Five Day Tour of Galway Connemara & Donegal
(Day 1) Dublin - Bunratty Castle - Cliffs of Moher - Galway City
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built-in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th-century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th-century life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting.
The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare. The Cliffs rise to 702 feet (214 m) at their highest point and range for 8 km (5 miles) over the Atlantic ocean. The sheer scale and dramatic impact of the cliffs never cease to amaze and delight in equal measure. The Cliffs are part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, a special region with outstanding geology.
Poulnabrone Dolmen Poul na Brone Dolmen is the Burren’s most famous archaeological monument and is regarded as the finest example of Megalithic tombs in Ireland.
In fact, there is a wealth of remains from ancient civilizations in the Burren that excites the historian and archaeologist. It was excavated in 1986 and the remains of 33 people were discovered some dating back to 3800 B.C.
Galway City originally formed from a small fishing village located in the area near the Spanish Arch called ‘The Claddagh’ where the River Corrib meets Galway Bay. Galway later became a walled town in the year 1232 after the territory was captured by the Anglo-Normans lead by Richard De Burgo. The town walls, some sections of which can be seen today near the Spanish Arch, were constructed circa 1270. A charter was granted in 1396 by Richard II which transferred governing powers to 14 merchant families, known locally as the 14 tribes of Galway.
(Day 2) Galway - Clifden- Sky Road - Kylemore Abbey - Cong Village.
Clifden, the largest town in Connemara, is nestled between the Twelve Bens mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, at the mouth of Clifden Bay. It is located 50 miles from Galway city. The area is recognised worldwide for its rich landscape and heritage.
The Sky Road is a well-known walking/cycling/driving route and when you get to the viewing point at the top of the Sky Road you will see why. You will be met with a panoramic view of the coast, the ocean and the islands. Also along the Sky Road is the ruins of Clifden Castle which was the home of John D’Arcy, the man that founded the town.
Kylemore Abbey and its Victorian Walled Garden. It is located just one hour from Galway and is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. Kylemore Castle was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry MP, a wealthy businessman, and liberal politician. Inspired by his love for his wife Margaret, and his hopes for his beloved Ireland, Henry created an estate boasting ‘all the innovations of the modern age’. An enlightened landlord and vocal advocate of the Irish people, Henry poured his life’s energy into creating an estate that would showcase what could be achieved in the remote wilds of Connemara. Today Kylemore Abbey is owned and run by the Benedictine community who have been in residence here since 1920.
Cong is a small village in south Mayo famous for its 12th-century abbey, the lavish gold and silver processional Cross of Cong from 1123, the magnificent Ashford Castle, the village’s links with Oscar Wilde and, most popularly, its association with the John Wayne classic movie, The Quiet Man.
(Day 3) Ballintubber Abbey - Carrowmore - Mullaghmore - Donegal.
Ballintubber Abbey is an abbey two kilometres northeast of the village of Ballintubber that was founded by King Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair in 1216.
Despite being suppressed and damaged during the Protestant Reformation, the roofless abbey continued to be used throughout penal times by Catholics. In 1966, the nave was restored and re-roofed in time for the 750th anniversary of the abbey’s foundation.
Carrowmore is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country’s oldest, with monuments ranging from five thousand to five thousand eight hundred years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. A restored cottage houses an exhibition relating to the site.
Donegal town at the mouth of the River Eske, in northwest Ireland. Originally built in the 15th century, Donegal Castle has later additions from the Jacobean period. The Four Masters Memorial obelisk honours 4 scribes from the nearby Franciscan friary, now in ruins. Donegal Railway Heritage Centre hosts rail memorabilia in an old station house. Donegal Bay is home to a seal colony, plus cormorants and cranes.
(Day 4) Donegal Castle - Slieve League - The Glenties - Derry Walls.
Donegal Castle Built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th-century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O’Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.
Slieve League or Slieve Liag, is a mountain on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal. At 596 metres, it has some of the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland. Although less famous than the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Slieve League’s cliffs reach almost three times higher.
Derry, also known as Londonderry, is a city on the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. It’s known for the intact 17th-century Derry’s Walls with 7 gates. Within the walls, spired St. Columb’s Cathedral displays artifacts from the 1688–9 Siege of Derry. Near the Peace Bridge, the Tower Museum has city views and historical exhibits. Huge stained-glass windows adorn the neo-Gothic red sandstone Guildhall.
(Day 5) Derry - Giant's Causeway - Ballintoy - Rope Bridge - Dublin.
Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles northeast of the town of Bushmills.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust.