The charmingly down-to-earth village of Oughterard (Uachtar Árd) sits on the shore of the Republic's biggest lake, Lough Corrib. Over 48km long and covering some 200 sq km, the lake virtually cuts off western Galway from the rest of the country and encompasses more than 360 islands.
Dotted with mussel rafts, long, narrow Killary Harbour is often referred to as Ireland's only fjord. Slicing 16km inland and more than 45m deep in the centre, it certainly looks like a fjord, although some scientific studies suggest it may not actually have been glaciated.
Situated 9km from the mainland, the tranquil island of Inishbofin measures just 6km long by 3km wide, and its highest point is a mere 86m above sea level. You can walk or bike its narrow, deserted lanes, green pastures and sandy beaches, with farm animals and seals for company.
Clustered around a boat-filled harbour, picture-perfect Roundstone (Cloch na Rón) is the kind of Irish village you hoped to find. Colourful terrace houses and inviting pubs overlook the shimmering recess of Bertraghboy Bay, which is home to dramatic tidal flows, lobster trawlers and traditional currach boats with tarred canvas bottoms stretched over wicker frames.
Letterfrack & Around
Founded by Quakers in the mid-19th century, Letterfrack (Leitir Fraic) is a crossroads with a few pubs and B&Bs. But the forested setting and nearby coast are a magnet for outdoors adventure seekers. A 4km walk to the peak of Tully Mountain (356m) takes 40 minutes and offers uplifting ocean views.
Lough Inagh Valley
Lough Inagh Valley's stark landscape is beguiling, with the moody skies reflected in the waters of loughs Derryclare and Inagh. The R344 enters the valley from the south, just west of the hamlet of Recess. On the western side is the brooding Twelve Bens mountain range.