- The Delphi and Doolough valleys where the road is narrow and winding and the mountains rear up on either side of you. Stop at the monument at the top of the hill as you leave Doolough and look back. This will be a memorable moment of your driving holiday in Connemara.
- The contrast between small, remote village and bustling city and town. Each offering a different and very enjoyable experience.
- Ashford Castle in Cong, former home of the Guinness family and worth a wander in the grounds just to see the impressive size and style of the estate.
- The scenery. As with all our tours we try to choose the most scenic routes and not necessarily the busiest. Travel low-traffic back roads and take the time to marvel at the natural, unspoiled beauty.
Gabriel’s tour highlight: It would have to be Ashford Castle. The first time I saw it I was wowed by it – the building itself, the grounds and the grandeur. It has stayed with me ever since.
Your Tour in brief
This is a 7 day (6 night) tour starting any day from April to October.
Your driving vacation starts in the village of Leenane in Connemara, Co Galway but you will collect your hire car at Dublin or Cork airports. The tour finishes in Galway city.
Equipment and information:
Manual compact car including CDW insurance (with excess), Theft protection, unlimited mileage, VAT, airport & locations fees.
Drivers must be at least 25 years of age, full and clean licence for at least 2 years compulsory
All extras including extra insurance cover, gps, additional driver, automatic option, baby/child seat etc must be paid directly by the driver on arrival.
Full route notes and map of the area are also provided and explained to you.
You can choose from two accommodation options - 3* hotels or approved B&Bs and guesthouses where a full Irish breakfast is included for you on each morning.
Further information on getting to/from Ireland can be found here
ARRIVAL TO DUBLIN/CORK AIRPORT
Arrive at Dublin or Cork Airport and collect your rental car. Your first journey is to the start point of your driving tour in Ireland in the picturesque village of Leenane in Connemara, Co Galway. Conor or Gabriel will meet you either on the evening of arrival or the following morning (depending on your arrival time) to go through your itinerary and answer any questions you have about your tour. Your first night's accommodation will be here in Leenane village, which sits nestled at the head of Killary Fjord and in the shadow of the Maamturk mountains. You will be able to avail of excellent local dining, traditional pubs and the chance to meet locals and visitors alike.
Drive to Westport via Louisburgh
You will begin driving today from Leenane along the water’s edge of Killary Fjord. An arresting sight, the fjord is steep-sided and deep-basined, and its majestic beauty unfolds as you follow its shoreline. From there you pass through the dramatic, glaciated valleys of Delphi and Doolough. along by deep lakes to emerge at the coastal town of Louisburgh. There you might choose to stop to absorb the rhythms of a small west of Ireland market town. The road continues along the shores of Clew Bay past the fourteenth century Murrisk Abbey and the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick to the heritage town of Westport. Built in the eighteenth century and recently voted the best town to live in in Ireland, it is friendly, traditional and cosmopolitan all at the same time! Return to Leenane for a second night, along the inland route through green valleys, hill sheep farms and old stone walls.
Drive to Cong and explore
Passing through the villages of Cornamona and Clonbur, the road brings you along the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s largest lake, where the ruins of a castle are still visible on one of the islands in the lake. You will soon arrive in the village of Cong in Co Mayo, where the John Ford film The Quiet Man was shot in 1952. Cong boasts several notable historical sites including an inscribed stone cross (fourteenth century) and the ruins of Ashford Abbey, founded in 1128. It is a lively village which attracts visitors from around the world, drawn by its film history and the presence of the 5-star Ashford Castle hotel and former home of the Guinness family nearby. Craft shops, cafes, cosy pubs and winding streets make it a lovely place to wander and absorb its lively atmosphere. Return by the same route to Leenane where you will stay again in a village that is starting to feel like home!
Drive to Clifden via Renvyle peninsula
Travelling on a winding road alongside the rugged, rocky peaks of the Twelve Bens mountain range, you will leave Leenane and Killary Fjord behind as you make your way towards Clifden. Your journey will take you past two world-class visitor attractions, ideal for gaining a sense of the history and geography of the area – the gothic lakeside castle of Kylemore Abbey and the preserved landscape of Connemara National Park. From Letterfrack where the National Park is located you can take a detour onto the Renvyle peninsula. This is an area which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is peppered with archaeological sites, historical ruins and hidden beaches. Returning to Letterfrack you will follow the coast and drive one of the most awe-inspiring routes in the country, the Sky Road, before arriving in Clifden to your accommodation. Clifden is a lively town, filled with character, culture and craic.
Discover Roundstone and Ballynahinch
Your drive today brings you to Roundstone, a scenic fishing village in South Connemara, made famous through the work of many well-known painters. They have been attracted here by its picturesque harbour and wonderful outlook across the Atlantic to the jagged peaks of the Twelve Bens mountain range. If you have time and you would like to extend your drive today it is worth taking a detour along the lake-strewn bog road to another coastal village, Ballyconneely, on your way to Roundstone. Here you can visit the acclaimed Connemara Smokehouse, which specialises in wild and organic salmon, smoked and marinated with traditional methods. From Roundstone you will continue via Ballynahinch. There you will see Ballynahinch Castle, a delightfully unpretentious hotel set in a private 450-acre estate of woodland, rivers and walks in the heart of Connemara. You will return to Clifden to spend the night.
Drive to Galway
The final night of your driving tour is spent in the coastal ‘City of the Tribes’, Galway. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking Galway Bay, it is a bustling, colourful and friendly city and we know you will be eager to absorb all it has to offer. It has managed to maintain its traditional lifestyle and values while offering the exciting, cosmopolitan atmosphere of a modern 21st century city. Music, great seafood, cobbled streets, interesting architecture and wonderful art galleries all await you.
: Drive to the airport and drop off your hire car as you continue with your onward journey.
Double/ Twin/ Triple
Terms and conditions
To secure your booking, we will request 30% deposit per person. Please note this is a non-refundable payment. The balance payment is due 30 days before the tour starts.
If your tour start date is within 30 days of booking, the full, non-refundable payment is required upon booking.
We do not organise travel to/from Ireland. However there is some useful information on our “Getting To Ireland” page.