Galway City and Inishmore are just the tip of the iceberg when seeing Galway County … the best part, but just the tip. This blog talks about some Galway County sightseeing options that can be added to your itinerary if your holiday schedule allows additional time and the options match your interests. Some of them may even be on the way to your next destination.
The complete list of additional Galway County sights would be extensive, but I’ve tried to limit the list to my top 4 or 5. As I have done before, I’ll try giving you the background info for visiting these sights and links for more info.
My favorite for this list is Kylemore Abbey, one of the mostly widely photographed sights in Ireland. The center piece is a family country house (think Downton Abbey) surrounded by beautiful grounds and a walled Victorian Garden. Depending on your interest, Kylemore Abbey is a great way to spend an hour or a day.
Tours are held every few hours and occasionally free concerts are held in the mausoleum chapel. The tea room is a great place for lunch or an early dinner and serves some of the produce and jams from the grounds.
Killary Fjord Mussel Farm
The Abbey has no accommodations, so you would need to stay in Letterfrack or Leenane if you wanted to stay nearby although there are a few B&B’s along the way to each.
Leenane and Killary Fjord are a special place for Irish History and culture; and is a great place for experiencing the Irish outdoors. A fascinating boat tour of the Fjord is run a few times a day during the “season” (April to the October bank holiday) that provides stunning views, a close up look at salmon and muscle farms, and a little pre-famine history. There are several festivals each year including the walking festival. Kayak’s and bikes can be locally rented.
When looking for information online, you will need to deal with the inconsistency of Irish spelling. It’s either Leenane or Leenaun, and there may be other spellings.
My favorite places to stay in Leenane are:
The Convent - A quaint converted convent with the breakfast room in the old chapel. A great B&B experience.
Leenane Hotel - Typical Irish country hotel. A good restaurant and a great pub with weekend music.
Rooms with a great view of the Fjord are available.
My favorite place to eat in Leenane is the Blackberry Restaurant; IMHO the mussels are the best in Ireland.
Connemara National Park and the whole Connemara region are known for the scenery, the views, and the hiking and cycling. The park has several hiking trails that are of various difficulties and lengths.
Cong is a small little village that is best know as the location of several scenes in the Quiet Man Movie of the 60’s. In addition Cong contains the Cong Abbey and Ashford Castle. For those with a few extra … maybe a lot of extra euros, Ashford Castle is a great place to stay. Don’t have the extra Euros, there are plenty of B&B's in the area. The Cong Abbey is sprawling abbey ruins that are well worth the time to explore.