Westport, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Republic of Ireland

Westport, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Republic of Ireland (6/29-30/2016)

Connemara National Park Ireland
Connemara National Park - Ireland
Driving between Galway and Sligo, there are some wonderful things to do. We choose to take a hike from the Connemara Visitor’s Centre, visit the Kylemore Abbey, visit the National Museum of Country Life, and stay in Westport.

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey Ireland
Kylemore Abbey - Ireland
Kylemore Abbey (see photo) is beautiful and should be included in your visit to the northwest of the Republic of Ireland. Located north of Connemara about 2 miles east of the town of Letterfrack on N59, Kylemore Abbey is magnificently situated on a gorgeous lake. The Victorian walled gardens are remarkable winning the Europa Nostra Award in 2001.

New Oak Grove Kylemore Abbey Garden Ireland
New Oak Grove 
at Kylemore Abbey Garden
Be sure to visit the beautiful Kylemore Abbey Garden (see photo) reached through a woodlands walk or by the shuttle bus that comes around every 15 minutes. Guided tours are offered of the gardens.

Because Kylemore Abbey is still being used by the Benedictine nuns, only a few rooms are available for viewing but they are nice and there is a movie to watch about the history of this site. It’s the spectacular building, setting, and garden that makes Kylemore Abbey a great place to visit. Kylemore Abbey gets very busy during the peak summer season.

Connemara Visitor’s Centre - Connemara National Park

Pat Dunlap New Friend Connemara National Park Ireland Horse
Pat has New Friend - 
Connemara National Park, Ireland
The Connemara National Park is a wonderfully beautiful area of unspoiled landscapes famous for The Twelve Pins (sometimes called Bens). It has thousands of acres of scenic mountains, bogs, grasslands, and woodlands.

Outside Connemara Visitor’s Centre Ireland
Outside Connemara Visitor’s Centre
A good place to enjoy this area is from the Connemara Visitor’s Centre (free admission and parking - see photo) open March through October. Start with viewing the interesting museum that explains the bogs in the area and how people made their living here. 

 Hiking Horse Connemara National Park Ireland
While Hiking - Horse in 
Connemara National Park, Ireland

Hikes of various lengths (15, 30, 60 minutes) are clearing laid out with the longer hikes reaching even better views. We did the 15-minute wooded hike that goes through beautiful woods, ferns, and waterfalls. Do treat yourself to this walk. We also did the 30-minute hike for view across open fields to the small mountains here. The Visitor’s Centre is located near the town of Letterfrack on N59.

National Museum of Country Life

National Museum of Country Life Ireland
National Museum of Country Life - Ireland
Exhibit in Turlough Park -
National Museum of Country Life
We liked visiting the award-winning National Museum of Country Life is about Irish rural life between 1850 and 1950. As part of the museum, Turlough Park, built in 1865, is a country home and has unique presentations showing how tough life was for people living in this area reminding Irish people of their heritage and giving good insight to visitors of the Irish people. 

Exhibits include actual artifacts and interactive displays giving a great overview of country life, hardships, politics, famine, and progress. After our visit, we truly appreciate who the Irish people are and what they have gone through.


Westport Ireland
Westport, Ireland
Westport is a pretty town (see photo) that makes for a nice stop when visiting this area. It has a good selection of accommodations, pubs, restaurants, and a nice theatre with quality live Irish performances. Westport is a real Irish town and traditional Irish music flows nightly from its atmospheric pubs. We liked our visit to the Westport House where you will be able to tour 30 rooms full of period furnishing and learn about the history of Westport’s landed upper class.

Beer drinkers: It is not a myth that Guinness beer tastes better in Ireland. It most certainly does! Although a wonderful beer anywhere in the world, a slightly different process is done for the beer made for export. So, drink up and enjoy.

Beautiful Irish Countryside
Beautiful Irish Countryside
Travel advise about visiting Ireland: While visiting Ireland, we learned a few important lessons. The beauty of our Ireland experience was more about the genuine Irish people and beauty of the countryside and less so about how many important sites and buildings there are to visit. We found the best pub experience in the world in Ireland. So, slow down, enjoy the vibrantly green countryside, the Irish people, and visit a pub or two when you ‘fancy a pint’.

Galway City, Ireland

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