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 on the N59 road. The area is recognised worldwide for its rich landscape and heritage. Clifden has an impact on all who visit. It is a small town, with something to suit everyone.
Whatever your taste in a holiday, whether it’s a relaxing retreat or an action packed activity holiday, Clifden is an ideal spot to base yourself while exploring the region.
Families will enjoy visiting the many sandy beaches in the area and swimming in the crystal clear sea, or participating in the many adventure activities available locally. Couples, young or old will enjoy the beautiful walks in the area and relax afterwards with a Guinness or two in the many pubs. Although Clifden can be very popular, particularly in the summer months, there is always a relaxed atmosphere.
Clifden is renowned for its many restaurants to suit every taste and budget. The town offers a range of stylish restaurants and coffee shops – many of them award winners. The lively bars provide nightly traditional and modern music sessions throughout the year.
Take time out to visit the shops and experience the eclectic mix of the traditional shops and the modern stores that Connemara offers. The town also provides a full range of services – car repairs, bus services, beauty treatments, hairdressing, dry-cleaning, bicycle hire and financial services. There are a number of art galleries, library, cinema/theatre and a museum here too. It is easy to pass the time wandering in and out of the shops and having lunch or a coffee in one of the many popular eateries.
The town is always busy with festivals and various events, including music, heritage and adventure. The Annual Traditional Music Festival takes place each April and sees many musicians and dancers performing on the streets and in the local bars and hotels. Each May the Tour de Conamara cycling adventure departs and returns to Clifden. The well-known Clifden Connemara Pony Show which usually takes place on the third Thursday in August brings many visitors to the area. Clifden hosts the internationally recognised Clifden Arts Festival in September of each year which is always guaranteed to be very entertaining with well-known musicians, artists, poets, street theatre and much more.
Whilst in Clifden you will experience the world famous panoramic scenery. You can visit some of the renowned attractions such as the Connemara National Park, go day tripping to the islands, go deep sea fishing and see the dolphins. You can take one of the many guided hill walks available in the area, sunbathe on one of the beautiful beaches or swim in the sea. There are many walks, drives, and cycling routes in the area, all well signposted. 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.
If you are a fisherman, there is the Owenglen River and numerous lakes in the area where salmon and sea trout can be caught. All licenses and permits that you need can be bought locally. A number of sea angling charter boats work from Clifden harbour providing some of the best and most reliable sea angling in Europe.
Other local activities include sailing, canoeing, boat trips, windsurfing, kayaking, pony trekking, guided walks, and lots lots more!
Bike rental is available in the town for those who wish to explore the area in detail, at their own pace. Bring a picnic, you are sure to find a scenic spot to take a break.