If there’s one place that must take priority on your next vacation in Ireland it’s the Sky Road in Clifden, Co Galway.
Sounding remarkably like something that belongs on "Game of Thrones," we can promise that the Sky Road will offer all of the spectacular views (with none of the violence and war from that show).
Sky Road, a seven-mile circular drive to the west of Clifden, offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden, and its offshore islands Inishturk and Turbot.
Step into your own little postcard-perfect world as you enter the small town of Clifden, nestled among the hills, before venturing out around Clifden Bay, Streamstown Bay, and around the Atlantic Coast.
Your journey begins in Clifden town where, even on rainy days, the colorful buildings lining the street will brighten your spirit. Fill up on a hearty Irish breakfast in any of their restaurants and cafés before following the Sky Road signs from Market Square out of town into some of Ireland’s most scenic landscapes.
The first stop along the road is just three-quarters of a mile outside of town but offers incredible views of Clifden's church steeples rising into the air. Stop alongside a sign that marks the footpath to Memorial Hill and a mile walk up you’ll come to a small monument that commemorates Clifden founder John D’Arcy. As you turn around you’ll get a great view of the 12 Ben Mountains in the background.
The next stop is Clifden Castle where you can park the car and walk ten minutes along the old farm road to explore the ruins.
After the castle you will have a decision to make: to travel along by the sea using the Low Road or to follow the Sky Road running parallel but higher up from the sea. The two unite again a few miles further along but by taking the Sky Road you’ll come to the Old Coast Guard Station some 500ft above sea level. Although the Low Road does take you closer to the sea, the Sky Road is favored because of the panoramic views it offers.
Once you reach the highest point, a large car park at the summit of the Sky Road offers spectacular views and photo opportunities galore where even the most untalented of us couldn’t fail to take an amazing picture to remind us of Ireland’s beauty.
The roads reconnect again at Eyrephort at the end of the peninsula and begin to loop back around to Clifden but not before treating you to the views of Streamstown Bay.
Clifden is often referred to as the Capital of Connemara, and you’ll return to 'the capital' at the end of the drive and so that you can further enjoy the lively town.
With Irish weather as it is, the risk of rain may keep you in the car, but the route can also be traveled on a bicycle or on foot, which is especially good for those who know they will wish to stop every few meters to take a picture!
*Originally published in August 2020. Updated in June 2023.