Connemara National Park is a big area east of Clifden and south of Leenane and it includes 4 of the 12 bens - among them is Benbaun, which is the highest of them with 730 meters. Inside that National Park you will also see plenty of megalith graves, dating back more than 4000 years.
You may walk through the national Park all year long, but the Visitor centre is only open during summer, daily between May and September.
More infos and pics are to be found on their web-page - click on my link below !
The 12 Bens are the group of small hills that you will see from almost anywhere in the Connemara.
To Connacht (the old name for Connemara) or to hell used to be a sentence at the end of many trials and in fact to be banned to Connacht might have been worse then to go to prison (=hell). The soil was totally unfertile, too many rocks and a salty ground so fishermen collected the sea-tweed and dried it in the sun in order to improve the soil, and at some places you still may see heaps of sea-tweed waiting to be carried away.
In former times all inhabitants of the Connemara were poor, while today more and more people build a 2nd home there and some parts are already a bit over-run by them. get to Connemara BEFORE all of the magic landscape has disappeared between modern buildings.
Cong Abbey is an interesting monastery in the northern part of Connemara. Its origins are dating back to the 6th century, but is was destroyed and rebuilt again in the 12th century by Turlough O'Connor, King of Connaught and High King of Ireland.
You can enter Cong Abbey freely and without restrictions during the day and will see there some very few fine ornaments and plenty of great arches.
Cong Abbey was also the home for the Cross of Cong - a 75cm high procession-cross, made of gold and precious jewels. It is shown in the National museum in Dublin.
Most ofthe tourists are coming to Cong because of the movie "The Quiet Man" and the area around the abbey was also used as a background-scenery for it.
"The Quiet Man" was a well-known movie made in the late 1950s at various places in the Connemara, mainly in Cong around Asford castle, but also here, close to the small village of Maam Cross, where you can still see the original cottage, where John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara had their home in the movie. In german that movie was called "Der Sieger" and it is about a former boxing-champion who had killed accidentally a man in the ring and is now trying to start a new life in Ireland, the land of his childhood...
On my main picture you will see the tiny hut, it is one of the attractions at a petrol-station maybe 2 km west of Maam Cross, on your way to Clifden.
You may not enter the building, but take a picture from outside, and of course you will also find all sorts of souvenirs there ! For the best "Quiet Man" souvenirs and infos you better go to Cong !
Roundstone is one of my favorite villages in the Connemara, because from there you will have a great scenery of mountains, lakes and bays. I have been in Roundstone several times and it became quite full of tourists recently, also because of a movie that was made there :
The Matchmaker - that movie was filmed in Roundstone in 1997
Matchmaking is still quite usual in Ireland and there are traditional festivals, where people of all ages meet in order to find a partner.
I would not plan a trip to Ireland and not include at least two to three days in Connemara. My first trip I wisked through this area.....and regreted it, always wanting to go back and finish the great gift it was. Other parts of Ireland, except Achill Island did not please me as much. I thought I would find it in the rest of my travels but I didn't.
Go to the West and Southwest of Ireland and savor every moment. It is the best.....it is truly taking a step back in time.... so refreshing and simple.
In my photo on this page we took a by-way road from Rossaveel to Oughterard. It was barren in some places and lush in others, this silly donkey was in the road, and when we stopped he greeted us with the best "Welcome we ever had" and "Number one of a Thousand". This was our first day....and this moment will never be forgotten.
Go............to Connemara, you will be happy you did.
The national park is 2000 hectare wide and home for wildlife on the slope of the Twelve Beans. There are three routes available for walking enthusiast. Red route is the farest (7 kilometer and the path brings you to the top of the mountain). The path is available and just follow the sign. Although in shiny summer day, bring jacket is advisable, since the Irish weather can change in seconds.
For more complete walking guide, you can buy “Walking in Connemara” guidebook, available in the souvenir shops.
If I ever go to Ireland again, I am sure I will spend more time in Connemara. This region in the west of Ireland, bounded on three sides by the Atlantic, offers a visitor a full range of breathtaking sights, experiences and activities. Even a short drive across Connemara will delight you with its unspoilt beauty: majestic mountains, mist-covered lakes, rugged coastline and picturesque villages are all there waiting for you. Frequent changes of weather are reflected in the lakes and mountains - they may look serene and tempting when bathed in the sun but hostile and sinister with clouds hanging low over them.
We saw only a small part of this wonderland, but it was enough to fall in love. The part we explored, mainly on foot, is the region of Killary Harbour. We took a fantastic walk along Killary Fjord, the only fjord in Ireland. On that day we weren't lucky with the weather again. It was drizzling so after a few hours we were wet through, yet I recall it as one of our best trips. Even the slippery paths and walking through bogs in squelching boots didn't manage to deprive us of the feeling of sheer joy and excitement. After some time we learnt to step onto the grass rather than on the boggy path, which made walking more strenous, but 'less wet'. On the way we met hardly anyone - it was just us, a few sheep and nature.
Throughout the entire island of Ireland there are sceneries which are quite like natural wonders. Connemara is something special.
Connemara is located on the area of County Galway and in the southern part of Co. Mayo in the western Ireland and has some real special scenery. Connemara is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by Lough Corrib, which is largest lake in the republic of Ireland. Connemara is dominated by the rocky mountain range known as the Twelve Bens.
This is also where you'll find Irelan'd only fjord and one of Ireland's 5 national parks: Connemara National Park which covers 2000 km2 of mountain countryside. It is open from May to the end of September.
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.
Connemara is the name of a region consisting of a large portion of County Galway. It is one of the most scenic regions of Ireland and a drive through (if not a longer stay) is highly recommended if you are near Galway. The northern portion of Connemara is one of Ireland's six national parks. Connemara is also a "Gaeltacht", meaning Irish Gaelic is the primary language spoken here. The residents might speak English too... or they might not.
to enjoy every meter of your tour through grandiose IRELAND....
You can make reservations (wich is cheaper especially when you do it at the same time you book your flight or......just rent one at the AIRPORT where several well known names are represented: Herz, Avis etc......
Ireland is a country that begs to be toured from north to south and from east to west!!
I definately would feel lost and miserable without a car!
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.