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The name Connemara (Conamara) translates as 'Inlets of the Sea' and the roads along the peninsula's filigreed shoreline bear this out as they wind around the coves of this breathtaking stretch of Ireland's jagged west coast.

From Galway city, a slow, shore-side route passes hidden beaches and seaside hamlets. At the start of the Gaeltacht region, west of Spiddal, the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic, with parched fields rolling to fissured bays.

Connemara's starkly beautiful interior, traversed by the N59, is a kaleidoscope of rusty bogs, lonely valleys and shimmering black lakes. At its heart are the Maumturk Mountains and the pewter-tinged quartzite peaks of the Twelve Bens mountain range, with a network of scenic hiking and biking trails. Everywhere the land is laced by stone walls.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Connemara.