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The Four Provinces of Ireland: The Best Things to See and Do in Connacht

The Four Provinces of Ireland: The Best Things to See and Do in Connacht

Posted by Jessica Sommerfield on 19th Jun 2019

Historically, the Irish provinces were a group of kingdoms with squishy shifting borders and rich history and culture. Modern Ireland has four provinces: Leinster in the east, Connacht in the west, Ulster in the north, and Munster in the south. Every Wednesday this June, we're bringing you our travel guide to a different province. Last week, we looked at Munster, and this week, we're taking you to the rivers, islands, and forests of Connacht, home of Ireland's National Aquarium, the country's most famous national park, and more.

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Connacht is a region, actually, a province in Ireland which has a lot to offer regarding the tourist attraction sites that you can visit when you get here. The natural beauty that you get to experience when you get here is simply out of this world. It is one of the regions in Ireland, and also in the world that you have to visit at least once in your lifetime, but the more, the better. However, this is not the place to visit just at any time of the year; summer time is the best. Additionally, if you are in a position to visit the place as a group of friends, family or as couples, the fun will be one to remember for the rest of your life.

DOOLOUGH PASS, CO. MAYO

 (Chris Hill / Fáilte Ireland)

It is one of the few exciting valleys that you will enjoy visiting. It has breathtaking scenery more so during the sunset where the waters also provide a cool breeze to give you that calming effect after a long fun but tiresome day. The name Doo Lough means dark lake, though from the southern end it does not look dark on the surface. There are no people who live in the valley, and chances of also finding any wild animals are slim. The only animals you are likely to find here are sheep, which are quite harmless but also add to the scenic views. It is, therefore, a safe place to visit with beautiful backgrounds to take photos of the many smalls waterfalls on each side of the valley.

PARKES CASTLE, CO. LEITRIM

 (John Darcy / CC BY-SA 2.0 / via Geograph.ie)

It is a castle built in the 17th century that has been restored to allow people to visit it and marvel at the unique type of architectural designs in the entire castle. Robert Parke and his family owned the castle situated on the shores of the Lough Gill. The craftsmanship used in the restoration is of Irish origin which adds to the uniqueness of the castle. The castle design favors persons with disabilities since they can easily access any part of the castle.

AASLEAGH FALLS, CO. MAYO

 (Big Smoke Studio / Tourism Ireland)

You will be able to access these falls one kilometer north of the Galway border. The view is simply breathtaking; the Erriff River has mighty falls just before it joins the Killary Harbor. There is ample parking with adequate security as well as places to pose for photos and videos. There is also a pathway where you can walk down to the waterfall that is safe for use by all people. Additionally, there you also have an opportunity to fish salmon either alone as a group. You have the choice to seek professional assistance who will teach you how to fish, and the fun is simply over the board.

DUNGUAIRE CASTLE, CO. GALWAY

(Tourism Ireland)

It is also another castle located on the rocky shores of the Galway Bay. It is one of the buildings that you go to marvel at the architecture that is simple yet unique in an interesting kind of way. There is also a lovely village of Kanvara where you meet new people who have an interesting culture for you to enjoy. They have unique foods, clothes, and arts of work for you to enjoy and buy, perfect for souvenirs. Here, you will find many different places to sit and relax as you enjoy the cool breeze from the waters.

ASHLEEM BAY, CO. MAYO

This bay is located on the southern coast of the Achill Island looking down on the Ashleam Bay. It is one of the bays in the region with many colorful pebbles. The many cliffs form beautiful scenery some of which go up to 100 feet tall. It would be a great place to do rock climbing as well as take beautiful photos. There are also many high points where you can stand or sit as you take in the natural beauty of the entire Island. In this area, you do not have to walk too much to enjoy the scenery, sit and enjoy the views as well as the cool breeze under the sun.

DOGS BAY, CO. GALWAY

Dog's Bay Beach. (Big Smoke Studio / Tourism Ireland)

This one is located about two miles from the Roundstone on your way to the Clifden. Here you find two beaches, the best that you will find in the entire of Ireland. The Gurteen Beach and the Dog’s Bay are connected back to back forming a great view into the Atlantic Ocean. There is also the Roundstone village located close by where you get to enjoy the Irish culture ranging from food, clothes, and artwork. The white sandy beaches provide a great platform for you to enjoy basking under the sun. The beach is made up of seashells of different types, which would be a great experience for those who would like to collect for souvenirs. These shells are all white, making the shores unique.

