5 SPOTS WAY OUT WEST
Words by Aisling Dowd
Connemara and the wild west of Ireland has so many hidden gems from local places to eat, swim, explore and support. Here are 5 of our favourite places in Connemara to add to your Summer road trip Diary!
Whether you want to take a stroll through the gardens or take in the history and beautiful rooms of the abbey, Kylemore is an essential part of any trip to Connemara. The story of Kylemore Abbey is brought to life through photographs, audio-visual presentations, displays of artefacts and beautifully restored period rooms. Explore Kylemore Abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden, one of the last walled gardens built during the Victorian period in Ireland, full of history, flowers, trees, glasshouses and vegetable and fruit gardens. Don`t forget the ancient native woodland at the heart of the Kylemore estate where the whole family can enjoy walks through the greenery.
Where? Kylemore Abbey, Pollacappul, Co. Galway @Kylemoreabbey
Sweet Nothings cafe in Ballyconneely
Located in Ballyconneely, this is a great place to stop for a break while exploring the roads and beaches of the west of Connemara. Sweet Nothings has both outdoor and indoor seating. They offer a great selection of tasty treats, smoothies, coffee and sandwiches which are vegan and vegetarian friendly. You’ll find products free from wheat, dairy, eggs and refined sugar.
Where? Ballyconneely, Co. Galway @sweetnothingscafe
O’Dowd’s in Roundstone
O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar, Restaurant and Cafe are located in the centre of Roundstone village. Widely regarded as the oldest pub in Connemara, O’Dowd’s serves fantastic local seafood at excellent prices. They also have a range of meat, chicken and vegetarian dishes using only the best ingredients. The bar overlooks panoramic views of Roundstone Bay and the Twelve Bens.
Where? Main Street, Roundstone, Co. Galway @odowdsseafood
Located in Oughterard, Aughnanure Castle is perfect for history lovers. It is a particularly well preserved example of an Irish tower house. The grounds are fun to explore and have lots of space for young children to enjoy and the experienced guides are on hand with information on the history of the castle.
Where? Aughnanure, Oughterard, Co. Galway, H91 PX20 @aughnanurecastleopw
Dogs Bay and Gorteen strand
Not far from the village of Roundstone you can find a hammerhead shaped tombolo with beautiful beaches. Dogs Bay, located at the west of the tombolo has fine white sand and calm waters which are great for swimming. The water gets deep gradually so it’s an ideal spot for children to swim in. Across the narrow piece of land that forms the neck of the tombolo, you can find Gurteen bay, a long stretch of beach which is also ideal for swimming. If Dogs bay is too windy, Gurteen strand is probably more sheltered. There’s also a caravan park available.
Where? Ervallagh, Roundstone, Co. Galway