Villages in Connemara
Home to the Visitor Centre and entrance of the Connemara National Park, Letterfrack is also home to Connemara Community Radio, the Letterfrack Furniture College, and of course, The Bards Den Hostel, Bar & Restaurant. The village was founded by a Quaker community in the mid 19th century, but megalithic remnants of Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements point to occupation as far back as 5000 BCE.
Renvyle & Tully Cross
Augustus John described the Renvyle Peninsula, one of the most westerly points in Europe, as ‘the most beautiful landscape in the world’. Yeats, Gogarty, Oscar Wilde, and other artists and writers took inspiration from this landscape, as gloriously beautiful and enchanting now as it was then.
Films that borrow scenery from Renvyle include The Quiet Man, The Field, Tristan and Isolde, and The Seventh Stream. Ruined castles, ancient forts, and ecclesiastical remains dot the landscape, prized gifts from an epic past.
The capital of Connemara, Clifden Town was founded by John D`Arcy in 1812 and lies a 15-minute drive southwest of Letterfrack. Attractions include Clifden Castle, the aptly named Sky Road, the ruins of the Marconi wireless station, and the landing site of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock & Brown in 1919. Clifden also boasts several boutique shops and galleries, and is home to the Connemara Pony Show in August, as well as Clifden Arts Week in September.
A small fishing village west of Letterfrack, Cleggan is where the ferry to Inishbofin departs. He ruins of a 19th century watchtower built to guard against Napoleon’s forces stand upon a hill overlooking Cleggan Harbour, and offers spectacular sea views along the coast and toward the islands of Inishbofin, Inishark, and Inishturk. Dolphins and porpoises play in the sheltered waters along the coast and seals take time to sunbathe upon the shore.
A harbour village on Bertraghboy Bay that affords awe-inspiring views of the Twelve Bens across the bay, Roundstone was founded by Alexander Nimmo, who built its pier in 1822. Each July Roundstone hosts the Roundstone Regatta, where currachs and Galway Hookers race the waters of Connemara for glory and bragging rights. The village attracts artists, photographers, and film crews.
Leenane (or Leenaun) lies at the head of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, and on the border between counties Galway and Mayo. Mountains meet sea here in stunningly dramatic contrast. A centre for herring fishing in the 19th century, wool farming in the 20th century, Leenane and nearby Aasleigh Falls were also the main filming locations for Jim Sheridan’s 1990 film, The Field, starring Richard Harris, Sean Bean, and Tom Berenger.