West Ireland tourist information
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The West of Ireland comprises the counties of Roscommon, Galway and Mayo. This is
Ireland at its wildest and most romantic, and includes the beautiful region of Connemara,
land of legends and mystery.
South of Galway City the land is gentler. Pretty Kinvarra sits on the southern shore
of Galway Bay, while further up the coast is Clarinbridge, famous world-wide for
its oysters. Gort is a convenient centre for exploring both Galway and the Burren
in County Clare, whilst 25 east of Galway City is Loughrea, providing excellent
fishing and numerous golf courses.
Galway City might be lacking in sights, but it more than makes up for it in terms
of atmosphere and a lively environment, with traditional music pubs next door to
chic nightclubs and enormous bars. A day at Galway Races is a real treat, and the
city boasts its own seaside resort at Salthill.
17 miles north-west of Galway is the market town of Oughterard, gateway to Connemara
and main centre for enjoying the fishing, boating and beaching on Lough Corrib.
Connemara is a land of misty mountains, countless loughs and a deeply indented coastline.
The scenery will always delight, whether you choose to spend time in the settlement
of Carna Bay in the south, or in Roundstone fishing village from where you can walk
to the Isle of Inishnee, or in beautiful Cashel Bay.
Inland, drive from Ballinafad's salmon river and lakes via lovely Lough Inagh
to the Kylemore Pass with its lonely Abbey. Bustling Clifden is the main town in
Connemara, and is the perfect centre for exploring the area.
County Mayo is less well-known than Galway, but offers equally dramatic scenery,
and a better chance of escaping from the tourist trail. Westport is perhaps the
best known town, a fishing harbour surrounded by great beaches and well-known for
an authentic Irish music scene.
Achill Island, off the west coast of Mayo but joined to it by a road bridge, is
genuinely remote. Keel boasts some gorgeous, all but deserted beaches.
Castlebar, the county town, is a good central location for exploring Mayo. Ballina
is famous as an angling centre, and is the starting point for the North Mayo Sculpture
Trail. Charlestown is on the border with Sligo and close to Roscommon, so an ideal
spot for touring this area.
Roscommon County is more rural in nature, and offers excellent fishing, especially
in the east, where Rooskey on the Shannon is well-placed to cater for the angler.
Roscommon town is worth a stop-over, with its Castle and Dominican Priory. The River
Suck Trail is nearby.