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Best things to do in Western Ireland

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Ireland  /  Western Ireland

Top 15 things to do in Western Ireland

1. Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden, Kylemore

Founded by Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium during World War I, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden occupy the estate of a 19th century castle, built to house the family of a wealthy London doctor. Although large sections of the property remain closed to visitors, you can take a guided tour of its Gothic chapel, main hall, and walled garden, one of the last built in Ireland during the Victorian period. Intersected by walkways and manicured flowerbeds, the garden contains a series of greenhouses, two of which have been restored to their full Victorian glory. The estate also features a gift shop and three dining venues, including a traditional teahouse using nuns' recipes for cakes and scones, baked fresh daily.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $38 › Learn more about Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden

2. Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre, Galway

Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre encompasses diverse landscapes that include vast grasslands, dense woodlands, high mountain peaks, and swaths of bogs and heaths. Established in 1980, the park spans nearly 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) and contains several remnants of megalithic human civilizations, including 4,000-year-old tombs. A good pair of binoculars can open a window into the park's world of songbirds, which include meadow pipits, skylarks, chaffinches, robins, and wrens. You can begin your trek across the sprawling park at the visitor center, offering a brief introduction into the area's wildlife and geology. Guided nature walks, which depart from the center, cover rough and very boggy terrain, so dress appropriately if you choose to join in.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Tours from $82 › Learn more about Connemara National Park & Visitor Centre

3. Dun Aonghasa, Inishmore

Perched atop a cliff, Dun Aonghasa represents the most popular of the prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands. Walk from the nearby museum up to the fort and enjoy panoramic views from the 100 m (328 ft) cliff. Marvel at the three terraced walls and intricate defense system of stones called Chevaux de Frise. Archeological studies have revealed that the fort was built in the Iron Age, possibly as far back as 1100 BCE, though the triple-wall defenses were likely added around 500 BCE. The fort is named for a pre-Christian god or mythical king, Aonghus mac Umhor. Explore the history of this ancient monument, but take care when walking and climbing around the site, especially with children, as it can be slippery.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $143 › Learn more about Dun Aonghasa

4. Dublin:Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey, Wild Atlantic way and Galway

FROM $77
Admission to the state of the art Cliffs of Moher Visitor centre included. Spend a day on our Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin going from the east to the west of Ireland. Your unique Cliffs of Moher Tour will take you to Galway, the Wild Atlantic Way, The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh monastery, proper west of Ireland countryside and much much more. All entrance fees included.
Suggested duration: 12h 30min
Tours from $77 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Wild Atlantic Way, Galway

Stretching for 2,500 km (1,553 mi), Wild Atlantic Way passes through dozens of towns, attractions, and spots worth including on your itinerary. The route traverses the west coast of Ireland, with part stretching along the north and south coasts as well--nine counties and three provinces encompassed by this tourist trail include everything from County Donegal in Ulster to County Cork in Munster. Along the way, you'll be able to stop at nearly 170 points of interest to learn more about Irish history, culture, art, and modern way of life.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Tours from $40 › Learn more about Wild Atlantic Way

6. Quay Street, Galway

Explore Quay Street, one of the city's most lively and fun areas to see on foot. This street is one of many that stretch south from Eyre Square toward the Corrib. Take a stroll and admire the beautiful historic buildings, window-shop at one of many artisan boutiques, and people-watch from a café or restaurant. Don't miss a stop at one of the pubs along the way. This street is known for having some of the best nightlife in Galway because of its welcoming atmosphere.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Quay Street

7. Ireland's School of Falconry, Cong

Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Ireland's School of Falconry

8. Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Dublin

FROM $82
Join us on our Cliffs of Moher tour as we discover some of the most dramatic cliffs in Ireland. We take an unforgettable journey to the Wild Atlantic Way where you are rewarded with dramatic and breathtaking views that are nothing short of amazing. Along with your fellow travellers, discover the best of Ireland’s dramatic coastline including the Burren and the bohemian city of Galway.
Suggested duration: 13h
Tours from $82 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. The Lost Valley, Louisburgh

The Lost Valley offers a unique window into the cultural heritage of the west of Ireland. Suitable for all ages, pre-booked guided walking tours at a leisurely pace highlight the natural and cultural heritage in the valley. Visitors will experience scenery from pristine sandy beaches to waterfalls and woodlands on the slopes of Mweelrea (the highest mountain in Western Ireland) to unique views of Ireland's only fjord. Because the place was virtually inaccessible until a roadway was built in 1989, it has remained largely untouched since the villagers were evicted and driven out during the great famine of the mid 1800s. The tumbled down walls of their cabins, the multitude of potato plots they left behind, even the stones removed from the rocky soil remain in clusters, exactly as they left them, giving testimony to the hardships they endured. Now an active working sheep farm, the attractions allows visitors to experience life on the farm with pet lamb feeding and a working sheepdog demonstration in season on request. From its striking scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage to its insightful and interactive telling of life on the farm, both past and present, it proves to be an attraction like no other in all of Ireland and provides a uniquely unforgettable immersive experience that enriches all ages.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about The Lost Valley

10. Salthill Promenade, Galway

Lined by bars, restaurants, and hotels, Salthill Promenade stretches along Galway Bay. The "Prom," as the locals call it, is the longest seaside promenade in the country, attracting both casual strollers and long-distance joggers. You can reach the promenade from any part of the city in about five minutes by simply heading toward the water. As you walk or run along this sign-posted path, remember the local tradition that claims kicking the prom wall unfailingly brings good luck. Time your stroll or jog for late afternoon when the promenade becomes a prime spot for watching the sunset.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Salthill Promenade

11. Keem Bay, Dooagh

Escape the bustle of travel with a visit to Keem Bay, considered one of the most beautiful places in all of Ireland. Once the site of a basking shark fishery, the bay now serves as a great snorkeling spot with a Blue Flag beach--meaning it has met strict standards for water quality, safety, environmental education, and information. Historical and natural landmarks surround the bay itself, including an old British army lookout, a booley village (used in the summer to house young family members who bring their cattle to graze on the hillside), and Europe's highest cliffs in Croaghaun. There is little for food or drinks to purchase here, so consider bringing your own.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Learn more about Keem Bay

12. Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway

FROM $55
On your journey South to the Cliffs of Moher, listen to your expert driver/guide share the history of the Burren region, an area of exposed limestone terrain, jagged sea-side cliffs and rare flora. Explore a bay-side castle and discover the karst landscape inside the Aillwee Cave before arriving to the Cliffs of Moher. Feel a moment of magic as you stand atop these 700ft high, awe-inspiring cliffs. Following the featured stops of the journey, you'll travel back to Galway via the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route, offering many photo opportunities! **Please note that Aillwee Cave is currently closed. It will re-open on the 11th of February**
Suggested duration: 8h
Tours from $55 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Galway's Latin Quarter, Galway

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $9 › Learn more about Galway's Latin Quarter

14. Westport House, Westport

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $20 › Learn more about Westport House

15. Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Cong and the Kylemore Abbey

FROM $38
Discover the dramatic beauty of Connemara with its rugged wilderness, welcoming locals and historic treasures, on this full-day trip from Galway City. Traveling with an expert guide, your tour visits pretty Cong Village,Laugh Nafooey, Killary Fjord and must-see Kylemore Abbey.Entrance into Kylemore Abbey & Gardens is not included in the tour price and is an optional fee, (discounted entrance ticket can be purchased from your driver on the day of your tour). Spend time at leisure in these Irish gems and enjoy stunning scenery in between each visit.
Suggested duration: 8h
Tours from $38 › More about this tour at viator.com ›