Where to go in Galway

Connemara

Connemara needs no introduction. Apart from its little ponies, woolly jumpers and leprechauns, the place is mostly famous for its remote and unspoilt mountains and beaches. The Twelve Bens and the Maam Turks, the two mountain ranges of Connemara, provide a perfect destination for the hill walker. However, be warned that, while they are only a few hundred meters high, the weather can make these peaks as treacherous as those of the Alps.

Technically the term Connemara is used to describe the peninsula between Killary Harbour and Kilkieran Bay. The name derives from the tribal name Conmacne Mara. 'Mara' means 'of the sea' in Irish: given the rugged landscape of the place, the ruling clans of Connemara lived as much from the product of the land as from that of the sea, and so you should you! So don't hesitate to visit the many wonderful and unspoilt beaches of Renvyle, Clifden, Ardmore, Letterfrack, etc. Most of them are safe for swimming and when the weather is good, you're in paradise.

The Arran Islands

County Galway features a diverse landscape. Its most southern part is very similar to neighbouring County Clare (which was historically part of the province of Connacht before being taken by Munster). The Arran Islands in particular, have more in common with the Burren of Clare than to the granite hills of Connemara. Inishmore (the great Island in Irish), Inishmaan (the middle Island) and Inisheer (the eastern Island) constitute a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay. They are one of the few remaining Gaeltacht areas, where Irish is still the predominant language.

The Arran Islands are a great touristic destination because they provide many attractions apart from their specific landscape features, including Iron Age forts and the O'Brien's Castle. They are also a great place for witnessing the original 'Irishness', from traditional music to traditional language and customs. The Aran Islands tourism was boosted in recent years by the hilarious television comedy Father Ted: Inis Mór hosts the Father Ted festival every year.

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