Located west of Galway City, in large tracts of Connemara, is Ireland's largest Gaeltacht region. Here, the Irish language (Gaeilge) is the everyday spoken language of a people who live and work in Galway's cultural heartland. People here switch from Irish to English and vice-versa with ease and their English is peppered with Gaeilge phrases. Here is a treasure house of all that is best in rich Irish heritage, culture and folklore where people still sing and dance in the old traditional manner.
Driving westwards along Galway's coast, the variation in landscape will strike you. On the left is Galway Bay and the powerful Atlantic and to your right is Connemara, a scenic vista of bogs, valleys and lakes whose spectacular intricate coastline encloses the dramatic Twelve Pins (Na Beanna Beola) and Maamturk Mountains. Quiet little roads wind through the majestic landscape and lead you from village to village. Still unspoiled and relatively unexplored, you will find clean beaches, scenic walks, peace and quiet and regardless of where you turn you are never far from the sea.
Just off the coast, in the mouth of Galway Bay, lie the three Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr. These islands are renowned for their unique way of life, where age-old traditions co-exist comfortably with modern living. The island have a rich history that can be seen from their ancient monuments, from both prehistoric and Christian times.
Golfing in the Galway Gaeltacht
The West of Ireland offers the visitor superb golf courses, which have been fashioned out of a naturally beautiful landscape. Whether you want to play by the sea or inland, there are a terrific variety of courses within fifty to sixty miles of Galway City. The following golf courses are located in or bordering with the Gaeltacht area.
Sea Angling is a popular pursuit in the area, with good catches of the predominant species of Pollack, Cod, Bass, Flatfish and indeed good Blue Shark fishing during the summer months. Modern, certified angling boats are available to the travelling angler in addition to ever-ready advice from the experienced skipper. Shore fishing is possible from almost anywhere on the coast. There are licensed boat operators based in the Galway Gaeltacht, however anglers are advised to make their own enquiries in respect of licenses and insurance requirements.
Walking and Cycling
For those who enjoy a gentle pace or a spirited hike across rugged mountain and coastal trails, the Galway Gaeltacht offers all. There are hidden byways, shorelines and beaches, forest walks and open bogland and all offer solitude and natural beauty in abundance. The routes are generally uncrowded, but it is still a pleasure to meet and chat with other walkers along the way.
Horse Riding in the Galway Gaeltacht
One of the most enjoyable ways of seeing the Connemara landscape, home of the Connemara Pony, is on horseback. Revel in the varied landscape of dramatic mountains, expansive lakes, majestic rivers, small fields surrounded by grey dry stone walls, beaches, and breathe in the crystal clear air while guiding your mount through the Galway Gaeltacht.
The extensive Galway Gaeltacht area offers the visitor a very broad range of activities – whether you wish to wander amongst the breathtaking hills and wonderful wildlife of Connemara, discover the history and learn about life in past times or indeed call in to see a working craft centre – you will not be disappointed!
If you listen carefully while standing amid the ruins of an Iron Age fort or if you are sitting in a traditional pub while a sean-nós singer keens an old lament you may hear the whisper of a timeless voice. There is something timeless indeed about the Galway Gaeltacht - a land that exists in the shadow of the sea, a land that is renowned throughout the world for its unique scenery. It is a land that has moved the likes of John Millington Synge, Pádraig Pearse and Liam O'Flaherty, to name but a few, to write the great plays, poems and stories for which they are renowned.
The Galway Gaeltacht is really one giant fishery, merely intersected by roads, and containing three of the most important Brown Trout fisheries in Europe. It also contains some of the most prolific Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout fishing anywhere in Europe. A glance at the topography of the region will immediately convey the vast amount of rivers and lakes that have made this region the subject matter of many artists, writers and filmmakers. In the Southern and central areas the lakes are alkaline in nature, providing both ideal conditions and habitats for the Brown Trout for which the area is rightly famous.
This contrasts sharply with the more northern and western areas of the region which are interspersed with more acidic lake and river systems which, although they contain Brown Trout, are more famous for their Salmon and Sea Trout fishing. Lough Corrib is Ireland’s second larget lake and one of Europe’s best examples of a large limestone lake. It produces an abundance of wild brown trout. Trolling can take place throughout the season but the lake is famous for high quality fly-fishing and dapping. Lough Mask is a limestone lake, approximately 10 miles long and 4 miles wide, with an excellent stock of Brown Trout. It is a popular wet fly lake with a Mayfly hatch and exciting dapping. The Mayfly dominates fishing from Mid-May to Mid-June and the East shore of the Mask is the best Mayfly area.
Irish language courses are available to people of all ages in the Galway Gaeltacht area. Students in the 9 -18 years age bracket can attend the Irish Summer Colleges. There are also day and evening courses available for the more mature students. Bain triail as cúpla focal!
The coastline surrounding the Galway Gaeltacht represents some of the most interesting diving environment in Ireland. Here in the clear waters of the Atlantic see what lies beneath the calm translucent ocean. Galway is famous for the Galway Hookers of which there are four types: An Bád Mór – which is the largest, An Leath Bhád, An Gleiteog and the smallest An Púcán. There are sailing courses aboard these traditional boats provided in various locations throughout the Gaeltacht.
Discover Connemara, a beautifully scenic region just north of Galway City with Lally Tours. This tour includes stops at Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Gardens, Leenane Village, Killary Fjord and the village of An Spidéal overlooking Galway Bay.
Cliffs of Moher & The Burren Day Tour
The unmissable Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour with Lally Tours includes up to 2 hours at the cliffs and includes stops at the lunar-like Burren region, Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre and the charming village of Doolin overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Cliffs of Moher Express Bus
A Non-Stop Express Shuttle Service to the Cliffs of Moher with Lally Tours. Experience Ireland’s natural, mysterious, 214m (702 ft) high cliffs and interactive visitor centre. You’ll have 2 full hours to explore on your own before heading back to Galway.
Galway City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Explore Galway with one of Lally Tours' friendly guides to learn about this colourful city and see it from the best vantage point: an open top bus! You’ll see everything from medieval walls in the city centre to the sandy beaches of Salthill. Hop on and off as much as you’d like and your ticket is valid for 24 hours.