Area Highlights

  • White Sandy Beaches
  • Pony Trekking
  • Golf
  • Connemara Smokehouse
  • Seaside Walks
  • Mannin Bay Blueway
  • Surfing
  • Fishing
  • Derrygimla Bog Complex
  • Marconi Wireless Station

Description Of The Area

The village area known as Ballyconneely is located 9km south of Clifden on the R341 coastal road to Roundstone, on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is based on a peninsula that spreads out into the Atlantic Ocean towards Slyne Head, which is the most westerly point of Connemara. Ballyconneely’s proximity to Clifden, along with its scenic coasts and the wild appeal of its rugged landscape has resulted in the area being a popular tourist destination for many years. It is a quiet area surrounded by fabulous sandy beaches and low lying sandy grassland. The rocky promontories and wild coast off the western tip of the Ballyconneely peninsula are home to many species of seabird, seals and other marine creatures, and patient watching can lead to sightings of dolphins and even whales. In midsummer the lucky birdwatcher can hear the corncrake. Activities in the area include pony trekking, golf, fishing and many scenic walks and cycles. The village of Ballyconneely has two well provisioned shops one of which includes a post office. The village also has a filling station, a community hall and a Church. Keoghs Bar is a great spot for a pint and a bite to eat and lots of nightly entertainment. A fully equipped children’s playground is located adjacent to the community hall. The main beaches in the area are the famous Coral Strand at Derrygimla, one of only two coral beaches on the West Coast of Ireland, Mannin Beach close to Knock Hill, and Dunlaughan Beach, which is located in one of the most secluded and beautiful areas in Connemara with grassy walks featuring lakes, secluded coves and a wild Atlantic shoreline. The lakes and beaches are also of great interest to the angler, with brown trout in the lakes. There are some good shore angling marks where a great variety of species can be caught. A favourite angling spot is Aillebrack Pier, where Pollock, flatfish and surprisingly large conger can be caught. The pier itself is a busy fishing pier where local fishermen depart from most days, and if you are lucky, and you happen to be at the pier on their return, you may even get some fresh fish to cook at your holiday cottage. Close to the pier, under the shadow of Doon Hill, stand the ruins of a castle once owned by the “Pirate Queen” Grace O’Malley. Atop Doon Hill are the remains of the old coast-watching post. Ballyconneely is renowned for the famous Connemara pony which are very plentiful in the area. Many champion ponies were bred here. You are sure to see a friendly Connemara pony in many of the fields along the many roads and “boreens”. Legend has it that the breed originated when Arabian horses came ashore from a Spanish Shipwreck near Slyne Head and inter-bred with the small native pony. Every year, in July, Ballyconneely hosts a Connemara Pony Show in the show field in the village. The Point Pony Trekking Centre at Keeraunmore, Ballyconneely provides pony trekking on along the beaches and commonage. Connemara Golf Club serves the golfer well with its 27 hole links course on the south western side of the peninsula. Green Fees are available to non-members and the bar and restaurant in the club house have a menu to suit all requirements. The panoramic views of the ocean, castle ruins and vast countryside from the Golf Club bar are not to be missed. The Connemara Smokehouse in Aillebrack is a well known multi-award winning family owned business selling wonderful smoked salmon and other seafood’s. Graham and Saoirse Roberts offer tours of their factory and will show you around if you wish to arrange a tour with them. Not far from the Golf Club, at Keeraunmore, is the holy well of St. Caillin. St. Caillin was a local saint and, like St. MacDara, has had a long affinity with seafarers and fishermen. The well has been a popular place of pilgrimage for centuries and is visited by many pilgrims on St. Caillin’s Day, November 13th. Ballyconneely has many historical associations: In 1854, the first salmon ranching operation in the British Isles was carried out on the Dohulla Fishery. In 1919, the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown ended two miles away in Derrygimla Bog, where they misjudged the nature of the bog and crash landed. The crash landing was near the Marconi Telegraph Station, built in 1905, which was used to send the first transatlantic wireless message, to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, in 1907. On the 3rd of July 2005, the intrepid Steve Fossett together with Mark Reboltz co-pilot navigator flew a replica Vickers Vimy Atlantic bi-plane from Newfoundland to Clifden along the same flight path, landing on the 8th Fairway at Connemara Championship Golf Links course in Ballyconneely. The Marconi site in Derrygimlagh is listed as a discovery point along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Map Of The Area