Top 5 sights in Connemara

photo by Mike Searle

The northwest region o County Galway is home to a place that many people consider to be the most beautiful in Ireland, and perhaps even beyond. Connemara can only be described as a magical place with a scenery right out of a storybook, with craggy mountains and soft clouds, gentle windswept plains covered in wildflowers and fields marked by painstakingly built stone walls. It’s Connemara’s sheer natural beauty which makes it such a unique place, but not all of the attractions on the peninsula are a result of luck. Several of the sights in the region, many of which are in the top 5 sights in Connemara, are manmade. Take a tour of the peninsula, and marvel at its amazing attractions.

Kylemore Abbey

There are lots of castles in Ireland, but Kylemore takes the cake both when it comes to natural setting, gardens and romantic architecture. Kylemore castle was inhabited by the family of a wealthy English politician, and in 1920 it was turned into an abbey for Benedictine nuns. The nuns established a boarding school and a day school which was closed in 2010, and today the abbey can be visited all year round.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park, located not far from Letterfrack, is the best place to take in the dramatic beauty of the peninsula. The 2000 hectares of mountains, heath and bog are home to some of the best natural sights in the region, the kind of places that you only get to see in postcards.

Glengowla Mines

Glengowla is a historic 19th century silver and lead mine, and it is also the only visitable mine in Ireland. The mine itself is not exactly what you’d call picturesque, which is why the materials extracted from it seem all the more beautiful. You can learn about the methods of extraction, the tough lives of the miners, and you’ll be taken to the bowels of the mine and see some of the stunning mineral formations which are still left.

Patrick Pearse’s Cottage

This small cottage overlooks an idyllic landscape of lakes and mountains, and it’s one of those places that make you wish to move to the countryside for good. It belonged to Patrick Pearse, the famous leader of the 1916 rising, who used it as a home in summer and as a summer school for his pupils.

Aughnanure Castle

photo by photo by Arnold Unterholzner

This bleak 15th century fortress was the home of the ‘Fighting O’Flahertys’ who ruled the region in the past after pushing back the Norman invaders. The castle is interesting for its historical value (the banquet room, the tower and the double bawn are particularly impressive), and it is also known to be the roosting place of some rare bat species.

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