At the Park House Hotel, we are always delighted to recommend great day trips from Galway city, it is such a joy to see guests arrive back to the hotel after a day’s touring with big smiles on their faces!
This drive is one of the best scenic drives Galway has to offer and forms a spectacular inland circuit of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second largest lake. You will be captivated by the ever-changing scenery, ruins, castles, sheep-lined roads and there are plenty of scenic walks, picnic spots, cycles and beauty spots for you to enjoy along the way. There are many great places to stop off and enjoy along the route, this is one of the most popular day tours from Galway with guests at the hotel.
Starting from Galway City, Lough Corrib covers an area of approximately 175 square kilometres and is surrounded by the villages of Headford, Cross, Cong, Maam Cross, Oughterard and Moycullen.
The loop drive is a total distance of 117 km with an approximate driving time of 2 hours, not including stops.
Map of Route
Located on a narrow strip of land between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, Cong is a beautiful traditional village famous for its association with the John Wayne classic movie, The Quiet Man. Also, the site of the magnificent Ashford Castle and the 12th century Cong Abbey, this village is steeped in history and a well-placed beauty spot in Galway. Moytura House was the summer home of Oscar Wilde’s parents and he is believed to have spent many childhood summer holidays in Cong.
The lands of Cong Forest were formerly part of the Ashford Castle Estate which were owned by the Guinness family until 1939. This is a very interesting site which combines some of the most scenic walks Mayo has to offer, historic buildings, forest and water. From the abbey grounds a footbridge spans the river, passing the Monks fishing house, built on a platform of stones over a small arch that creates a passage for water to flow under the floor. A trapdoor in the floor may have been used to allow a net to be cast in the river, and a fireplace kept the monks warm while they waited for their catch! The footbridge leads to the Cong Forest Nature Trail, one of the most scenic walks Ireland offers.
Clonbur and Corrib View
Past the pretty village of Clonbur, you will get the most stunning views of Lough Corrib on this most scenic drive in Galway. The green fields and stone walls drop down to the shimmering lake where it’s said there are 365 islands, one for each day of the year.
Maam & Maam Cross
Maam is a beautiful wooded townland on the banks of the lakes. The ancient woods give the place a magical feel, overshadowed by the Maamturk Mountains with their many ancient sites and ruins. Nestling in the shadows of Mount Leckavrea and surrounded by beautiful lakes, Maam Cross leads to the four quarters of Connemara. This is the heart of Connemara where you will find beautiful scenery and is without a doubt the location of some of the best walks Ireland has for you to experience.
Quiet Man Bridge
Built sometime in the late 1700s using local stone, this is one of the most photogenic locations from the 1952 movie, The Quiet Man. The location of the bridge affords excellent views of the surrounding mountains and is well worth a stop on one of the most scenic drives Ireland has to offer.
At Glengowla Mines and Family Farm Experience you can experience the Underground Mine Tour as well as Sheep Herding, Traditional Irish Turf Cutting Demonstrations and Guided Farm Walks making this attraction one of the best Galway tours. The former silver and lead mine closed in1865 but is now one of Ireland’s most interesting show mines. Pre-booked tours get a guided visit through the underground mine, demonstrations on the working farm of sheep herding and turf cutting.
Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard
About two miles outside Oughterard, Aughnanure Castle is an architectural marvel with six floors, a banqueting hall, an underground stream and a narrow spiral staircase accessing the upper chambers. The castle was gifted to the state in 1952 and is now a national monument and beloved tourist attraction in Galway, filled with features that tell the tale of life from bygone times.
The beautiful rural setting and stunning views of Lough Corrib make this a fabulous outdoor activity to put on the list of top things to do in Galway for animal lovers. The Newton Family take great pride in their family of dogs, chickens, pygmy goats and alpacas and love to introduce them to visitors to the farm. It is necessary to pre-book the Alpaca Walks and Alpaca Meet & Greet, both activities are perfect for anyone looking for a unique and fun activity in Galway.
An award-winning Garden and Celtic Heritage Centre just 20km from Galway city. The 4 main gardens represent Celtic fire festivals and are surrounded by meadows sown with native wildflowers, a lake, a fairy fort and native woodland paths. The Garden Café overlooks the gardens and serves freshly prepared food using the best local produce. There is also a gift shop with a great selection of Irish crafts, interesting books and many Celtic and Brigit-themed items.
Brigit’s Garden is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Galway and a wonderful activity for families on staycation in Galway.
More Connemara Attractions