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Is Clifden Worth Visiting?

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Is Clifden Worth Visiting?

Is Clifden worth visiting?

Clifden is the largest town in Connemara, Galway and also the home of the imposing Clifden Castle. Clifden is worth visiting and an ideal spot from which to explore Galway.

Clifden Town is nestled between the Twelve Bens mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, set at the mouth of Clifden Bay,  located 50 miles from Galway City.

The whole area of Connemara is recognised worldwide for its rich landscape and heritage and Clifden, although it is a small town, has something to suit everyone.

Whatever the requirements for a holiday, Clifden can provide a restful retreat or adventure for those wanting more action. The location of the town makes it the ideal base for yourself while exploring the region.

Clifden can provide an excellent family holiday with the many sandy beaches in the area anda crystal clear sea perfect for swimming.  There are also a range of adventure activities available that could include all members of the family, young or old.

After enjoying the many beautiful walks in the area, you are welcome to relax afterwards with a Guinness or two in the many pubs. Clifden can be very popular, particularly in the summer months but it seems that there is always a relaxed atmosphere.

Renowned for its many restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Clifden is a foodie paradise and. offers a range of stylish restaurants and coffee shops with many of them award winners. For lovers of nightlife and music, the many lively bars provide nightly traditional and modern music sessions throughout the year.

Besides great shopping and a full range of services such as car repairs, bus services, beauty treatments, hairdressing, dry-cleaning, bicycle hire and financial services, the town also hosts a number of art galleries, library, cinema/theatre as well as a museum. You can easily spend lazy days wandering in and out of the shops and having lunch or a coffee in one of the many popular eateries.

Clifden is a town that is always busy with festivals and various events, including music, heritage and adventure events. Each April Clifden hosts the Annual Traditional Music Festival which  sees many musicians and dancers performing on the streets and in the local bars and hotels. 

The Tour de Conamara cycling adventure departs and returns to Clifden every year in May. Another well-known event is the Clifden Connemara Pony Show which usually takes place on the third Thursday in August. Clifden also hosts the internationally recognised Clifden Arts Festival in September of each year. The arts festival  is always guaranteed to be fun and very entertaining with well-known musicians, artists, poets, street theatre and much more.

Clifden and Connemara is generally world famous for its panoramic scenery. Using Clifden as your base, you can visit some of the renowned attractions such as the Connemara National Park, go day tripping to the islands, go deep sea fishing and see the dolphins. The area is also a paradise for walkers and if you want to sunbathe visit one of the beautiful beaches.

Owenglen River and numerous lakes in the area are a favourite of fishermen, where salmon and sea trout can be caught.  If you want to experience sea angling then a number of sea angling charter boats work from Clifden harbour and provide some of the best and most reliable sea angling in Europe.

There are numerous other local activities including sailing, canoeing, boat trips, windsurfing, kayaking, pony trekking, guided walks, and more, something for anyone and everyone.

The Sky Road is a well-known walking/cycling/driving route in the area and when you get to the viewing point at the top of the Sky Road be pleasantly surprised with an awesome panoramic view of the coast, the ocean and the islands

Clifden Castle

Clifden Castle

Also along the Sky Road is the ruins of Clifden Castle. Clifden Castle (Caislean an Clochán) was built in 1812 by John D’Arcy (1785 – 1839), who was also the founder of Clifden Town. Today, Clifden Town is the capital of the Connemara region of Galway

The grounds  of Clifden Castle originally covered over 17,000 acres owned by the D’Arcy family for more than 150 years.  However, these lands were lost to the family in the mid-1800’s. Unfortunately the family became bankrupt as a result of debts incurred during the Great Potato Famine.

The castle has changed hands many times over the years and the land around it has been divided up and sold off thus leading Clifden Castle to fall into ruin in the latter part of the 19th Century and remains so until this day. Nevertheless a great place to go and visit.

There are more than 30,000 Castles in Ireland, so where do you start as a visitor? Fortunately, here at Love Ireland, we have you covered. Follow the 2 steps below and it will help you on the right path.

Ready for your trip to Ireland? Start here.


Last updated May 29, 2023


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