Local Attractions in Clifden
and The Connemara Region
Clifden is a town on the coast of County Galway, Ireland and being Connemara’s largest town, it is often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara”. It is located on the Owenglen River where it flows into Clifden Bay. The town is linked to Galway city by the N59 and is an excellent base for those touring Connemara.
History of Clifden
The town was founded at the start of the 19th century by John D’Arcy who lived in Clifden Castle (which is now a ruin that can be seen from the Sky Road west of Clifden). It is the birth place of Jon Riley, Saint Patrick battalion’s commander, who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War the 19th century.
Clifden gained prominence in the early 1900s when Guglielmo Marconi built his first high power transatlantic long wave wireless telegraphy station four miles south of the town to minimize the distance to its sister station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. At peak times, over 400 people had been employed by the Clifden wireless station, but none more famous than Jack Phillips, who later died as the heroic chief Radio Operator on the Titanic.
The Sky Road
The Sky Road in Clifden is one of the best tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. The circular route is 11km long and takes you out west from Clifden. The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins (Irish Na Beanna Beola) is a mountain range in Connemara in the west of Ireland, which is not to be missed by visitors due to its magnificent scenery.
Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths and grassland. The development of the Connemara landscape over 10,000 years is exhibited in the visitor centre with 3D models and large scale displays.
Ballynahinch Castle is steeped in a wealth of tradition and has been intertwined in the history of Connemara and its people for many centuries. From the days of the O’Flaherty Chieftains, to Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connemara, to Humanity Dick Martin, founder of the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and to H.R.H. the Maharajah Ranjitsinji, also known as the ‘Ranji’, Prince of Cricketeers.
Connemara Heritage Centre
The Connemara Heritage and History Centre (also called Connemara Heritage Centre) is an open air museum in the village of Lettershea, near the town of Clifden, County Galway, in the Connemara region of western Ireland. It was established in the late 1980s.
The centre’s attractions include audiovisual and history presentations, as well as outdoor exhibits including reconstructions of a crannóg, a ring fort, and a clochaun. Also on the grounds are the Dan O’Hara Homestead and pre-famine farm.