Looking for a home somewhere picturesque and rustic? Somewhere that promises refreshing early morning walks followed by delicious smoked fish for breakfast?
Connemara sits on the Atlantic coast in western County Galway, in west Ireland. Discover its “savage beauty” and other reasons to consider buying a home here.
Connemara’s “savage beauty”
Oscar Wilde famously described Connemara as possessing a “savage beauty”. And despite him saying this centuries ago, still today, Connemara lives up to that description. The landscape is made up of mountains and hills, the greatness of the Atlantic Ocean, lakes, grasslands, woodlands, and expanses of bog.
Connemara National Park
Although with a property in Connemara, you will be surrounded by nature, for days when you want an even bigger dose of it, head to Connemara National Park. The 2,000 hectares is home to incredible mountains, including the Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght. The park has special conservation projects, including one dedicated to rare plants found only in the colder areas of the Arctic and Europe, such as the lesser twayblade and the roseroot. This is also the perfect place to spy the gorgeous Connemara ponies.
An abundance of places for a hike
I have family in Connemara, and so, I spent childhood holidays being dragged out of bed to march up a hill or a mountain by my grandfather. And though I was cross about being woken up, even then, I could appreciate just how splendid the Connemara sights looked in the early morning light. Connemara really does have brilliant options for keen hikers. Located with Connemara National Park, Diamond Hill Trail is a popular choice. While the Mweelrea Mountain is the highest peak in Connacht and great for those looking for a strenuous route. For a unique experience, trails on Omey Island are only accessible at low tide (but do watch the tide times!).
Most of the year, swimming in Connemara is for the brave and those that like a very chilly embrace. Still, the beaches are ideal for beachcombing, dog walks and picture-taking. Dog’s Bay Beach has bright white sand – the sand is made up of the remains of thousands of ground up seashells, which has given it a unique appearance and texture. While Trá an Dóilín is a lovely Blue Flag beach with lifeguards in the summer, snorkelling and paddleboarding. Glassilaun Beach is surrounded by tremendous scenery: sitting on the beach, you’ll have the Mweelrea Mountain behind you and little islands that dot the Atlantic before you.
Seafood is king
When I used to holiday in Connemara as a child, I remember the smell of smoked fish filling up the house. The Connemara Smokehouse produces the finest traditionally-smoked wild Atlantic seafood. It is known for its mackerel, tuna and salmon. Even visiting the Smokehouse is an experience, as it sits on Bunowen Pier, at the very edge of Connemara. While the castle ruins of the Pirate Queen Granuainle look down on it. While the Doncastle Oysters are also a top choice.
If you’re looking for a Guinness, a warm toastie and maybe even a singalong, Connemara is full of great places to do exactly that. Securing the title of ‘best traditional bar’ three times, Lowry’s Music & Bar offers live music seven nights and Ireland’s largest selection of premium Whiskey and Gin. While the Shamrock Bar, in the village of Roundstone, has an open peat fire to chat over.
Connemara is home to the second-largest Gaeltacht region in Ireland. This means that the Irish language, Gaelige, is a part of everyday for people. But don’t worry, people also speak English. Locals tend to slide easily from one to another, with their English being peppered by Irish words. You will see road signs in both languages.
Kylemore Abbey & its Victorian walled garden
A visit to Kylemore Abbey is a chance to learn some history about your new home, Connemara. Built in the 1800s and now home to the Benedictine nuns, Kylemore Abbey is a spectacular 1,000-acre estate. It has hiking trails, a garden teahouse and history talks.
Beyond the pub, Connemara’s festivals are a great chance to mingle and make friends. Over May bank holiday, you can chat to fellow walkers about the best trails to take at the Connemara Mountain Walking Festival. While Halloween is embraced by the Spooky Treasure Hunt, where you might cross a ghost on your path! Then, if your surroundings have inspired your inner poet, you might enjoy the Letterfrack Poetry Trail.
Connemara does have its own airport. But it is a regional airport, originally intended to connect the mainland with the Aran islands. So, most people tend to fly to one of the more major airports, be it Shannon or Dublin. Then you would finish your route via train, bus, or car.
Connemara is an hour away from Galway City by car. There is also a bus route that takes just a little longer.
Dublin is a three-hour drive away.
Connemara’s property market
If you are up for the challenge of building your dream home in Connemara, then land plots can be purchased for as little as €30,000. Otherwise, a two-bedroom home can be bought for €130,000. While a four-bedroom house will cost upwards of €250,000. Property in Connemara tends to be a choice of lovely old cottages and newer (but still homely) properties.
You might also like reading:
- Would you like a new-build home in Ireland?
- Why you will love retiring to Ireland
- Using a currency specialist when buying property in Ireland
We also have guides to help you on your buying journey: