The beautiful village of Leenane, snugly situated at the head of Killary Harbour, is often aptly described as the 'Gateway to Connemara'. The roads from Maam, Clifden, and Westport meet at this point. Killary Harbour extends ten miles inland and with the mountains rising steeply on either side provides what is probably the best scenery in Ireland. Walkers have access to Mweelrea, Sheefry, Paltry and Maumturk Mountains.
You can take a tour to the Connemara region from Galway - there are several tour companies that do this trip, or you can take your own car.
Connemara is a beautiful, wild region where you can find bogs,lonely valleys, mountains and small lakes..
Check out my Connemara travelogue for more pictures.
Kylemore Abbey is on the Connemara region, 17 km from Clifden.
The place looks like taken from a fairy tale,it's a beautiful place. You can see the Abbey,the memorial church near by and the lake and its surroundings.
The Abbey was built for a rich Englishman but after a few deaths in his family he left the place and now it's a girls school run by the Benedicte nuns.
The best and only real way to see this place is one a bike. We spent two days cycling around this island and we saw so much off the beaten track and some of the real wonders of Celtic Ireland that left you with such a feeling of accomplishment.
During the Spring & Summer season you'll be able to find places that offer Pony-Trekking and low-key Horseback riding - keep your eyes peeled for the signs on the roadsides!
This one was right behind our holiday-house...
If you're staying in or around Galway city, it is worth while taking a day's drive to OughtarArd and Cliften. OughtarArd, a colourful Irish town, is situated on the banks of the Corrib lake, and there are plenty of gillies and boats for hire for a great day's fishing. It is a little like being out on the open sea so make sure you bring warm clothes.
County Galway IS off the beaten path. See Kylemore Abbey and if you want good quality souvenirs, their gift shop is extensive and reasonable. More when I locate my travel journal! Here's a photo of Marshall in front of Kylemore Abbey. Beautiful drive to get there.
Entering the wild bauty of Connemara, mountains start to rise and there are vast open spaces. The quiet man film was filmed near here and the brigde on the picture is very famous because of it.
Have a visit to the Dunguaire Castle, at the south shore of Galway Bay at the town of Kinvara. The castle was built in 1520.