The Connemara is a beautiful region North-West of Galway city where you will find bogs,valleys,mountains and lakes. The capital of this region is Clifden. When you arrive at this town, take the circular 11 km Sky road for some spectactular ocean views!
!7 km from Clifden is Kylemore Abbey and lake. This abbey was originally built as a summer home for a wealthy English business man who fell in love with the region while on his honeymoon. This building was converted into an abbey during World War I by Belgian nuns. Today it is an exclusive boarding school. This beautiful building is in a very picturesque setting with the lake in front and a beautiful mountain in the background.
Connemara National Park is gorgeous and its area encompasses some of the "Twelves Bens" (or "Twelve Pins") a beautiful group of mountains.
Connemara to the north of Galway city is one of the wildest places in Ireland. Most tourists will probably visit Clifden, Kylemore Abbey near Letterfrack and possibly Cong with its replica of the "Quiet Man" cottage. They are certainly very scenic places and you should not miss them, but do not stay too long. There is so much more to see. My favourite places in Connemara are Killary Harbour, Ireland´s only fjord, and the area around Clonbur and Lough Nafooey. Or just find yourself a quiet spot on the shore of Lough Corrib, Ireland´s second largest lake, after Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.
You must, absolutely must visit the west of Ireland and Connemara. Spend as much time in County Clare as possible, skip the more noxious tourist traps like the 'blarney stone' and trek (bike or hike) up the coast - mind the nettles in summer! Listen to the farmers' stories (if you're a woman, don't be surprised if an 80-year-old farmer proposes marriage!), poke around the medieval churches and iron age forts; and if it's wet, duck into one of the pubs and spend the afternoon. You'll be certain to make new friends!
Hiking around this lake one afternoon, I happened upon a group of German campers. Camping and biking in the Irish countryside is an excellent idea and seemed in 1990 to have been particularly popular among Germans.
Not too long ago Letterfrack in County Galway was a 'school' for boys who for various reasons had fallen foul of the Irish educational system and were sent here for 'correction'(ie. forced labour, various tortures and a spirit breaking regime). The name still sends a shiver down the spine of many of the older generations in Ireland. Since 1980 however the buildings have been converted into a really nice interpretative centre for the Connemara region and form now the entrance to this National Park where one can see Connemara ponies, red deer, various birdlife and absolutely stunning scenery. I recommend a visit outside of high summer - the way this landscape changes mood with the weather (and in Ireland that can mean a few hundred times a day!) is part of the awesome beauty of the place. My picture is of one of the Twelve Bens mountain range, four of which are contained within the park itself.
Hills, sea, sheep, lakes .. one of the most scenic areas in Ireland. Unfortunately it's also the area with the most rain in the country!!! Main town of Connemara is Clifden.