Explore – Galway
Galway is a city, a county, and an experience to be savoured and remembered. There is a vibrancy to this friendly University City, which many delight in, and few forget. Music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants, shops, theatres and most of all Galway people, combine to create this atmospheric mediaeval city of culture. Galway Bay, immortalised in song, its beauty unchanging. Scenic Gaeltacht areas including the Aran Islands. Connemara, with the picturesque town of Clifden as its capital. Mountains, castles and stone walls, banks of turf, long sandy beaches, clear lakes, joyful leaping streams and flowing rivers. Delightful countryside punctuated by pretty villages, and traditional pubs.
Things to do
Here, on the very edge of Europe, are three Islands rich in the language, culture and heritage of Ireland, unique in their geology and archaeology and in their long tradition of gentle hospitality. Here is a place to sense the spirit of Gaelic Ireland, to touch the past, but with all the comforts and facilities of the present. The Aran Islands will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. These are islands of great peace and tranquility, but they are also an islands of great fun and activity.
From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog to the golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll know you’re in Connemara by the light that constantly changes the mood and tone of the landscape. Connemara has long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland.
Kylemore Abbey, located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara, Co. Galway, has been home to the Irish Benedictine nuns since 1920. The Benedictine nuns bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914, where they ran a boarding school for girls for over 300 years. They re-established the school here and it is still very much alive today. Set in the heart of Connemara, Kylemore Abbey shares its woodlands, lakes and rivers with a large variety of birds and animals. A trip to the West of Ireland is not complete without experiencing the beauty and tranquility of Kylemore Abbey and Gardens. Facilities at Kylemore include a visitor centre, an exhibition housed in the main reception rooms of the house and a video which takes the visitor through the history of the house and its occupants. The Visitor Centre and exhibition, Gothic Church and Craft shop are open all year.
Galway has a student population of approx. 12,000 attending the University and the Technical College. This continuous flow of bright, young undergraduates keeps the city colourful and alive during the Autumn, Winter and Spring months. In Summer the visiting population from every corner of the globe adds to the city’s mystique and wonder. Summer schools abound for foreign students and the chattering noise of different languages and dialects make this place seem like a microcosm of our world. The natives are friendly and welcoming and the visitor is greeted with a smile, if not a greeting. Buskers and musicians can be found on most street corners and it is rare to walk through the heart of the city and not hear the notes of a harp, accordion, guitar or fiddle. The Arts thrive in this bohemian city and music is its lifeblood. Rare is the pub or hostelry which does not have a music session going on and the spontaneity of someone pulling a tin whistle out of a pocket and launching into a tune makes music what it should be, a shared and wonderful experience.
5.The Corrib Princess
Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a cruise on board the luxurious Corrib Princess. The Corrib Princess sails from Woodquay in the heart of Galway city, along the famous Steamers Line, which is the lakes traditional trade route. The journey takes passengers along the majestic River Corrib and onto the lake providing visitors with unsurpassed views of the historic monuments and natural amenities that make this the most spectacular waterway in Ireland. The Corrib Princess takes you past castles and various sites of both historical interest and natural beauty. There is an abundance of wild life and the Corrib has a peace and tranquillity all of its own.
Film Location for ‘The Field’, Leenane offers relaxation for mind, body and soul. From spa centres to seaweed baths, you can be sure to be pampered during your visit to Leenane. Watch an unparalleled west coast sunset over a top quality dinner using locally sourced produce, sip Irish coffee on the deck of the Connemara Lady as you cruise the length of the Killary Fjord or just settle back in front of the fire in one of the local pubs and travel back to a simpler time with the laid back atmosphere of this unique location.
Places to Stay
Hidden Ireland Historic Country Guest Houses
Bed and Breakfast
Hidden among the trees, Ballinderry Park looks like a perfectly proportioned Palladian doll’ s house at ﬁrst glance. Ten years ago George and Susie Gossip bought this early Georgian building near the dramatic ruins of Kilconnell Friary and restored it lovingly. The result is authentic, comfortable and bright, with antique furniture, pictures, china and a profusion of books, all of whichmakes your stay there especially interesting and relaxing. George and Susie are very knowledgeable about food and wine, and delight in sharing their interests with guests. George is an accomplished cook who arranges a series of residential cookery demonstrations throughout the year. His winter game cookery weekends are legendary.
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Emlaghmore is a small, Georgian ﬁshing lodge, beside the Atlantic in a wild and beautiful part ofWest Connemara. All bedrooms have magniﬁcent views of rivers, lakes, mountains or the sea. Emlaghmore is renowned for offering its guests a superb culinary experience, including the ﬁnest and freshest of local meat and seafood. Your host, Nicholas Tinne, owned and ran Dublin’ s famous Snaffles restaurant formany years. He is a superb raconteur with many interesting stories of Connemara and its people. Nearby are the Connemara National Park, the magniﬁcent Kylemore Abbey and the pretty ﬁshing village of Roundstone.
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The Quay House
Perched on the edge of Clifden Harbour, the Quay House is just minutes from the centre of this vibrant, engaging town. Dating from 1820, it is Clifden’s oldest house, originally built for the harbour master. It later became a Franciscan monastery and, subsequently, a convent. The present owners are Paddy and Julia Foyle, whose family have been involved in tourism in the region for almost a century. They are constantly on hand to share their suggestions of what to see and do. The also preside over the ﬁnest of breakfasts–the perfect start to a day exploring Connemara.
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An early Georgian house tastefully restored and romantically situated in a secluded private estate overlooking Lough Cime. Only 20 minutes from Galway city this manor House is a great choice for the discerning visitor to the west of Ireland.
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Lisdonagh Gate Lodge
This tastefully restored and comfortable Victorian gate lodge stands in a secluded arbor at the tree-lined entrance to Lisdonagh House. A marvellous location for touring the beautiful West of Ireland or visiting the city of Galway, less than 25 minutes away. Children and pets are welcome.