A romantic castle, a glacial fjord, a beautiful drive along the Wild Atlantic Way — these are all things you’ll find on a magical day trip to Connemara. You’ll drive along narrow, winding roads into the heart of Ireland’s Connemara region, known for its rich culture and preservation of Irish traditions.
You can book a guided day trip to Connemara, or you can use my itinerary below to create your own!
Connemara Day Trip Itinerary
The first stop on your tour as you’re heading out of Galway City is Salthill Promenade. This is a 2 km-long seaside walkway that runs from the edge of the city through the Salthill area.
Tradition dictates that you kick the wall at the end of the promenade for good luck; I highly suggest that you do so that you hopefully get some good weather for your day trip!
An Spidéal is the next stop on your tour. This seaside village is part of An Gaeltacht, a primarily Irish-speaking region.
So as you’re exploring the shops, the Gothic church, and the stone piers, you’ll hear many of the locals speaking Irish, and in the summer, the village is full of students studying the Irish language.
The highlight of this Connemara day trip (for me, at least) is Kylemore Abbey. The name Kylemore comes from the Irish An Choill Mhór meaning The Big Wood.
The castle was built by Mitchell Henry for his wife Margaret in 1867. Their lavish new home contained 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room, offices, domestic staff residences, gardens, walks, and woodlands covering 13,000 acres of land. It all cost a little over £18,000.
You can tour the ground floor of this fairy tale castle; the rest of the Abbey is a private residence for the nuns that look after it. On the castle grounds, you can explore the beautiful Gothic church and the astounding walled gardens.
After exploring Kylemore Abbey, you can take a quick stop at Killary Fjord, a lake created by glaciers during Ireland’s ice age.
This quick stop offers picturesque scenery, and the fjord also creates a natural border between County Galway and County Mayo.
Most people will know the town of Cong as the place where the movie The Quiet Man was filmed.
Ashford Castle, which was built by the Guinness family and has since been turned into a beautiful luxury hotel, is located nearby.
And in Cong, you can even stand in two counties at once!
Read next: An Amazing Cliffs of Moher Day Trip
Ready to visit Connemara, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Galway using Booking.com.
- Get a Guide Book: Check out the guide books from Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, or Rick Steves for in depth info about traveling to Ireland.
Have you taken a day trip to Connemara? Let me know in the comments!