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The Best Things To Do In Clifden Co Galway


Clifden is the main town in the Connemara region of Co Galway a base for many coming out west to visit this beautiful and wild area.

Popular summer destination with tourist and locals to see the unique landscape. Home to a lot great hikes, views and a huge amount of history.

Known for some great traditional Irish pubs,  traditional music and a region in Ireland where you would still hear the Irish language.


Clifden in Co Galway is located in Ireland’s way out west in the Connemara region.

Getting There

From Galway City to Clifden: Take the N59 road signposted to Clifden. Distance 80km.

From Dublin to Clifden: When coming from Dublin, take the M4 & M6 routes to Galway City. When you reach Galway City, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

From Shannon Airport to Clifden: When travelling from Limerick and Shannon use the M18 & N18 routes to Galway City. When you reach Galway City, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

From Knock Airport to Clifden: When leaving Knock Airport, take the N5 to Westport. When in Westport, take the N59 road signposted to Clifden.

Diamond Hill

Don’t be fooled by its nice name its a tough hike to the summit of Diamond Hill. But it well worth the final assault to see the views of the Connemara National Park and Valley, including the Twelve Bens and Kylemore Abbey. Clifden and the surrounding areas are known for being the best areas to hike in Co Galway.

Diamond Hill Clifden
Looking up at Diamond hill

Never fear though there are 3 other tracks for the less experienced hikers and even a track which is friendly for young children.

Diamond hill maps
Diamond Hill Maps

Be prepared wear comfortable appropriate shoes and check ahead for wind conditions. It gets very windy up Diamond Hill and especially with its location on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kylemore Abbey

One of the jewels in the Connemara region is Kylemore Abbey. One of the most picturesque and striking Manor Houses in Ireland.

The beautiful Kylemore Abbey

See the house, take the walks and  enjoy there extensive walled gardens.

Such a grand building and is known to be one of Irelands most photographic buildings.

Take note as we found out Kylemore Abbey closes January and February, so maybe check ahead if travelling off season.

Sky Road

A beautiful scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way. Catch some glorious views, and view some stunning coastal properties.

The Sky Road Clifden views
Looking over the Sky Road and the views

The route is a  circular route, with a distance of 16km from Clifden, onto the Kingstown peninsula, and back into Clifden.

map of the sky road
Sky Road Map

It’s on this scenic drive where you will find the Clifden Castle ruins and Abbeyglen Castle Hotel. (See below)

Clifden Castle Ruins

The Clifden Castle ruins is a old Manor House/Castle built in 1818 nestled in the hills of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Clifden Castle
What lies of the Clifden Castle

Enjoy the 1km windy walk through the countryside with great ocean views and rugged landscape before hitting the castle itself.

Clifden Castle walk
The walk down to Clifden Castle

As far as ruins go the Clifden Castle structure is very much in tact. See the towers and what use to and the huge courtyard at the back.

Live Music Lowry’s Bar

Lowry’s bar on the main street of Clifden is known for its great live music scene and has become an award winning pub in that category. Add to this the bars impressive selection of Gin’s and Whiskey’s it makes for a interesting night.

Lowrys pub
A look at the front of Lowry’s music bar

We settled in on a friday for a night of music and drinks and had ample fun. A little clip below shows the music on offer.

Live music at Lowry’s

Bog Walk

A bog Walk you may ask ? Well the story behind it is a interesting one.

This particular bog land is where pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crashed-landed in the bog in 1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight.

They landed close to a wireless telegraphy station which had been set up 14 years earlier by Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi. Today this bog location  is home to a memorial dedicated to the pair.

With it 5km walk its an area of beauty and a great look at the rugged Connemara landscape.

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Situated 2 minutes drive from the centre of Clifden is a 4 star rated converted castle and manor house one of many castle hotels in Co Galway. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel was built in 1832 by John d’Arcy the builder of Clifden Castle and founder of Clifden in 1812.

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel
Walking up to the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Following the death d’Arcy, his son Mitchen sold the property 1854, during the famine the castle laid derelict until 1969 when the castle was bought and the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel was formed.

Abbeyglen castle front
Helicopter at Abbeyglen Castle

Today the hotel is known to be  top getaway in the region with romantic breaks, weekend getaways with great food and full of history.

Visit The Boutique Shops

The two main streets of Clifden are lined with a variety of boutique shops. From gifts, art galleries, wine,books and local hand made products its a boutique shoppers dream. With no big chain shops in Clifden you really get amongst the Clifden locals in these places.

Where To Stay In Clifden

The Station House Hotel, situated just off the main streets in town. A hotel steeped on history as it used to be the old steam railway station.

Facilities include bar, restaurant, pool, spa, wellness center, cinema and a museum of the old Clifden steam railway which was once the sight of this hotel. (Note this museum is closed January and February)

Signal restaurant
Signal Restaurant

As well as well catered modern, stylish rooms. Well maintained, clean and comfortable.

Station house hotel rooms
Station House Hotel rooms

Add to all above its reasonable pricing and great location its the perfect location for any getaway.

Grab A Coffee In Clifden

12 Pins Coffee at the church end of the main street is a little boutique coffee shop with a great selection of small chocolate treats from the cabinet which you can see below.

Although 12 pins is not a dine in venue it’s great for a good quality grab and go.

A Great Lunch

Guys restaurant on the main street is a great spot to enjoy a wholesome lunch.

We enjoyed locally caught fish and handcut chips with fresh tartare sauce.

Guys restaurant Clifden
Fish and Chips at Guys restaurant

A further selection of great lunches large or small are available you can View there menu to see for yourself

A Laidbacked Dinner

The Signal Bar located in the Station House Hotel is a relaxed dining experience and one we had the pleasure of enjoying.

You can find out our review of the Signal Bar Here

And Finally

Check out more of our Wild Atlantic Way trips with our road trip to Doolin or our day out to Killala. With more to come soon so stay tuned.

You could also head on over to the Wild Atlantic Way website for some more options on these areas.

How far is Clifden from Galway ?

Clifden is 1hr 15 minutes from Galway city centre

Does Clifden have a train station

No it doesn’t Clifden is accessed by road

Is Clifden the largest town in Connemara?

It is and the biggest town in the Connemara region

By chalkandcheesetravels

We are adventure seekers who love to explore the world. So one day, we decided to write about it here is our story so far

26 replies on “The Best Things To Do In Clifden Co Galway”

There’s so much more to Ireland than one can imagine! Clifden looks stunning at every turn and corner, and the delicious meal at the end rounds off a successful day of hiking and exploring everything there is to be seen. 🙂

Clifden looks lovely and a great base with such gorgeous scenery and a wide variety of things to do in the region. We were based in Galway when we visited, so we did manage to drive out to the area but our visit was very rushed. I think we will have to return and explore at a more leisurely pace. Lowry’s bar looked great!

Connemara is a beautiful region. I would love to walk up the Diamond Hill, visit Kylemore Abbey again (we’ve been there a very long time ago), check out the castle ruins and finish the day at Lowry’s bar !

Clifden is so beautiful and charming! And so many cool things to do…I want to experience every single one. Adding this magical place to my list!

Fair play to for sticking with it even through grey skies it’s so well worth it especially in such beautiful corners of Ireland. We love 12 pins coffee always get some when we’re there. Aaaah you’re making me miss home!!

I’ve never heard of Clifden before, but it’s so beautiful! I’d love to see Kylemore Abbey and hear live music at the pub, they make me want to revisit Ireland again.

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