it offers spectacular cliffs with large numbers of nesting sea birds, a rich ‘inland’ topography of hills and bogs, and small pockets of woodland, making it ideal for hill-walking.
Location: Bunnamohaun, Co. Mayo, Ireland
6. Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo − a noted holiday destination
Mullaghmore is a noted holiday destination for people all over the country, characterised by ocean views and a skyline dominated by the monolithic shape of Ben Bulben mountain. In Irish, it is ‘An Mullach Mór’, meaning ‘the great summit’.
Location: Co Sligo, Ireland
5. Benbulbin, Co. Sligo − one of the most distinctive sights in Ireland
Sometimes spelt Ben Bulben or Benbulben, this is a large rock formation in County Sligo, Ireland.
It is part of the Dartry Mountains, in an area known as “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!
For more, check out our article on the most beautiful Irish mountains.
Location: Cloyragh, Co. Sligo, Ireland
4. Garavogue River, Co. Sligo − a sight to behold
The Garavogue is a river located in County Sligo, Ireland. From Lough Gill, it winds its way through Sligo town and into Sligo Bay.
The river has a large estuary with a shipping channel capable of taking ships up to 10,000 tonnes, but now fallen into disuse and is used mainly by smaller pleasure craft.
Location: Co Sligo, Ireland
3. Markree Castle, Co. Sligo – one of the country’s finest castles
Markree Castle stands on a secluded 500-acre estate in the scenic northwest of the country. One of the country’s finest Victorian Gothic Revival castles, it has been sold to a hotel group which specialises in the restoration of such venues.
Location: Clooneenroe, Collooney, Co. Sligo, F91 AE81, Ireland
2. Parkes Castle, Co. Leitrim − a picturesque castle
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.
Location: Kilmore, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
1. Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim − an impressive sight
Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 km (6.8 miles) west of Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. It is certainly one of the most jaw-dropping places to see in north Connacht.
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.
Location: Formoyle, Glencar, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
Other notable mentions
Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo: Croagh Patrick overlooks Clew Bay and is one of the most picturesque mountains you’ll lay eyes on in Ireland.
Queen Maeve’s Grave, Co. Sligo: Said to be a Neolithic passage tomb, Queen Maeve’s Graves is a complex archaeological site in Connacht.
Lough Corrib, Co. Galway: The second biggest freshwater lake in Ireland, this is one of the most tranquil and serene locations in north Connacht.
Lough Key Forest Park, Co. Roscommon: Boat tours, beautiful walks and forest adventures, beauty is no stranger to Lough Key Forest Park.
Roscommon Castle, County Roscommon: Located in east Galway, Roscommon Castle is one of many Irish castles outlining Ireland’s history.
FAQs about places to see in north Connacht
What are the five counties of Connacht?
Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo are the five counties of Connacht.
Where does the name Connacht come from?
The name comes from the medieval ruling dynasty, the Connacht.
What is there to see in north Connacht?
When you’re visiting the northern part of the province, be sure to check out a few spots from our list, and you won’t be disappointed.