Connemara & Galway Bay Day Tour

Single Day Tour Starts in Dublin, Heuston Station & Ends in Dublin, Heuston Station

Tour highlights

Travel West By Train

An enchanting day tour to the glorious West of Ireland where John Ford filmed "The Quiet Man". You will arrive through Galway, also known as the City of the Tribes, see Kylemore Abbey and explore Connemara which means "inlets of the sea".

Itinerary

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Depart from Dublin to Galway

Check-in for 07:35 departure from Dublin Heuston Station, opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway, which is now the official principal station of Iarnród Éireann, Ireland’s national railway company.

As your train departs, you will travel in a south westerly direction, through Dublin's western suburbs and then through the lush fertile countryside of Co. Kildare. Your journey will take you through the Curragh, which is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby, and there are many stud farms in the vicinity. The route goes on into the midlands and the Bog of Allen, vast tracts of peat-land. Before then, you will pass through the County Town of Tullamore and then to Clara across the gentle farmlands of north Offaly. The train crosses the Shannon, which marks an historic border between the province of Leinster and Connacht –the historic province of the West of Ireland. You are now heading due west, surrounded by peat bog on both sides of the line. On the last few kilometres before Galway, you will get your first glimpse of Galway Bay.

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Galway City and Connemara

Itinerary for Departures on Tuesday and Friday

The tour today departs from right outside Galway Railway Station named in 1966 after one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising – Eamon Ceannt. You will go around Eyre Square (John F Kennedy Park) in the center of Galway City before crossing the River Corrib on the Salmon Leap bridge, passing University College Galway, through the Galway suburbs and then striking out in a north westerly direction towards the savage beauty of Connemara. With glimpses of the mighty Lough Corrib (Ireland’s second largest lake) on your right hand side. You will soon pass through the village of Moycullen and enter Ireland’s Gaeltacht, or Irish speaking area. The tour will continue through the lovely village of Oughterard, where you will begin smelling the aroma of Ireland – the peat or turf fires and their unique blue smoke, which has a wonderful fragrance! You now emerge into the spectacular scenery of Connemara – mountains, lakes - all there to behold!

In the summer of 1951 the Irish American Hollywood film director John Ford (his real name was John O’ Feeney) fulfilled his lifetime ambition to film ’The Quiet Man’ using the wonderful backdrop of Connemara as his Mainstage. You will now visit one of the locations – Leam Bridge, better known now as The Quiet Man bridge where Barry Fitzgerald and John Wayne stopped on their way from Castletown railway station to the mythical Innisfree!

From here on your journey today you will start to notice the remains of the much missed Galway to Clifden railway line, which ran parallel to your route – this spectacular branch line was closed in 1935!

Itinerary for Departures on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday

Arrive in Galway. Your conducted tour of Connemara leaves Galway to the village of Moycullen. From Moycullen the road rises and falls towards the lovely village of Oughterard on the shores of Lough Corrib, traditionally regarded as Ireland’s premier angling center. Now the gateway to Connemara opens and the breathtaking colors of this unspoiled countryside are revealed in all their natural splendor.

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Comfort stop at the Maam Cross

Itinerary for Departures on Tuesday and Friday

You will stop at Peacockes hotel and Tavern at Maam Cross – the Crossroads of Connemara. Here you will have a comfort stop with time for, perhaps, an Irish Coffee and/or some shopping. You might have time for a quick look at the former Maam Cross railway station – now the location of a very exciting restoration project, which aims to restore the station and a section of the old Galway to Clifden railway line – see www.connemararailway.ie for more information.

You will then proceed towards the hamlet of Maam and make your way down the Maam Valley between the majestic Twelve Bens and Maamturk mountains! This area is known as Joyce Country and is where anyone in the world called Joyce has their roots! The tour will pause next at the pretty little village of Leenane, magnificently situated at the head of Killary Harbour – Ireland’s only true fjord, nine miles from the ocean.

Itinerary for Departures on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday

At Maam Cross, there is a replica of the cottage used in the 1950s John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara film "The Quiet Man", which was filmed there. From Maam Cross, your tour heads out to Leenane, Kylemore Abbey and Letterfrack, in the shadow of purple mountains rolling down to blue and green rocky valleys, reflecting the rich and varied colors of Connemara. 

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Kylemore Abbey & Letterfrack Village

Your tour will continue on through fabulous scenery to stunning Kylemore Abbey, built by Mitchell Henry as a home for his Bride in the mid nineteenth century. It is now a Benedictine Convent and is open to visitors. You will stop here for almost two hours with time for lunch (not included) and exploring – including the beautiful Victorian Walled Garden and the Gothic Church.

You will continue through the Kylemore Pass and the village of Letterfrack and start skirting Bays and inlets of the sea/ocean which adds to Connemara’s attractiveness! 

 

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Connemara’s Capital, the Town of Clifden

Itinerary for Departures on Tuesday and Friday

Soon, you are back on the Wild Atlantic Way and making your way around Streamstown Bay, before climbing steeply up the really spectacular Sky Road, where you will have a truly satisfying photo stop with phenomenal views of the wild Atlantic Ocean! You will then descend into Connemara’s Capital, the lovely town of Clifden, for a comfort stop where there will be time for some shopping – or even a pint!

You will leave Clifden and start making your way back to Galway through more breathtaking scenery – with a comfort stop at Maam Cross – if required. You will arrive back in Galway, the City of the Tribes – by 06:30pm.

Itinerary for Departures on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday

The colorful town of Clifden has been one of Ireland's leading holiday resorts for generations. It is an excellent touring center beloved by the walker, the biker, the hiker or the fisherman. It was here too, at Derrygimlagh Bog near Clifden, that aviation history was made when Alcock and Brown crash landed after their historic transatlantic flight in 1919.

Back at Maam Cross again and the road turns southwards now through the Screeb, Costello and Rossaveal. Rossaveal is the departure point for ferryboats to the Aran Islands and is also a major fishing port. You are now in the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking area of Connemara where Gaelic or Irish is still the everyday spoken language of all bilingual people. 

You will leave Clifden and start making your way back to Galway through more breathtaking scenery – with a comfort stop at Maam Cross – if required. You will arrive back in Galway, the City of the Tribes – by 06:30pm.

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Return to Dublin

You will be returning to Dublin Heuston at 09:45pm.

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In association with Iarnród Éireann, Irish Rail, Railtours Ireland First Class offer Independent Travellers the chance to see a great portion of Ireland that they would not ordinarily be able to experience comfortably in 1 or more days.

All tours / vacations with accommodation included are guaranteed departures. With fast, comfortable Intercity trains and luxury coaches we offer wonderful vacations.

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The Railtours Ireland First Class team: Peter, Jennifer, Fiona, Melena, David and Mervyn - all Ireland experts are here to advise, plan and book your Railtours Ireland First Class vacation. We look forward to welcoming you to Ireland and on board our service. 

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What's included

  • Return Rail Travel
  • Reserved Seats on the train
  • Railtours Ireland Host throughout
  • Visitor Attraction Admissions
  • Escorted Coach.
  • Intimate Group Sizes.

Visitor Attraction Admissions included: Kylemore Abbey & Gardens

Note: Check-in is 20 minutes prior to Train Departure Time. Customer Service Desk at Heuston Station where Railtours Ireland Check-In representative will be in their yellow jacket!

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