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Some might be familiar with mysterious term Connemara others might even know it’s a place in Ireland. Only a few experienced its unbounded beauty.  If anyone would ask where to go to get quintessence of Ireland we say Connemara National Park. Condensed on relatively small area authentic and rural as well as wild and dramatic – that’s what you can expect here.  We will share our experience from visiting Connemara National Park below.

Lake Corrib

In Oughterard (please don’t ask how to pronounce lol) we took a turn signposted as view point Glenn and we reached Lake Corrib shore.  Short stop there wasn’t really planned. There was a morning fog lifting from water surface unveiling many little islands located on the lake. If lake Logh Ness is a similar sight we can understand where the legend of a monster comes from… Fog even on a sunny morning gives mysterious vibe. Corrib is the largest Irish lake with hundreds of islands rising from the water. We came back there for a sunset hoping for a softer light but we have to admit it was much more impressing during the morning.

corrib lake connemara national park

Killary Fjord

First planned stop was the best known Irish fjord – Killary Fjord.  We reached Leenaun town taking the R336 exit off N59. You can hardly miss the turn. Surrounding hills aren’t as high as you might know from Norwegian fjords, but you can’t say it’s not impressing and charming sight. We didn’t take any boat tour and headed up Kylamore Abbey going along fjord scenic road.

killary fjord connemara national park

Kylamore Abbey

Kylamore Abbey located by a lake makes a huge first impression especially seen from a distance.  History of a building is quite interesting. English couple under the name of Henry spend their honeymoon in Connemara. Felt in love with a place so much they decided to built a castle which took 4 years to complete. Next owner had to sell the castle to cover his gambling debts and it was taken over by nuns who transformed it to abbey and school at the beginning of XX century. There is a little Gothic church nearby built by Mr Henry as a mausoleum for his wife who died early. Inside the castle there are 2 rooms made available to visit.

There is a shuttle bus bringing visitor to Victorian walled garden just over kilometer away. With such weather we felt like on holidays in Tenerife not in Ireland. The cost of visit was 13 Euros per person, but it was money well spent. We also had a little snack in a garden cafe.  Piece of homemade ham & cheese quiche as well as rhubarb & strawberry crumble was a treat. Crumble was covered in warm custard sauce which doesn’t look appealing on the photos but it was a pure delight.

kylamore abbey connemara national park

Connemara National Park

We drove thru Letterfrack where entrance to Connemara National Park is.  There are lot of peat bogs around. Peat is being dug out, dried and used as a fuel for example to heat old style houses.

Right next to the Connemara National Park Visitor Centre, you’ll find the entrance to the trail leading to Diamond Hill. The longest route is approximately 7km and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to walk, making it suitable for beginners. It’s worth opting for the longest option because of the breathtaking views that unfold from the hill’s summit!


Wild Atlantic Road

We planned to do a loop along Sky Road to reach Clifden town. By mistake we took a turn into R379 and drove around little peninsula before entering the actual Sky Road. This road is a part of Wild Atlantic Way which in total is 2500 km along west coast. It was fortuitous mistake and we were blown away by scenery.

When Omey Island appears on the horizon we couldn’t believe it’s in Ireland! It was low tide when we got there and the Island was connected with a land and you could drive there. In a very short space of time high tide came and cut the Island off. You can check times for tides over here and we recommend it for everyone who plans to go there and doesn’t want to get stuck on the Island for 4 hours. While we were there high tide came almost 1 hour early for some reason and take few people by surprise. Locals who we met in local bar Sweeney’s seems delighted they have to spend few more hours in a pub.

omey island connemara national park

Sky Road and Clifden

Finally after all we hit the Sky Road.  As the name suggest road goes up all the way to view point – Sky Road Wild Atlantic View Point. It offers one of the best panoramic views and it’s really hard to describe, look at the pictures and you will know all about it.

We reached Clifden the capital of Connemara shortly after, little market town actually. There are 2 characteristic church spires towering above little houses, but unfortunately we don’t have a photo showing both of them. It was a short stop as we got hungry and planned to eat in Roundstone.

Road to Roundstone

On the way to Roundstone we did another loop by the coast. We didn’t expect to see anything else which could equate what we have encountered so far but what a surprise it was. This is Connemara National Park – pure beauty around every corner. By the way we stopped at Dog’s Bay where you can find long stretch of sandy beach.

We decided to eat in O’Dowd’s in Roundstone which is listed on 30 best Irish pubs by Michellin (we mention another pub of this list in here). We ordered fish platter and garlic bread. Grilled oysters and mussels were intriguing, but in general food was just ok. Now don’t get us wrong everything was fresh and nice but you would expect fireworks from one of the best pubs in Ireland. For example food in Vaughans Anchor Inn blew us away when we were visiting Cliffs of Moher. 

In the vicinity, there is also a beautiful white sandy beach called Ballyconneely Bay Beach. It’s easy to miss the path leading to it because the beach is not right by the road. That’s why it’s not as crowded!


Lake Derryclare

Golden hour was approaching fast so our last stop was Derryclare Lake. There is an Island with trees which you can see in every brochure advertising Connemara as tourist destination.

derryclare lake connemara national park

Connemara – Where to Stay and Eat?

We’ve already mentioned Sweeney’s Bar with its wonderful views, as well as O’Dowd’s, where you can enjoy delicious seafood. If you’re looking for something more casual, budget-friendly, and still delicious, be sure to check out Dooncastle Oysters Seafood Trailer, a food truck selling tasty seafood!

For accommodation, we recommend staying at The Olde Castle B&B, which is located in a beautiful spot a bit away from civilization. We suggest arriving a bit early and spending the evening on the bench outside the building. It’s the perfect place to unwind from the hustle and bustle, and they serve really delicious breakfasts included in the price!

connemara connemara national park
connemara pony


kylamore abbey


lough derryclare