Kylemore Abbey

Top choice in Connemara

Photogenically perched on the shores of Pollacapall Lough, 4km east of Letterfrack, Kylemore is a crenellated 19th-century neo-Gothic fantasy. It was built for a wealthy English businessman, Mitchell Henry, who spent his honeymoon in Connemara. Ground-floor rooms are open to visitors, and you can wander down to the lake and the Gothic church. Admission includes entry to the extravagant Victorian walled gardens, around a 20-minute walk away (linked by a free shuttle bus from April to October).

Run by Benedictine nuns, the abbey served as the Kylemore Abbey School from 1923 to 2010, teaching Catholic girls. There's a cafe and a teahouse on the grounds, which also offer hikes and woodland walks.