Connemara National Park:
Near the west coast of Co. Galway, about fifty miles from Galway City, by the village of Letterfrack is over 7000 acres of the beautiful Connemara National Park. Filled with interesting plants, including carnivorous sundew and butterworts trap, a wide variety of birdlife, such as merlin, sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons, the park is home to a few of Co. Galway's tallest mountains, like Benbaun, Benbrack and Bencullgh, and the Glenn of Mór. Walking and riding trails criss-cross the park, and there is a visitors centre just south of the Letterfrack crossroads that provides parking and a tearoom, plus guided nature-walking tours.
The Galway Spanish Arch:
In Galway, as an extended measure of protection for the ships and traders as the unloaded on the city's quays, is the Galway Spanish Arch. Built during the late sixteenth century to extend the fortifications of Martin's Tower to the bank of the River Corrib, until 2006 the Spanish Arch was home to the Galway City Museum, at which time a purpose-built building was completed just behind the Arch. Even though the structure was partially destroyed by a tidal wave created by the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, the Arch remains a popular spot for performers and visitors to frequent on a sunny day.
The Sky Road:
Around the town of Clifden is the stunning Sky Road, a seven-mile road that heads out to Kingston, before looping back, allowing travellers to enjoy the astonishing coastal scenery and some amazing views of Clifden Castle, Inishturk and Turbot islands, Streamstown Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Even though it rises to nearly 500 feet above the sea, the road not treacherous and it's possible to either drive, cycle or walk the route in all but the most extreme weather conditions.
Built in 1867 for an extremely wealthy English businessman called Mitchell Henry, the majestic Kylemore Abbey and Castle became a private home of over 40,000 square feet and seventy rooms, made from stone imported from Dalkey and Ballinasloe. In 1920, the buildings and grounds were purchased by a chapter of Irish Benedictine Nuns that had been forced to leave Belgium after their Abbey had been destroyed during World War I. The Nuns opened an international Catholic boarding school for girls until 2010 when the Abbey and grounds, which includes extensive walled gardens, lakes, forests, a shop and a restaurant, was opened to the public.
In Kilmacduagh village near Gort, about 25 miles south of Galway City, is the ruined seventh century monastery that was the birthplace of the Kilmacduagh Diocese. Said to have been founded by Saint Colman, son of Duagh, on land from King Guaire Aidne. Known as the 'Seven Churches' the buildings that remain today are in fact the Church of Mary, the Church of Saint John the Baptist, the Monastery Church, the Abbey Church, the Abbey House, Teampuil Beg Mac Duagh, and the 112 foot tall round tower which is notable for its two-foot lean off-centre.