The capitol of Connemara, Clifden makes for a great escape from Galway or any of the other cities, and is also good as a base for exploring Connemara.
From Galway, a return ticket is IRÂ£7 on Bus Eireann. The journey itself takes only an hour and a half, and while I’d have to check I suspect that for Ireland this may be a record.
Clifden is tourist friendly, but not too terribly touristy – and it’s definitely not as commercialized as Killarney or as tourist-saturated as Galway. It’s also so small that for all the places I list, I won’t bother with street names. There’s simply no need, because there are so few streets.
The town is so compact, actually, that a travel guide really should consist of a few sentences: just the introductory bit, with everything brought to a close by this statement:
“Whatever you want to see in Clifden or in Connemara, ask Richard about it. He’ll tell you all you wanted to know, and then all you didn’t know and didn’t realize you wanted to know.” But I’ll get to that.
To the east are the Twelve Pins (or Bens), and to the west, over some more hills, is the sea. All around are islands and loughs; as long as the weather holds – or as long as you don’t care about being cold and wet, though if you do there’s little point coming to Ireland – Clifden is the best place to start from when wanting to get outdoors.
It has been said that Connemara is where the world ends. I don’t know if that’s true, but in Clifden it can definitely seem that a calmer, more natural world begins.
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