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There is something I have been working on slowly over the past many months and have sent to so many people as a private message that I might as well put it up as a Link.
At this stage it is purely rough and all the information would be out there for anyone wanting to find it.
Journey to Clifden (N59) & Around.
The Journey starts out from Galway and takes the N59 heading for Clifden. Passing along the valley of the Corrib River, after 8 miles you come to the village of Moycullen home to Celtic Crystal and Connemara Marble. Celtic Crystal can be found on the site of the old railway station. A small well informed tour and demonstration takes place regularly and is free of charge. http://www.celticcrystalireland.com/
Connemara Marble Visitors Centre is also found in Moycullen and again gives demonstrations free of charge.
Laving Moycullen you will see Bridgets Garden signed to the right at Roscarhill.
Bridgets Garden is a collection of 4 separate gardens and is of general interest to anyone remotely green fingered. Charges are 7.50 April Sept and 5.50 other times, Nov-Jan inclusive the gardens are closed. http://www.brigitsgarden.ie/
Aughnanure Castle is also a little way further along the road. An Irish Heritage site there is a small entrance charge.
Oughterard is the next main town, widely regarded and known as the gateway to the Connemara
Corrib Cruises operate from here and you are able to take a boat trip across the lough to Ashford Castle. Access to the castle grounds is included in the package after first calling at Inchagoill Island for a guided tour of St Patricks monastery. The individual cost of this cruise being 28. corribcruises.com/index.php
Connemara Candles are just outside Oughterard, the cottage/shop is signed on the left as you approach the village and whilst it is not guaranteed you may be able to see candles in the making. http://www.connemaracandles.ie/
Before leaving Oughterard take a short trip up the High Road for some wonderful views over Lough Corrib and its Islands. Boats can be hired in town if you want to take to the water yourself and of course fishing is available on the lough. http://loughcorriboughterard.com/boats.htm
Exiting the town crossing over the bridge and following the river upstream you pass a couple of nice spots for a picnic lunch before the scene opens onto the Connemara. As you continue there are a couple of points of interest on your left. The Quiet Man Bridge made famous in the Henry Ford movie starring John Wane and Moraine OHara is just about 5 miles along the road and signposted. Rumour has it that just about every one of the original stones has been stolen by tourists over the past 60 years.
Glengowla Lead and Silver Mines were the first mines to be opened to the public as a show mine. There is a lot more to the site than just a good interesting mine tour through the Marble Chambers. There is a heritage centre with historic layout, Turf cutting Bog and even a Petting farm for the youngsters
Maam Cross is a point of importance being the meeting and crossing point of the 2 main routes across the Connemara N59 and R336. The cross is also a historic trading point with many sales through the year and a major sale in October. You can buy just about anything at the October Fair including livestock from Chickens and Ducks to Horses or a prize Bull.
Taking a right turn will lead you to Leenane and beyond whilst the left, southward turn will take you back to Galway along the R336 Coastal route after having first taken you past some more places of interest such as Padraic Pearses Cottage near Rosmuc another one of the Heritage Ireland site. heritageireland.ie/en/
Rossaveal (Ros a' Mhíl) located as the road sweeps from south to east is the Galway route to the Aran Isles.
The N59 continues onwards across the junction to Clifden with the Bens on the right and bog loughs to the left. The 2nd left turn (R341) after Recess will take you down under Ballynahinch lake and down the salmon run past the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel entrance. This road is also the loop around the peninsular passing through Roundstone and along by Dogs bay ending in Clifden by the Owenglin rivers entry to the sea. The Old Bog Road cuts across the peninsular between Ballinaboy and Cushatrower, this old and scenic route is the shortest way between Clifden and Roundstone.
Recess officially a village but more a townland set above Glendalough at the foot of the mountains quarried for their Green Marble and well known for its fishing. Mámean the shrine to St Patrick is a pilgrimage site and a pleasant walk. There is a Golf course and Pitch and Put Course but most people would pass straight through without noticing if it were not for Joyces Craft shop on the right with the fuel stop, Pub and Post office.
Before Clifden you pass the Connemara Heritage and History Centre, Dan OHaras Homestead a museum site and well respected Guest House. The restored 1840s Cottage of Dan OHara forms part of an interactive farm museum and a home of the famous Connemara pony. There are reconstructions of a clochaun and ring fort, turf cutting demonstrations and jaunting cart rides. http://www.connemaraheritage.com/
Clifden founded by John DArcy in 1812 on what was part of the family estate, however by 1850 with the effects of the famine, a cholera epidemic and financial hardship the town along with the rest of the DArcy estate was sold to English landlords who managed the estates from Clifden Castle.
In 1907 the Marconi Wireless station was opened at Derrygimla. Twelve years later in June 1919 A l c o c k and Brown completed the first transatlantic flight nonstop from Newfoundland to a nice green field just outside Clifden unfortunately the field was bog but did not spoil the £10,000 prize issued by the Daily Mail for the completion of the flight.
Things have not always gone smoothly in Clifden and there are dark points in last centurys history. Always a meeting point for the religions Clifden has two churches. The Protestant Church built in 1820 and Catholic Church completed in 1830 these meetings have not always been amicable and the war of independence saw some terrible acts from both sides.
Clifden today is widely regarded as the Capital of the Connemara and has a warm welcoming feel which attracts visitors from all over the globe. There are many bars dotted between the variety of shops in the small compact town centre and food is available to suit all tastes. Accommodation is also wide and varied from the towns Hostel to the luxury of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel.
Roundstone began to be developed as part of the areas famine relief work. The 1830s saw the building of a Franciscan monastery later dissolved in the 1970, all that remains is the Bell Tower and a few remnants of walls. Modern day Roundstone remains a fishing village but caters well for the tourist industry as well as attracting many from the artistic community. There are a couple of well-regarded Art galleries in town and the world famous Malachy Kearns Bodhrán store. Traditional music can be found most nights somewhere in the village. Following around the Ballyvonneely road you pass Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay both having expansive beaches.
Cleggan A small fishing village surrounded by blanket bog, which contains several burial tombs and standing stones dating from pre-history can be found on the next peninsular. . The town was mainly established in the early 1800s with the building of the first pier. Later in 1908 the pier was extended to complete the harbour into its current state. Along with fishing the harbour is also the leaving point for ferries to Inisbofin and Inisturk which themselves are popular with tourists. October 28th 1927 was a black day in the history of the town. Twenty Five men lost their lives when a freak storm descended on the bay whilst they were out fishing for Mackerel. Today tourism is a large contributor to the local economy. Along with the visitors transferring to the islands, Cleggan Riding Centre is well known for the beach rides along the strand exposed between the headland and Ormley Island at low tide. This Strand hosts equestrian beach races annually in August. Boats are also available to take those interested out for a spot of deep sea fishing. Cleggan Head overlooks the bay and is topped by the remnants of a watchtower constructed during the Napoleonic wars, views from here a fine reward for those who trek up to this point.
Letterfrack sits between the shore of Barnaderg Bay and the Connemara National Park with Diamond hill standing to 1500ft at its peak. Quite an unusual feature for such a small and often disregarded village is the highly regarded Furniture College, also surprising to some could be the fact that the village was established by the Quakers as a mission settlement in the 1800s.
Sky Road Drive From Clifden take the sky road as far as the Lower sky which passes between the coastguard station and Clifden castle. The low road runs along the bay before climbing (fairly steep and narrow) to re-join the top road, at the junction turn right and the viewing point is ¼ of a mile along as you return to Clifden. The best views are found taking the top road in this direction up above the bay and along over the Coastguard station. Just past the junction you are able to park sensibly by the triangular green and go through the pedestrian only entrance then follow the path to Clifden Castle. Further along on the hill to your right as you approach the town is the DArcy memorial, unfortunately this is a bit of a walk from a safe place to park the car. The view of the town and its 2 churches is a wonderful sight from this point on a bright day.
"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.
Oh my goodness, my head is spinning. I can tell how much you love your Country by the time and effort you have put into your descriptions and information. I truly appreciate your help and cannot wait for my visit to the Emerald Isle.
Thanks Tony, I wish we would have had this guide on our last trip. We pretty much followed the same route as you laid out, but only stopped at Moycullen for the crystal and tour of the marble factory. We also made a stop at Aughnanure Castle, which we enjoyed.
I see now, we missed a lot of other great sights and interesting historical information as we traveled.
Very nice, Tony.
If you ever get REALLY ambitious, I, for one, would LOVE to see a similar route guide for Lough Derg ...
Help Us to Help You. The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!
I should really link this map for Connemara region that started as a loop drive for someone staying in Ashford Castle but has taken on a life of its own, getting more pins every week.. http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu
Tony, mo chara,
This is brilliant! If I can be of any help to ya with the Midlands ya can always drop me a PM. You know where to find me...
Could we not simply create a new Lough Derg Site? Between us, I think it could be an informative jaunt Ya know gather local input and stories... I hate navigating the "improved" drivel that is there now