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Parks & nature in Connaught

“Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980. Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purpose.”
81 locals recommend
Scenic Viewpoint
“Spectacular cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. One of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions.”
73 locals recommend
“At Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden, there is so much for all the family to enjoy. Visit the restored rooms of the Abbey and learn about its history of tragedy, romance, education, innovation, and spirituality. Explore the 6 acre Victorian Walled Garden with its delightfully restored garden buildings. Discover woodland and lakeshore walks that will take you on a beautiful journey through our 1,000-acre estate. The beautiful Gothic Church is a short walk from the Abbey, nestled nearby is the Mausoleum where Mitchell and Margaret Henry are buried side by side. Children will enjoy making a wish at the Giants Ironing stone. With great options for dining and shopping, we have all you need for the perfect Connemara day out.”
45 locals recommend
Tourist Information Center
“The Visitor Centre in Corrofin has a great exhibit on the natural history of the Burren and from here you can get a shuttle bus into the National Park. The centre also has lots of information on walking routes in the park and the shuttle bus links to the walks.”
70 locals recommend
“The Aillwee Cave is one of the many caves beneath the Burren. It was formed by glacial melt waters that seeped through the cracks in the limestone pavement during an early ice-age. It is the oldest cave in the Burren at 1.5 million years old, and boasts some of the most spectacular stalactites and stalagmites in Ireland . The powerful flow of these melt waters eroded through the rock, forming a subterranean river. Since the last ice-age, this river has subsided, leaving in its place one of Ireland ’s most spectacular caves. The largest area in the cave is known as The Highway, which is located at the centre of the cave. The cave was inhabited by animals for thousands of years before it was discovered by man. Hibernation pits dug out by bears were found in the cave, as well as bones of a brown bear. Bears are no longer found in Ireland , and have been extinct here for over 1,000 years. ”
46 locals recommend
“Marble Arch Caves and Global Geopark. A guided 75 walk through one of Europes Exquiste show caves. There is an ongoing programme of events that take place in the Geopark - Fossil fun days, heritage trails, guided walks and scavenger hunts.”
19 locals recommend
Perfume Shop
“We make perfumes and cosmetics using natural and organic ingredients. We take our inspiration from the landscape around us. Everything is made by hand, on site, in the Burren. We have a free audiovisual presentation on the flora and fauna of the Burren for you to enjoy when you visit. Relax in the rose-covered Tea Rooms, which serve a mouth watering selection of organic cakes, scones and pies. Homemade soups with freshly baked bread, selections of local cheeses and salads all made with organic vegetables... ”
44 locals recommend
“The heritage town of Gort can be found in south County Galway, about 37km south of Galway city on the N18. Just outside the town of Gort, is where you’ll find the beautiful Coole Park, formerly the estate of Lady Gregory but now a 1,000 acre nature reserve. Coole Park estate was once the home of Lady Augusta Gregory who was pivotal to the Irish literary revival and was co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. Coole House was a focal point for many meetings about Irish literature which were attended by George Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge, Sean O Casey and William Butler Yeats. Coole Park was often referred to in stories and poems eg. W.B Yeats was so inspired by the beauty and tranquillity here that he wrote a poem called “The Wild Swans at Coole”.The most unique features of Coole Park are the turloughs (seasonal lakes or also called disappearing lakes) which are said to be the best examples of turloughs in the world. The park is situated on a low lying karst area of land and due to this the park has been designated a Special Area of Conservation. As you stroll around Coole Park you’ll see different types of animals and mammals in their natural environments. Coole Park is also an important sanctuary for birds especially winter waterfowl. At Coole Park you’ll also find a very informative and educational Visitor’s Centre, which is well worth a visit. Here you can see audio-visual presentations about Lady Gregory herself and you’ll also see some exhibitions telling the story and history of Coole Park. The park is open all year round and there is free admission to the grounds, so it’s a great day out for the family. There’s also a restaurant on site if you want to enjoy a wide selection of traditional Irish dishes. ”
30 locals recommend
“Beautiful old landmark in Westport worth a visit ,Lovely for children pirate park adventure games ”
23 locals recommend
Scenic Viewpoint
“No matter what the weather is like the waterfall will not disappoint, very dramatic after heavy rain. Also enjoy a lovely coffee or warming bowl of soup in the café.”
13 locals recommend
“The award-winning Doolin Cave and visitor centre is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding.”
25 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“Barna Woods (moss covered), mixed broadleaf woodland and last natural Oaks growing in West of Ireland, few min.walk from truly beautiful Silverstrand Blue Flag Beach on Galway/Barna boundaries.”
23 locals recommend
Historic Site
“Full evidence of communities living 5-6 thousand years ago. Architecturally Centre is similar to the Glass Triangle in the Louvre in Paris, this version rises out of the bog. Very good interpretive centre., great guided tours of the site. Fabulous drive to and from Westport”
17 locals recommend
“Closest National park/visitor centre (50mins drive) This is ideal for experienced walkers looking for a challenge, & complete wilderness ! It is one of the largest national parks. There is now a free bus service !!! so that You could walk all day accross to another side of the park and get a return bus back to the visitor centre. (Full details on their website)”
11 locals recommend
“Free Family friendly and more advances walking trails in a beautiful forest setting. Park benches and green areas on site ideal for picnics. 25 mins drive from The Calves Field. ”
17 locals recommend
“Set on a 50 acre organic farm of wildflower meadows, fairy woodlands, limestone and a disappearing lake, Burren Nature Sanctuary is an ideal introduction to the magical Burren landscape. Situated in the picturesque village of Kinvara along the Wild Atlantic Way Burren Nature Sanctuary is a hidden gem as you travel from Galway or Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. Visit the Botany Bubble home to the National Collection of Burren flora in season which showcases the unique and diverse Burren geology and flora where Alpine, Mediterranean, Arctic and tropical plants grow alongside native Irish wildflowers. Burren Nature Sanctuary has something for all ages. Find the fairy houses in the hazel woodland, meet the farm pets at feeding time, Burren mountain goats, donkeys, guinea pigs and rabbits. Solve the Bird Box Treasure Hunt or try the Burren Challenge Adventure play with zip wire, the indoor giant slide or soft-play area for toddlers. Explore the mile-long looped nature trail dotted with interpretive panels as it meanders through Burren habitats of karst limestone, ancient hazel and ash woodland. The orchid rich wildflower meadow grazed by Galloway cows and miniature ponies is home to majority of Ireland’s butterflies. The audio walking guide really brings the landscape to life. Discover fossils from ancient tropical seas in the limestone rocks formed over millions of years. Identify seasonal wild flowers growing in the spaces between the rocks. Stroll along the boreen, a grassy track lined with native Irish trees all the way to the turlough and unusual freshwater lake that disappears into limestone caves in time with the tides. Connect with nature, yourself and each other in the peace and tranquillity of this ancient landscape. Relax in the Sanctuary Café, enjoy freshly baked scones, tasty lunches and great coffee, our children’s menu offers no fizz, no fry and hidden vegetables. Browse the Avoca gift shop, local crafts.”
19 locals recommend