Spiddal

Spiddal is situated 13 km West of Galway City in South Connemara, beautifully located overlooking Galway Bay & The Aran Islands. Spiddal is in an Irish speaking region of Ireland know as an Gaeltacht where students come to learn the Irish language and experience irish culture and traditions.

Spiddal has many fine pubs where the best Irish traditional music can be enjoyed. Ceardlann Spiddal Craft Centre is where you can see crafts being made giving you a rare opportunity to buy unique handmade gifts directly from the skilled Artisans themselves. There are a range of workshops, including candle making, leatherwork, pottery, screen-printing and siopa Gaeilge, weaving, celtic jewellery, bodhran making, wood-turning and a Restaurant.

Spiddal

Clifden

Clifden, 50 miles northwest of Galway, is the largest town in Connemara and is regarded as its capital. Surprisingly, it is not an old town, being founded at the start of the 19th Century by John d'Arcy, the local landlord, who lived in Clifden Castle , now a roofless ruin on the scenic Sky Road running westwards along Clifden Bay. The famine of the 1840s retarded the town's growth, but it has now become a popular tourist centre. With its many fine hotels, guest houses and restaurants, it is the ideal base from which to tour the Beanna Beola mountains and the delightfully fretted coast of western Connemara. Other areas of natural wilderness, such as Derrygimlagh Bog, 4 miles south of Clifden, site of the former Marconi wireless station and where Alcock and Brown landed after their historic transatlantic flight of 1919, lie within easy reach of the town.

The scenery around Clifden is extraordinary. Clifden's striking skyline is dominated by the spires of the Neo-Gothic Catholic Church and nearby Protestant church. The Twelve Bens provide a wonderful backdrop to the town.
Clifden Castle is situated 2km from Clifden. This ruin overlooks the sea and can be reached by the farm track near the Sky Road. Once a Gothic mansion, the d'Arcys lived here until 1850 when the estate was sold to the Eyre family who lived here at intervals until the castle fell into ruin in the early 20th century.

Clifden

On June 15 1919, Cpt John Alcock and Lt Arthur Brown, flew a Vickers Vimy 1900 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland. A journey which had taken 6hrs and 12mins, they landed in the Derrygimlagh Bog, near Clifden. A monument representing the wing of the plane stands on a nearby hill and the original landing site can still be seen.
Sturdy horses were needed in Connemara, with its uneven and rocky terrain. As a result of these conditions, a breed of pony known as the Connemara Pony, evolved. This breed has become famous world-wide.The Connemara Pony Show is a Mecca for breeders of Connemara Ponies, and takes place in Clifden each August.

The Clifden Arts Festival takes place in late Septmeber. Clifden plays home to a 10-day celebration of the arts. Poetry, storytelling, music, theatre, set dancing and art exhibitions are all part of this creative, welcoming and vibrant festival on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Salthill

Salthill, once a small seaside resort 3 km west of Galway City, is now an important suburb of this expanding city. Salthill seems to have grown as a result and, today, it is a premier resort in Ireland. While it may have lost some of its simple, rural charms, it has gained a wealth of amenities in the process. The giant Leisureland complex, with its host of children's entertainments, including an indoor heated swimming pool, proves very popular, especially when the weather acts the spoilsport, as it will do at times here in the west. The golden half-mile of casinos, pubs and restaurants also play their part by day and discos and musical pubs rule the roost at night.

Salthill

Roundstone

Roundstone is one of the oldest resorts in Connemara. The village was built in the 1820s by Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo. Roundstone lies on the western arm of Bertraghboy bay in Connemara, County Galway, 77km north-west of Galway city.
The village is beautifully set on one of the most spectacular coastal drives in Europe overlooking the Atlantic at the foot of Errisbeg Mountain. In Roundstone you will find a busy little harbour, where local fishermen prepare and return with the day's catches of lobster, crayfish, crab and mackerel, plus a variety of other fish. Roundstone is situated in the heart of Connemara, and is one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast, and is an area of much natural beauty, as well as being the birth place and inspiration for much of Ireland's artistic creations. It has also been described many times as a "botanist's delight" as many wild flowers, rare to this country, are found in the area.

Roundstone enjoys an unparalleled view of the Twelve Pins and is bordered by the vast Atlantic ocean. Dogs Bay and Gorteen Beach, set back and filled with the clearest Atlantic water can be enjoyed in this area. Not only can the beaches be enjoyed from the swimmers and other aquatic water sports point of view, but to those that are interested, the sand is pure white as it is not formed of quartz grain but of shells exclusively.

Roundstone

It has a traditional craft centre and local activities include Pottery, Jewellery and Instrument making. Farming, Fishing, Forestry and Quarrying are carried out extensively in the area.
Visitors are drawn to the annual arts festival which showcases many of Ireland's well known artists performing and working alongside local artists. Roundstone Arts Festival has something for everyone to discover.

Athenry

Athenry of "The Fields of Athenry" - the name is world-famous and yet many who appreciate the song, probably know little of the town which gave the song its name. Athenry town is situated 24km east of Galway City, and has a history which stretches back to Stone Age times. Due to its location, Athenry has played a very prominent role in Irish history, witnessing both the Norman and Cromwellian invasions, as well as many attacks by Irish armies.

The historic past of the town is visibly symbolised by Athenry Castle. Erected by Meiler de Bermingham, the castle consists of a three storey tower surrounded by an outer wall. The castle has undergone some recent renovations and contains an audio visual room as well as an exhibition. The castle was built due to the strategic importance of Athenry's location. Today this also remains significant as it is just 10 minutes from Galway airport and a short drive from Galway City whilst Knock and Shannon international airports are each just 75 minutes away. In addition, its location on the main Dublin-Galway railway line facilitates easy access to the east coast. As a result, a stay in Athenry affords the tourist the ideal base to explore the splendour of Connemara and the Burren or to visit the neighbouring counties of Mayo and Roscommon. Other attractions and activities include access to several championship golf courses, top quality angling/fishing facilities, the world-famous Galway Races, the international oyster festivals at Clarinbridge and Galway, and the Galway Arts Festival.

Athenry

As well as the castle, visitors should take a look at The Fields of Athenry Thatched Heritage Cottage. A recreated traditional Irish cottage, bringing to life a time when people gathered together in such homes. Friends and neighbours came to listen to a seanachai (story-teller) or to the music from a travelling fiddler or piper. Tea and scones are served daily. Traditional music and dance on Wednesday and Saturday nights.