The Cleggan / Claddaghduff peninsula protrudes warily out into the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean, its shoreline etched and carved by the relentless onslaught of the sea, and the vagaries of Ireland’s Atlantic climate. The focal point of the peninsula is Cleggan, and the focal point of Cleggan is its hard-working pier. Cleggan is the port of access for the island of Inishbofin, and it also services the island of Inishturk, further north. Both islands have thriving tourist populations, and so Cleggan is always busy. Indeed so compelling are the charms of Inishbofin and Inishturk, that a number of artist-visitors have opted to live there permanently, so rejuvenating the islands prospects. This place has always had appeal for writers and artists notably the poet Richard Murphy who lived here for some years and for whom local lore and landscape/seascape inspired his work. Novelist John McGahern also resided here.
In the immediate area you will find much to interest and occupy you be it on sea or land. Why not climb to the top of Cleggan Head where from the remains of a watchtower constructed during the Napoleonic wars you can delight in the vistas spread out before you - the village houses clustered around the harbour, High Island , Crowe, Shark, Bofin, Turk, Clare islands out to sea, the Twelve Bens to the east and the distinctive hills of Mayo - Croagh Patrick, and Achill Head to the north.
Check out with a local person the opening hours for Omey strand and drive or walk or horse ride across the Ikm expanse of sand to the island. The whole area is rich in archaeological sites be it the remains of the 7th C church of St. Feichin on Omey island, the wedge tomb near Sellerna beach or the fairy hills (drumlins) of Sheeauns. There's deep sea angling, lake fishing, boat trips to Inishturk and Inishbofin, pony trekking, pitch & putt, dive sites, beaches and more beaches.
Local history and economy
As across the rest of Connemara, poverty, famine, and economic hardship, have caused massive emigration over the centuries. In 1927 the town became the tragic focus of the “Cleggan Disaster”, when twenty-five of its fishermen were drowned during a freak storm. This great disaster had a devastating effect on the local community. These days all that remains behind of this terrible catastrophe are poems and stories, and old granite ruins of homes forlornly eroded by weather and time.
Small scale fishing, supplemented by farming, is the main source of income in Cleggan. In recent years however, tourism is becoming an important economic factor. Sea-angling charter, adventure sports, and specialist excursions are growing in popularity and bringing much needed revenue to the village. The pattern of the fishing industry has changed substantially too. Live-transfer of lobster in specialist trucks, and refrigerated transport of fish to European destinations are now the norm along the western seaboard.
Getting to Cleggan
By bus, car. Citylink Coaches provide a daily bus service from Galway to Cleggan. Alternatively follow the N59 west, past Clifden, and follow local roads and signage to Cleggan.
Where to stay
Cleggan & Claddaghduff have a wide range of comfortable accommodation options from small hotels, guesthouses, B&B's and campsites.
Cleggan is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Inishboffin and Letterfrack if you are travelling north, and Clifden and Roundstone, if you are travelling south.
Things to do in Cleggan.
Treat yourself to a swim on beautiful Sellerna Beach is just a short walk from Cleggan village.
Visit the Cleggan Disaster Memorial Cross at Omey Strand, a grim reminder of the Cleggan tragedy of 1927. The names of sixteen of the 25 victims are inscribed on a tall Celtic Cross which dominates the tide-besieged Omey Strand graveyard.
Hike up to the summit of Cleggan Hill, where you can not only enjoy the view, but explore the remains of Cleggan Tower, a signal tower built in 1816 when invasion by Napoleons troops was feared. It was destroyed by hurricane ‘Debbie’.
Visit the megalithic tomb on the lands immediately behind Sallerna Beach. Some of the old people say there is a giant buried under it with all his treasures.
Visit during the annual Omey Races, surely one of the most unique horse racing events anywhere, when the strand between Claddaghduff and Omey Island is used as a pop-up racecourse during low tide.