Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Connemara in the West of Ireland …

Pictures by Bill Heaney and Heather Greer

Call in at Cleggan for the craic

Cleggan Bofin road signCleggan is a fishing village on the road to Inishbofin, an island on the Wild Atlantic Way. There are some great places to stay such as Josephine DeCourcey’s B and B and Oliver’s, the village pub which has great food and accommodation. There’s also the Pier Bar and Newman’s which is famous for its music sessions. Not forgetting Mary Sweeney and Malachy King’s Strand Bar over in Claddaghduff. Josephine’s Hazelbrook Farmhouse is at decourceyhazelbrook@eircom.net; Noreen Higgins is at Oliver’s oliverscleggan@gmail.com; Bernie Hughes is at coisnamara@hotmail.com; Marian Feeney is at oceanwavefeeney@yahoo.com; Eileen Mulkerrin is at +353 (0)95 44679 and Loretta O’Malley is at harbour.house@oceanfree.net      These are all handy numbers for a comfortable place to lay down your weary head for a night, a week or a fortnight in a place that’s blessed with quiet when you want it and full of music and sport when you don’t.

Pictures by Bill Heaney

Clifden is icing on the Connemara cake

Clifden is the capital of Connemara. It’s the place for food, fashion, fishing, fun and the Arts, which has a festival all of its own – probably one of the best in Ireland – every September with poets, musicians, choirs, writers and theatre groups. It has one of the best hotels in the country, The Station House. And some of the finest restaurants. The Abbey Glen Hotel and the Alcock and Brown are first class. But if you’re just a coffee and scones woman then there is Walsh’s bakery, where the selection of bread and cakes is outstanding. They do all day breakfasts there, of course. There are art galleries and in Millar’s of Connemara, the proprietor Triona Sweeney has state of the art fashions from Ireland’s top designers. Stanley’s has all the kit you’ll ever need for hill walking and fishing – and tweeds and Aran jumpers.  The Clifden Bookshop has a electic selection of books and special greetings cards. Nicole or Maire will welcome you there. Golf can be wonderful at the Connemara Club, a championship course to test the skills of the lowest handicapped players. Horse riding is a a given. And there’s the annual Connemara Pony Show. Bikes are for hire at Mannion’s.

It’s a grand way to see the Sky Road and the unsurpassed views from the top of the hill looking out to the Atlantic. EJ King’s is one of the most popular bars and it has a colourful history which you can learn all about over pint of stout and a half dozen oysters. Mannion’s, Griffiths’, Vaughan’s, Tom King’s and other good pubs have been there since cattle were sold in the street outside St Joseph’s Church. The Station House Hotel has great food and drink, a museum, its own busy theatre and cinema. If you want to have dinner then Mitchell’s , Marconi or Guy’s are amongst the best places. Gifts from Connemara Blue glassware created before your very eyes are most unusual and you’ll get something for a sore head or sunburn at Noreen Casey’s or Moran’s Medical Hall. Book now at the Station House Hotel – and tell them I sent you round. Enjoy a nightcap listening to Barry Ryan on the grand piano and songs from his girlfriend Sally which range from Paul Simon to Paul Brady. There are no strangers in Clifden, just friends you have yet to meet. Oh, and there is complimentary WIFI in every warm and comfortable bedroom. Bill Heaney travelled with Stena Line


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