Top Things To Do Outdoors in Clifden, Connemara
The weather in Ireland can be a bit unpredictable which is why Irish people all love talking about the weather. Conversations with complete strangers in Ireland about our changeable climate have been known to end in lifelong friendships!
Whether you wake up to a beautiful sunny day all ready to take in the outdoors, or a gentle mist of cloud and rain, the Alcock and Brown have put together a list of things that will help you navigate Clifden, Connemara while making the most of your holiday.
Things to do outdoors in Clifden
1. Sky Road, Clifden
The Sky Road in Clifden is one of the best tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. The circular route is 11km long and takes you out west from Clifden. Simply put, the scenery along the Sky Road is stunning. Very few places in Ireland can match the rugged beauty and range of scenery that can be seen from the Sky Road. The route is well signposted from Clifden and easy to find. Our helpful staff will be delighted to point you in the right direction when setting off from the Alcock and Brown hotel.
2. Beach Road Walk
A local favourite, the Beach Road is one of the most peaceful and serene walks in Clifden. Instead of taking a right at the fork toward the Sky Road, take a left, this will lead you down toward Clifden harbour. Follow the road until you reach the Boat Club or take a right a little before to head up onto the Sky Road or go back to Clifden. Again our staff at the Alcock and Brown will help point you in the right direction!
3. Clifden Castle
Located a few minutes drive or a lovely 30 minute walk from the Alcock and Brown Hotel, Clifden Castle was built by John d'Arcy in a Gothic Revival style in the 18th century, about 1750. The house was only lived in for about 90 years before it was abandoned in the 1840's. Few photographs remain of this one time noble house but they can be seen in some of the local history books or in the town's library. Just ask for them.
The house fell into ruin and was stripped bare of anything that could be sold by the locals in order to feed themselves during the famine years of the 1840’s.
One of the interesting features of this property are the standing stones. D'Arcy had these stones erected to mimick other standing stones around Ireland. Today little remains of the house but its shell. You can walk through the house through an entrance through the back "garden", as the front entrance is inaccessible because of a steep drop into the structure.
For directions on how to get to Clifden Castle from the Alcock and Brown Hotel click here
4. John D’Arcy Monument
A sign just outside Clifden, points up a hill to the John D’Arcy Monument. This eye-catching monument acts not only as a memorial to John D'Arcy the founder of Clifden but also as a focal point for visitors and locals people to observe the town and its setting within the wider landscape of Connemara, affording breathtaking views of the mountains, bogs and the coastline. The contrast of the local granite and non-local limestone is interesting.
5. Kylemore Abbey
Located less than 20 minutes drive away from the Alcock and Brown Hotel in Clifden, Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden is the ideal destination for a day out in majestic Connemara at any time of year. The dramatic landscape and iconic image of a gothic castle reflected in a Connemara lake has made Kylemore Abbey world-famous and it is now the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland.
The Benedictine nuns invite visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the Abbey's restored rooms, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house. Learn of the tales of tragedy and romance, the engineering initiatives, model farms, royal visits and the Abbey's former role as a girls boarding school.
Kylemore’s many nature trails, woodland walks and the magical award-winning walled garden offer a wonderland to explore. Discover the Victorian heritage of the walled garden, where only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown. ) Enjoy refreshing walks and scenic views as every season has something different to offer at Kylemore. For directions on how to get to Kylemore Abbey from the Alcock and Brown Hotel click here.
6. Real Adventures Connemara
Real Adventures Connemara provide a wide range of fun outdoor activities in Connemara Co. Galway. Choose from coasteering, kayaking, surfing, rock climbing or hill walking.
Real Adventures goal is to provide an environment where visitors will encounter exciting experiences in the outdoors, guided safely by highly qualified staff. As part of your experience you will be taken off the beaten track and shown the wild and wonderful parts of Connemara that many never get the chance to see. For more information contact Real Adventures Connemara here (Link to them) or check out the special winter packages with the Alcock and Brown and Real Adventures here.
7. Errislannan Riding Centre & Connemara Pony Stud
Errislannan Manor Riding School is on Errislannan Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland, four miles (6.5Km) south of Clifden. What better place to take a ride on a Connemara Pony than in the county that gave it its name! The reassuringly solid and mild-mannered ponies are a joy to ride and riders will quickly bond with their new friend as they are taken on a journey through some of the most scenic places on earth courtesy of the excellent Errislannan Riding Centre and Connemara Pony Stud in Clifden, County Galway. Errislannan Riding Centre gives lessons in their popular sand arena, suitable for five year olds to adults. To make sure everyone gets due attention, the classes have a maximum of eight participants, so riders are advised to book early. If riders are looking for something a little more challenging, then they can try their cross country course. Its stone walls and fences are all sized for ponies.
8. Connemara Walking Centre
The Alcock and Brown Hotel in the centre of Clifden is an ideal base to explore the rugged beauty of Connemara. Walk Connemara offers guided walks, trekking, hillwalking, hikes and walking tours in Connemara, Co Galway, Co Mayo and along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way in the West of Ireland. These are provided by Paul Phelan, a qualified mountain leader and experienced local walking guide and author of “Connemara and Mayo - a Walking Guide” published by the Collins Press in 2011.
Walk Connemara also offers guided walks for individuals or small groups who can join a scheduled walk. You will join a group with other people for your guided walk, hill walk, hike or trip. Scheduled walks normally cost in the range of about €25-70 per person (island trips and some special hikes are more expensive). View the Scheduled Walks page for a calendar of walks, hikes and Island trips that individuals or small groups can join. For details on Walk Connemara please click here. Our staff at the Alcock and Brown are also on hand to help you plan your walking trip in Connemara.
9. Scuba Dive West
Located only 30 minutes drive from the Alcock and Brown Hotel in Clifden, why not bring the family on a water adventure of a lifetime!
Scuba Dive West offers a choice of snorkeling or diving for all levels from beginners to experienced, and offers a range of snorkeling and dive sites from sheltered bays to wreck diving.
Snorkeling is simple, fun, inexpensive, has no age barriers and can be experienced nearly anywhere. Snorkeling allows you experience the beauty of the Atlantic ocean and is a really fun holiday activity. Scubadive West conducts Discover Snorkeling all year-round; it is particularly popular in the warmer summer months.
PADI diving courses on offer cater for ages 11 and up and for experienced divers, boat and wreck diving trips are on offer.
Why not spend a couple of hours learning how to dive along the Wild Atlantic Way. Call 095-43922
10. Hazelwood Pitch and Putt
Located only a few minutes drive from the Alcock and Brown Hotel, Hazelwood Pitch and Putt is 9 hole 3 par golf course nicely embedded in the landscape and very well prepared. It offers a lot of fun for people who want to find out what golf playing is about. And offers a great day out for all the family. Contact Hazelwood Pitch and Putt on (087) 603 3090.
11. Glass Bottomed Boat Tour
Located only a 20 minute drive from the Alcock and Brown Hotel, Why not take the family on a trip on Irelands ONLY glass bottomed boat tours!
See the underwater world as only seen before by divers with commentary provided throughout the tour. Lower tides are required for the best underwater views so please enquire beforehand, particularly as boat trips may be weather dependent. For more information please visit http://www.discoverireland.ie/Activities-Adventure/letterfrack-bay-water-tours/45212