Westport - Louisburgh - Delphi - Leenane - Maam Cross - Cliftden - Letterfrack - Leenane - Erriff Valley - Westport
(174km / 109mls)
, taking the R335 road to Louisburgh. This route gives you superb views of Clew Bay with its numerous small islands - submerged drumlins, reminders of the Ice Age. To your left is Croagh Patrick, or the Reek, a holy place and a place of pilgrimage.
Eight kilometers from Westport there is a road to the right, leading to the fine ruin of a 15th century Augustinian Friary at Murrisk, overlooking Clew Bay. There are also several fine beaches around this area, such as Bertra, Lecanvey, Old Head, Carrowmore, Silver Strand and Carrownisky.
, take the R335 road for Leenane with the Sheefry Hills on the left and the Mweelrea Mountains to the right. On the way, you'll pass Doo Lough, a long lake set among steep mountains, where there is a small stone monument to the memory of 400 people who died in 1847, at the height of the Great Famine, after walking from Louisburgh in a vain attempt to obtain help from a local authority meeting being held at Delphi Lodge.
is about 3 km from Doo Lough, and was given its name by lord Sligo, who saw the Oracle at Delphi in Greece while visiting the poet Lord Byron, and was struck by the similarity of this area to the original Delphi. Delphi Mountain Resort is a luxury hotel and supervised activity centre for residential and day visitors.
Continue along this scenic valley by the north shore of Killary Harbour
, enjoying superb views. This location was featured in the film The Field, which starred Richard Harris.
The pleasant village of Leenane
is your next stop. This gloriously located village is worth exploring before you continue on your journey.
Take the R336 through the wild and beautiful Joyce Country. At Maum Bridge, turn right for Maam Cross
, the 'Piccadilly of Connemara.'
This brings you to the N59, the main Galway/Clifden Road. Here, turn right towards Clifden. Along the way you will pass the beautiful Derryclare Lake, and the Dan O'Hara homestead - an 1840s, pre-famine farmstead. After visiting the lovely town of Clifden
, continue towards Letterfrack. As you leave Letterfrack
on the Leenane Road, you will see Kylemore Abbey, once a private home, now a convent. Letterfrack is also the entrance to Connemara National Park.
Drive to Leenane, continuing on the N59. You will pass by the Aasleagh Waterfall on the Erriff River. Driving along this road, you will pass through the Erriff Valley, with the Maumtrasna and Partry Mountains on your right and the Sheefry Hills on your left. It is a magnificent drive, with continually changing landscape. Driving towards Westport
, you will get still more views, this time, with Croagh Patrick on your left.