The region of Connemara on Ireland’s West Coast holds a feast for the senses. This food trail will help you discover and enjoy some of the best food in Connemara, while experiencing some spectacular scenery along the way. Connemara Hill Lamb, Galway Bay oysters, fresh Connemara salmon, freshly baked scones, and homemade brown bread are just some of the delicious local treats on menus in Connemara. There are signature dishes such as Connemara Lamb Stew and Renvyle House Connemara Mussel Pie to be savoured. Artisan producers supply top quality locally-produced food to cafes, restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions and there is a range of food festivals on offer which celebrate the area’s food culture. This trail provides just a taste of the range of internationally renowned food producers, skilled chefs, restaurant and festivals that Connemara has to offer.
Connemara Smokehouse, Ballyconneely ~ a taste as natural and wild as Connemara
Authentic and ancient flavours from the wild Irish Atlantic blend subtly with beechwood smoke like a song on your tongue. Connemara Smokehouse, family-run since 1979, delivers direct to your table the best quality smoked salmon and seafood in Ireland. You can visit the Smokehouse and take a tour on Wednesday afternoons to learn about the whole smoking process and sample some of the products. There is also an on-line shop where products can be ordered and shipped anywhere in the world. The Connemara Smokehouse is now part of the Economusée Network which recognises artisan producers all over the world.
Directions: N59 towards Clifden. Turn left onto the R351. Stay on R351 to Ballyconneely passing Connemara Golf Club on the right. The Smokehouse is situated at Bunowen Pier just ahead.
Contact: Tel: +353 95 23739 Web: www.connemarasmokehouse.ie
Connemara Abalone, Rossaveal
Connemara Abalone is an aquaculture company in the west of Ireland which is 100% dedicated to the cultivation of abalone. The abalone are born and reared in a state-of-the art aquaculture farm on the austere rocky shoreline where the Atlantic Ocean meets Galway Bay. You can visit Connemara Abalone premises and learn more about the cultivation of abalone by calling in advance to book a suitable time.
Directions: N59 from Galway. Take the R336 to Rossaveal, passing Costcutters on the left. Continue straight on the road for 3 km. Keep straight until the wind turbine and Abalone Polytunnel come into view.
Contact: Tel: +353 91 591307 Web. www.abalone.ie
McGeough’s, Oughterard - Artisan Butcher
Based in Oughterard, McGeough’s, produces a wide range of individually selected specialist foods including fresh sausages, puddings, dried meats, cheeses, dairy, sauces, oils, chutneys and wines.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 to Oughterard. Turn right on to Camp Street in the centre of the town. McGeough’s is on the left.
Contact: Tel: +353 91 552351 Web: www.connemarafinefoods.ie
The Connemara Hamper, Clifden
A small but well-stocked, specialty food shop in Clifden town. This is an ideal place to pick up picnic fare with its excellent Irish farmhouse cheeses, pâtés, smoked Connemara salmon, and handmade Irish chocolates.
Directions: From Galway, take the N59 to Clifden. The shop is located on the left on Market Street beside Malone’s Butchers.
Address: Tel: +353 95 21054 Email: www.connemarahamper.com
Mitchell’s Cafe at Kylemore Abbey and Garden, Kylemore
Mitchell's Cafe at Kylemore Abbey boasts delicious traditional Irish dishes, freshly made on a daily basis. Kylemore’s freshly baked fruit scones are known across the globe, as are their freshly prepared soups, crusty brown bread, homemade jams and the all-time favourite Apple Pie.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 towards Clifden. Take a right after Sraith Salach on the R334 following the signs for Kylemore Abbey and Garden. Take a left turn at the T junction and Kylemore Abbey is clearly signposted on the right.
Contact: Tel: +353 95 52000 Web: www.kylemoreabbeytourism.ie
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Recess
Enjoy the glorious river view from the Owenmore Restaurant at Ballynahinch Castle. Head Chef Xin Sun and his team take advantage of the wealth of fresh fish, and game available in Connemara to produce wonderfully balanced and very creative dishes.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 towards Recess. Look out for the signs for Ballnahinch Castle on the left.
