We have had amazing weather in Connemara. It’s such a dramatic change from the gloomy, rainy days. Everyone wants to be here when the sun is out. Rain or shine, we’re here all of the time because we live here. We’re the same though. If the sun is out we want to experience Connemara too. The amazing weather makes it very easy to fall in love with this place. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore.
If you find yourself in our neck of the woods on holiday, a road trip, or a day trip, or if you’re a personal friend of mine, this is your invitation to plan a trip to come and visit. I can easily fill up your days with all there is to see and do in the area, but this is our go-to fun when I’m out and about with the kids.
What we Love to do around Connemara
Of course, there are many more things to do, but these are activities we’ve found ourselves coming back to over the years or maybe several times in a single month.
Killary Fjord Boat Tour
It was many years of coming to Connemara before I’d even stepped foot on this boat. In the last while we’ve made many trips on the Connemara Lady to head out onto the Killary Fjord and have enjoyed every time. I get nervous about sea sickness but this boat is smooth sailing with a narrative about the area. My kids look forward to getting their favorite drink (hot chocolate if it’s a chilly day) and a snack while watching the scenery go by. Although I haven’t seen any, dolphins have been sighted before. The kids love when they get the chance to steer the boat. And, afterward, they leave with a special certificate in hand.
Delphi Forest Adventure Center and Playground
Delphi Resort has a whole adventure center full of activities, but as locals, we’re looking for easy fun where we can just show up and go. So we like to make use of the several hiking trails that vary in difficulty. Some walks are easy for kids as well. After your walk, you can let the kids off at the new playground. Grab a drink and sit and relax inside while you watch them play from the big glass windows. Even better, stay and grab a bite to eat in the restaurant. The last time we were there, our waiter went to get our kids from the playground for us and brought them up to the table when their food was ready. Now that’s service! One day I will stay in the resort to get the full experience.
Connemara National Park and Playground
This is one of our favorite playgrounds to visit in the area. The seesaws tend to be a hit with big kids and adults. I often like to sit and relax while my girls play. The little cafe beside the playground is perfect if you’re feeling a little peckish while you supervise.
Connemara National Park is mostly known locally as The Diamond. It’s about a two-hour hike up the diamond and back down. Maybe more, maybe less depending on ability. It is doable with kids. My twins practically ran up the hill when they were 8 as I huffed and puffed my way up. There’s also another walk that is shorter and easier. You might even get to see the wild goats that roam the area. If the goats are not at the national park then you might see them somewhere grazing on the side of the road. We’re always on goat watch when driving around the area.
Visiting a Sheep Farm
Being in Ireland during the lambing season is one of the best times of the year. Those baby lambs are the cutest. I want to see one being born, but I always seem to miss it. If you keep an eye out on the fields you might witness a baby lamb being born. If you’re driving anywhere around Ireland where there are sheep in April you are bound to see newborn lambs in just about every field. It’s fun to watch a group of lambs frolic and play with each other. They’re like little toddlers running around with copious amounts of energy. Some farms like There are a few farms around Connemara that do demonstrations with the sheep and have a pet lamb that you can hold and pet.
Clonbur Woods and Playground
I recently discovered Clonbur Woods when I participated in a park run that take place on the trail. It’s an easy forest walk that the whole family can do. The playground is one of the best I’ve seen around Ireland. Not that I’m into bribing, but I’d say to tell the kids you’ll do the playground and ice cream if they go on the walk with you first. That way both kids and parents get to enjoy themselves. Walk down to the village to grab a bite to eat or coffee and treat.
Pier Jumping and Swimming
I’ve done a lot of traveling around Ireland and I’ve noticed there are piers everywhere. They’re such picturesque spots. Connemara has plenty around. Wait until high tide and go for it. Just to warn you, the cold water might be a shocker. If so, a wetsuit might be a good thing to bring along. The kids love grabbing their floaties and jumping in. They don’t seem to mind the cold water as much as I do. I’m trying to get over my aversion to cold water so I can enjoy these swims more.
Beach Walks and Shell Collecting
The beach always promises a simple kind of fun. Every time I go to the beach the scenery always looks different. You can run or walk to your heart’s content, explore tide pools, play games, swim if again you’re brave enough to take on the cold water, or collect shells. Shell collecting can be so interesting. Every beach seems to have different kinds of shells. I always imagine all of the art projects that can be done with them, but they usually get put into a jar when we come home.
Connemara is covered in beaches and many of them are hidden. It isn’t uncommon to find a beach where there’s no one on it but you. Coming from California, you’re always sharing the beach with others.
Forest Walks, Trail Walks, and The Wild Atlantic Way
I’ve mentioned a few places that have popular walking/hiking trails. The thing about Ireland is that everywhere you go there is a walk you can do. Many of them are signposted with a brown road sign. In the west of Ireland, we have The Wild Atlantic Way where you can find several hikes and sites to explore. There are Discovery points that are marked with special signposts. I can think of at least 5 of them that we frequently pass. Even though we live nearby, we’ll still stop every so often and have a little adventure or snap a few new pictures of the scenery. But some of the best walks are down quiet lanes or small country roads that might lead you to the most amazing discoveries and landscapes.
Ireland has so many Islands besides it being an island itself. You can island hop by walking, cycling, driving, and of course by ferry. You’ll find that when the tide is out you can walk over to some of the little islands just offshore. Just don’t get stuck. Make sure you are well aware of when the tide will come back in if you plan to spend some time exploring.
Our closest beach has a little island you can walk out to. We often don’t get to the beach at the right time, but one day it was perfect and we made our way out. This year I discovered Omey Island. It’s a tidal island so you can cross the sand by car or on foot when the tide is out.
There are quite a few islands in the area where you can take a quick ferry trip to visit them. A few of them to name are the famous Aran Islands, Clare Island, Inishturk, and Inishbofin. I’ve only been to Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands. That was a fun day spent on the island where we rode bikes around stopping at all the cool sites to see like a shipwreck. You can also see the Cliffs of Moher from the Island. I think our next island stop will be either Clare Island or Inishbofin. Both are close by and a very short ferry ride.
Getting a 99
If you’re in Ireland and especially if you have kids, you will learn what a 99 is very quickly! A 99 is vanilla ice cream in a cone with a stick of chocolate flake on the side. It must be sold at nearly every petrol station shop or convenience store. If the sun is peeping through the clouds, or it’s a nice day (or even if it isn’t) getting a 99 at the nearest shop is a popular thing to do. It’s cheap and will give you a reason to get everyone out of the house. The big plastic ice cream cone outside of a shop is a good indication that 99’s are sold there. Now, just so you know, I’m honestly not sure if they’re sold for 99 cents anywhere anymore, but that’s what everyone calls them. 99 or not, they’re still a nice cheap treat and something almost everyone enjoys.
I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place with so much to offer. Come to Connemara and see if you love hanging around here too.