ACHILLBEG ISLAND, CO. MAYO

It is a small island found in Mayo County. It is on the southern side of Achill Island, very close such that you can visit the two islands on the same day. Some people who lived here up to the 1960s but they relocated to the mainland. The reason for this relocation was so that the area could be developed to be a great tourist attraction site which it is today. There are also holiday homes in the area that you can use for accommodation when you visit the area and want to spend the night there. These holiday homes are not in use for the better part of the year, which means they are available for use, and in good condition during summer.

CONNEMARA NATIONAL PARK

(Tripsavvy.com)

It is one of the six national parks found in the entire of Ireland managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Department of Arts, Heritage, and Gaeltacht. Here you are treated to many views of the wild animals available here. You also get a guided tour of the park throughout the day. There is tight security in the region.Therefore, you can rest assured that you will enjoy the trip. There are also many views where you take photos from the unique exotic and indigenous trees found in the park. It is a place you should not miss out to see animals that you only see on television of photos.

KNOCKMORE MOUNTAIN, CLARE ISLAND, CO. MAYO

Located in Clare Island, Knockmore Mountain is accessible from the West Coast of Ireland near the entrance to the Clew Bay. Of all the Mayo offshore Islands, Clare Island is the biggest. There is a unique kind of terrain that you encounter here, varied in nature. Some parts that are flat and easy to walk on whereas, in other areas, there are sharp high cliffs that only experts can climb. Here you will also marvel at a wide variety of seabirds as well as many hills, bogs and small portions of woodlands which are perfect for a picnic. It is the ideal Island for hiking and night out camping with family and friends.

GLENDEER PET FARM, CO. ROSCOMMON

Fawns at Glendeer Pet Farm. (Glendeer Pet Farm)

The pet farm is best suited for those who love pets. Here you will have the chance to see the different types of pets, feed them, pet them as well as hold and play with them for as long as you want. There are animals like pigs, deer, emu, goats, sheep, monkeys, tortoise, wallabies and llamas. Some of these animals are not easily available in some parts of the world therefore when you are in Ireland and most particularly the Connacht area; then the Glendeer pet farm is a must visit area. You will have crazy fun while you are here.

MULLAGHMORE & BEN BULBEN, CO. SLIGO

It is one of the best of the holiday destinations that you will find in the area. There are beautiful ocean views as well as beautiful sunsets as well as sunrises. This area is ideal for outdoor water activities such as surfing, swimming and boat rides. Many professionals in the region are ready and willing to take you into the deep sea to enjoy the view, of course at a fee. There is also the Ben Bulben Mountain which is within the vicinity that you can also go for guided or unguided mountain climbing, hikes or even camping. The many tall natural trees provide the best climatic conditions and views during your trip. There are also unique types of rocks on the Ben Bulben Mountain found in this area known as the Ayres Rocks.

THE GALWAY ATLANTAQUARIA, CO. GALWAY

(Galway Daily)

It is the largest aquarium in the entire of Ireland. Therefore for the sea-life lovers, this is one place that you cannot fail to visit. In the warm weather, there are many types of sea creatures that are here hence you will be able to see them up close and even ask the many professionals who work here to give you more details about them. It is one place that the young ones who you may have come with them will find fun and will never forget. Here you will see the ray pool, touch pools, ocean tanks, and a fin whale skeleton. You will also engage in activities like feeding the fish and touching starfish and the crabs.

GLENCAR WATERFALL, CO. LEITRIM

(Chris Hill / Tourism Ireland)

Situated in the Glencar Lake, the Glencer Waterfall is eleven kilometers west of the Manorhamilton in the Leitrim County. Visit the waterfall when the water levels are high since this is the time when the waterfall has a large volume of water making it even more majestic to watch. However, even during the summer, the waterfall looks great, better than most waterfalls in the world, therefore, a site you have to visit. There are also other small waterfalls that you see from the road that you can also visit adding to the many sites that you enjoy in the region. They are also well accessible with safe pathways that lead to the bottom of the fall.

LOUGH KEY FOREST AND ACTIVITY PARK, CO. ROSCOMMON

It is an enclosed activity park that you can go into and have lots of fun. This place has something fun and unique for all ages and both genders. There is the Adventure play kingdom which will suit the needs of your children while those who are a bit older will fit in the Boda Borg Challenge to test the mental and physical skills of the older children.

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Have you been lucky enough to visit any of the sites we’ve mentioned here? Do you have a favorite Connacht spot we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below!