Contact: Tel: + 353 95 31006 Web: www.ballynahinch-castle.com
Renvyle House Hotel, Letterfrack
Tim O'Sullivan is an award winning chef and has won the Best Chef in Connacht 2008 & 2007 at the National Food & Wine Awards. The restaurant features a wide range of Irish and Continental cuisine. Irish beef, Connemara lamb and game dishes feature alongside seafood dishes using fresh fish caught daily off the Atlantic shores. Don’t forget to try Tim’s famous Connemara Mussel Pie here.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 to Clifden. Take a right after Sráith Salach onto R344. Take a left turn towards Letterfrack at the T junction on to the N59. At the crossroads in Letterfrack village, turn right for Renvyle House Hotel.
Contact: Tel: +35395 46100 Web: www.renvylehouse.ie
Rosleague Manor Hotel, Letterfrack
Rosleague lies 10 km north west of Clifden on the coast overlooking a sheltered bay and surrounded by the Mountains, beside Connemara National Park. Fresh seafood and Connemara Hill Lamb are the manor’s speciality with a strong focus on the finest and freshest locally sourced ingredients and produce. Most of the herbs and vegetables are grown in the gardens as well as the fresh flowers which adorn the tables.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 to Clifden. Take a right after Sráith Salach onto R344. Take a left turn towards Letterfrack at the T junction on to the N59. Go through Letterfrack village and look out for Rosleague Manor on the right.
Contact: Tel: +353 95 41101/41168 Web: www.rosleague.com
Cashel House Hotel
Connemara`s hundreds of lakes, rivers and mountain land, as well as the island studded Cashel Bay, combine to provide – fresh lobsters, mussels, clams, scallops, salmon, mackerel, brill, turbot and trout. Choice meats and poultry also feature on the menu – Connemara Lamb, Irish beef, venison, quail and guinea fowl complimented by a wide variety of fresh vegetables from the organic gardens.
Directions: N59 from Galway, turn left onto R340. Cashel House Hotel is on the right after passing the church.
Contact: Tel: +353 9531001 Web: www.cashel-house-hotel.com
The White Gables Restaurant, Moycullen
Here cooking is traditional and focused around seafood, with time warp classics such as seafood cocktail Marie Rose, poached fresh halibut Veronique and scallops mornay. The setting is an old stone cottage with an intimate, candlelit interior featuring warm red tones and floral lampshades. Seasonal offers with set menus are often available such as the Autumn Suppers and Neighbourhood Nights.
Directions: From Galway, take the N59 to Moycullen. The restaurant is located on the left at the crossroads in the village.
Contact: Tel: +353 91 555 744 Web: www.whitegables.com
Enjoy Cáfe Delicatessen and Coffee Shop
The Deli and homely cafe attached to The White Gables restaurant is a recent addition. The quirky food shop offers delicious take-away meals from the restaurant so you can experience real home cooked food in your own home. There is also a wide range of desserts, baked goods, wines, sauces and jams and kitchen suppliers.
Contact: Tel: +353 91 555 744 Web: www.whitegables.com
Steam Cafe, Clifden
Located in the courtyard of the Station House Hotel in Clifden, this coffee shop serves delicious soups, wraps & sandwiches, home-made desserts and organic homegrown salads. Open only in the summer months.
Contact: Tel: +353 95 30600
Brigit’s Garden Café
This delightful Café is located between Moycullen and Oughterard at the gateway to Connemara. It is ideal for a coffee break or lunch when visiting the unique Celtic-themed gardens or as a destination in its own right. All the food is freshly made using herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the gardens to create delicious seasonal dishes and a range of home-baking that reflects the best in contemporary Irish cooking.
Directions: From Galway take the N59 Clifden road. 8 km beyond Moycullen village, look out for colourful road signs for Brigit’s Garden and take a right turn in Roscahill. The gardens and Café are just over 2 km from the main road. About 20 minutes drive from Galway city.
Contact: Tel: +353 91 550905 Web: www.brigitsgarden.ie
Leenane Food Festival: September 2011, Leenane Village
Connemara Mussel Festival: May Bank Holiday Weekend, Tully cross, Renvyle
Moycullen: Fridays, 1-7pm
Contact : Gerry Geoghegan, Tel: +35387 2672371
Roundstone Country Market: Sundays, 11am- 4pm
Contact: John Walsh, Tel: +35395 41243
The Village Market at Keoghs Yard, Oughterard: Tuesdays, 10- 6pm
Contact: John Walsh, Tel: +35386 8642204
Inishbofin Island Community Market: Mondays, 2-4 pm
Contact: Brenda Burke, Tel: +3530 95 45 895