A friendly and attractive holiday destination among gorgeous scenery. Western Ireland generally refers to the area of Ireland along the Atlantic coast stretching from the town of Sligo in the north down to Galway in the south. Pristine nature with stunning views, unspoilt beaches, ambling landscapes, charming towns and especially friendly people. You can expect all this and more when you spend your holiday in Western Ireland. There is a wide range of available holiday homes for families with children or houses for small groups. There's always a holiday home in Western Ireland to perfectly match your plans.
There are various travel options for reaching your holiday home in Western Ireland. You can take a direct flight to Dublin, on the east coast, and then hire a car or take a train to Galway or Sligo in Western Ireland, a distance of about 200 kilometres. Another option is to travel by boat or plane via Cork in Southern Ireland and then onwards to Galway. This is also a distance of about 200 kilometres. The best option for you will depend on the exact whereabouts of your holiday home in Western Ireland. In any case, it is highly recommendable to have access to a car during your holiday here. There's simply so much to see and do in the surrounding area!
In the southern part of Western Ireland, at the Corrib River delta which flows into a bay in the Atlantic Ocean, lies the university town of Galway. With a population of 75,000, Galway is considered a large city by Irish standards and is a popular destination for tourists from near and far. This is due to the city's role as a regional cultural centre with many theatres, shops and cosy restaurants. Here you will also see sights from medieval times, such as the Spanish Arch and the imposing Galway Cathedral with its green dome overlooking the waterfront. This wonderfully ornate church is famed for its exceptional acoustics. Galway is also known and loved as the city of Irish folk music, which can be heard throughout town in the pubs and at the annual Galway Arts Festival. Its location on Galway Bay, with gorgeous beaches like the Silver Strand and Salthill Beach, lend the city the atmosphere of a luxurious seaside resort.
In the northern part of Western Ireland lies the incredibly picturesque town of Sligo, which is the region's second largest town after Galway. Sligo was once an important port city on the estuary of the River Garavogue. Nowadays it is a beloved tourist destination. This is because of its idyllic location between the towering Benulbin rock formation, the stunning Lough Gill, the rugged Ox mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The area around the city is also known as Yeats Country, referring to the famous Irish poet who lived here. Sligo is still an important cultural and artistic city in Western Ireland. Here you can immerse yourself in Irish folklore.
Between Galway and Sligo there are many lovely smaller towns. One of these is Clifden, a popular destination for a holiday in nearby National Park Connemara. There's also scenic Westport which is home to a stately manor house and many charming pubs and restaurants in town where you'll be greeted with the famous Irish friendliness.
The Burren is a national park just south of Galway with unique karst hilly landscapes. The limestone earth here is dotted with rare plants and conceals a network of underground caves and rivers. Alongside the park's special plant and animal life, there are fascinating prehistoric monuments. Here you'll find fossils and dolmens like the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a large, Stone Age tomb. On the isle of Inishmore in Galway Bay, you can visit well-preserved dolmens and dúns (forts) that have stood for centuries. Dún Aengus and Dún Eonaghta are fine examples of Iron Age stone forts.
Connemara is undoubtedly one of Ireland's most beautiful nature reserves, lying on peatlands with marshes and lakes in the extreme west of Western Ireland. This natural wilderness, tucked between the River Corrib, the Twelve Bens mountain range and the jagged Atlantic Coast is a sporting paradise. For fishing, the rivers, lakes and coastal inlets are rich with salmon, tuna and trout. There are stunning routes waiting to be explored by bike, on foot or on horseback. Connemara is great for rock climbing as well as diving, not to mention its excellent golf courses. There is an abundance of plant and animal life, sometimes verging on the tropical thanks to the warm gulf stream air. With each season, the sunlight provides a different spectacular palette of colours across the unique scenery. In the centuries-old, sleepy fishing villages, you can treat yourself to delicious fresh seafood or tender lamb, prepared in the traditional style.
Other beautiful areas include Lough Mask, one of Ireland's largest lakes, which hosts the annual world championship for trout fly-fishing, and the Ballycroy National Park, which presents an array of peatland, cliff, valley and mountain landscapes.
When you spend your holiday in Western Ireland you'll find yourself among Ireland's warm and friendly people with their rich folklore in the historical and charming towns that dot Ireland's rugged and picturesque Wild West!