CONNEMARA COAST TOURING ROUTE
The Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500km touring route along the west coast of Ireland, is divided into six different regions, each of which has its own unique offering. In the salty fresh-air playground of the Bay Coast, which spans from Doran’s Point Discovery Point in County Mayo to Traught Beach on the south shore of Galway Bay, you’ll discover soaring hills sweeping down to a shoreline that’s laced with loughs, coves, beaches and islets.
You can gently explore this wonderful region by foot, car or bike, or if you’re feeling adventurous, embark on an outdoor watersports activity! Either way, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself giving in to the Wild Atlantic Way of life that encompasses the entire coastline. The area is also home to Connemara, an unspoilt terrain that Irish poet Oscar Wilde described as a “savage beauty”. From its many jutting peninsulas, you can gaze out at the area’s remote islands, some of which are inhabited, and positively steeped in mythology and culture. Intrigued? This one-day itinerary will give you a taste of all the magical Bay Coast has to offer…
STAGE 1: GALWAY CITY
Known as the ‘City of Tribes’, Galway is a vibrant place with plenty on offer to keep visitors entertained. Soak up some of the area’s rich medieval history on a walking tour; visit Lynch’s Castle, Eyre Square and the city’s iconic Spanish Arch. West of the River Corrib, you’ll discover more city landmarks, like the Catholic Cathedral and Gothic University Quadrangle. Afterwards, pop into Katie’s Cottage at the nearby Claddagh Art Centre for coffee and a tasty scone.
STAGE 2: GALWAY TO SPIDDAL
(17.9KM VIA R336)
The next stage of the tour will take you to Spiddal, 25 minutes away. On the way though, be sure to stop off at the Salthill Promenade, which offers fantastic views of the magical Aran Islands. When you get to Spiddal, visit the talented artists at An Ceardlann – Spiddal Craft and Design Studios. They’ll happily show you the pieces they’ve designed and created; from stained and fused glassware, baskets and pottery, to photography and T-shirt prints. When you’ve perused their wares, settle down for a delicious lunch at award-winning café and bakery, An Builín Blasta.
STAGE 3: SPIDDAL TO ROUNDSTONE
(94.5KM VIA R336 AND R340, VIA KILKIERAN, GLINSCE AND CASHEL)
From Spiddal, continue to make your way along the pretty coast to Roundstone (1hr 58mins). Here, you’ll visit bodhrán (Irish drum) maker Malachy Kearns’ workshop and retail centre. Watching him craft these unique pieces will give you an insight into the Wild Atlantic Way of life; especially as you chat to Malachy about his passion for Ireland’s rich traditional music heritage. He’s been making these drums for almost 35 years, and in fact, he made the bodhráns which feature in the much-acclaimed Riverdance show.
STAGE 4: ROUNDSTONE TO CLIFDEN
(22.6KM VIA R341 AND N59) AND DERRIGIMLAGH (8.6KM VIA R341)
Next up, it’s 31 minutes to Clifden. Full of quaint and quirky shops and restaurants, this town is known as the ‘Capital of Connemara’. After you’ve taken a relaxed stroll through its winding streets, make the 9-minute drive to nearby Derrigimlagh blanket bog. It’s one of Europe’s most magnificent wetland environments, and a place of wonder, innovation and daring. The bog boasts a rich archaeology, dating back over 6,000 years, but it also has a remarkable modern history. In the early 20th century, Derrigimlagh was at the centre of two outstanding transatlantic technological achievements: the first in communications, the second in transport, marking the beginning of an era of modernity.
The bog’s signposted 5km looped walk with its seven stop points will take you on a journey through the past, where you’ll discover commemorations to both of these outstanding achievements. First, you’ll see the remnants of the world’s first permanent transatlantic radio station, built by Guglielmo Marconi in 1907. You’ll also pass a memorial to Alcock and Brown; the first pilots to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. In 1919, the pioneering pair (safely) crash-landed in Derrigimlagh Bog, much to the bewilderment of locals!
STAGE 5: RETURN TO CLIFDEN
(8KM VIA R341)
Worked up an appetite? Well, you’re in luck! Clifden has a fantastic culinary reputation, with a whole host of cafés and restaurants serving up tasty fresh seafood. Relax and chat to friendly locals in one of its many fireside snugs afterwards; a perfect end to the day!
Come join us: www.thetourcreator.com
Tours Guided in Ireland