Connemara & Galway

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Since moving to Dublin I’ve been trying to explore different parts of the island and see more than just the city. So, with reading week upon us at Trinity and a few friends in tow, Wednesday seemed as good a day as any for an adventure! We headed out to Cong, Connemara and Galway for a day of green landscapes, delicious pints, and lots of wind.

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The little town of Cong (population 185) is very sweet and has a little downtown complete with a duck pond, historic abbey, and cafe serving homemade breads and local smoked salmon. It’s also home of The Quiet Man, a 1952 movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, which seems to still be quite a point of pride in Cong. The whole movie is available on youtube if you feel so inclined…

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Between Cong and Galway, we drove through the beautiful landscapes of Connemara. The area is home to the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland, Lough Corrib, which covers 176km² and is dotted with small islands and the remains of ancient castles. Keep driving and you’ll also find seemingly endless peat bogs and adorable Connemara ponies.

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We didn’t get to spend as much time in Galway as I would have liked, but we still got a chance to walk around Eyre Square and the Latin Quarter while sipping cozy lattes. We each picked up a Claddagh ring (cause we’re cheese balls), which is a traditional Irish ring representing love, friendship, and loyalty that actually originated in Galway in the 17th century. Finally, the cold got to us and we ducked in for creamy pints at Kennedy’s, an old man bar named for US President JFK after he stopped in on his trip to Galway in 1963.

If you get a chance to go to the Western coast of Ireland, I would definitely recommend it. The scenery out there is incredibly beautiful – I would have loved to have spent more time wandering through Connemara National Park and to visit Galway’s coastal regions. Next time, I’m also taking a trip to the Galway City Museum and grabbing a pint at the all Irish speaking pub. Until then!