Clifden ecoCampsite Awarded Gold Standard in Ecotourism

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Clifden ecoCampsite are delighted to have achieved a Gold Standard Award by EcoTourism Ireland. EcoTourism Ireland is one of the first eco labels in Europe to be recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Connemara Wild Atlantic Way

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Clifden eco Beach Camping & Caravanning Park is situated on the shores of the beautiful scenic 'Wild Atlantic Way' at the estuary of Streamstown Bay. Unique to the park is an ecosystem called 'Machair', listed as a priority habitat in Ireland under the EU Habitats Directive. This is a highly specialized & complex sand dune habitat system that is confined globally to the north West Coast of Ireland & Scotland. It comprises a flat or gently undulating sandy plain that develops in an oceanic location with a cool, moist climate resulting in rich bio-diversity.

To date eight species of bumblebee occupy this Machair habitat, additionally the ecosystem borders the West Connacht SAC. These are marine habitats which are important for Bottlenose Dolphins that frequent these shores. Seven Natura sites are within a 5 km radius of our campsite with Natura 2000 being a European network of important ecological sites.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Clifden Arts Festival 2013 Accommodation Clifden ecoCamping

Posted on August 31, 2013 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to the 36th Clifden Arts Festival

We would like to welcome all visitors, patrons, new friends and old to the 36th Clifden Community Arts Festival. As each September rolls around an artistic energy pulses through Clifden as music, poetry, theatre, dance and the visual arts come together to enthrall and entertain. None of these events could exist without YOU the audience.

Omey Races

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Omey Races On Omey Strand Omey Strand, Galway

Sunday 28th July 2013


Omey Races (horse racing on the beach) on Omey Strand Omey is a tidal island located near Claddaghduff, a few miles from Clifden, in the western edge of Connemara.


There is a route across the sand to the island and, at high tide, the water is deep enough to cover a car. To help in the last moments before the water becomes too deep, there are conventional street signs to indicate the highest route.


Date to be confirmed (reliant on Tides)


The start time depends on the tide but usually around midday and of course the finish time also depends on the tide. Omey Island is about a mile long by a mile wide. Among the sand dunes on the island lie the ruins of a small medieval church, which stands on the site of a monastery, founded by St. Feichin, in the seventh century.

Festival Of the Sea 2013

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We are delighted to able to announce details of the PROGRAMME FOR THE 2013 CLEGGAN-CLADDAGHDUFF FESTIVAL OF THE SEA!

The Council/Committee have been working hard to produce a diverse programme of events, which closely reflects the 2012 programme. Some of the details may have to change; whenever we hear of a change, we will update the details on this site.8)

Connemara Bog Week 2013

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

What’s Connemara Bog Week?


Connemara Bog Week 2013 is an authentic ten day celebration of a unique landscape and a rich culture. This award winning festival has been running since 1984 and involves the whole community, and presents a real colourful slice of Connemara culture

Who’s performing?


Enjoy the best of trad music featuring some of the finest musicians in the country playing music with style and passion. Local musicians such as Liz & Yvonne Kane, Johnny Connolly, Marcus Hernon, Marie Walsh are joined by special guests such as Conor Keane, Sean Tyrell, Mary Staunton, Josephine Marsh, Siobhan Peoples, McCarthy Sisters to name but a few.


A special feature of Connemara life is the traditional singing and dancing and this is a core element of the festival featuring such artists as The Devaney Brothers, Micheal O’Cuaig, Johnny Mhairtin Larry and Emma O’Sullivan

Something for Everyone!


Art exhibitions; sports events; parish walks with their unique blend of scientists and artists; music workshops, sean nos workshops; and a family fun day are all on the menu. There really is something for everyone at the Connemara Bog Week 2013   

Connemara Adventure Challenge 2013 Clifden Campsite Accommodation

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

May 11th 2013 - Clifden Campsite Accommodation on the Beach 8)

This is Connemara at its best – trails, bog, rugged peaks and choppy green water.

Connemara Adventure Challenge may not be the longest race on the calendar but it is a super training race for the more experienced adventure racer and an ideal tester race for the less experienced.

Taking you from Killary Fjord across the foothills of the Maam Turks, along the Western Way to the Inagh valley and finally back to the Fjord. Three disciplines are involved – trail/mountain running or walking, kayaking and cycling – over a 31km course of spectacular beauty and natural challenge.

Kylemore Abbey & Victoran Walled Gardens/Clifdenecocamping

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Kylemore Abbey is the ideal destination for a day out in majestic Connemara. Located about an hour’s drive from Galway City, a visit to Kylemore will rank as an unforgettable memory.


The dramatic landscape and iconic image of a gothic castle reflected in a Connemara lake has made Kylemore Abbey world-famous and it is now the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland.


The Benedictine nuns invite visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the Abbey's restored rooms, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house. Learn of the tales of tragedy and romance, the engineering initiatives, model farms, royal visits and the Abbey's former role as a girls boarding school.


Explore the many nature trails,woodland walks and the magical award-winning walled garden where in keeping with its Victorian heritage, only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown.


Mitchell’s café and the tea house offers home-cooked food made from recipes perfected by the Benedictine nuns and using fresh vegetables and herbs from the walled garden.


The craft shop has a wide selection of design-focused Irish giftware including artisan food products, knitwear, pottery, art and handcrafts made by the Benedictine nuns at Kylemore.


Choirs travel from around the world to Kylemore Abbey to sing in the Gothic church with its superb acoustics. All are welcome to attend the choral performances and admittance is included in the Kylemore entry fee. Check the Abbey's website for upcoming choral performances.


Clifden eco-Campsite - Ireland's islands beacons of responsible tourism

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

‘IF you could pick one place in Ireland which is a beacon of responsible tourism, where would it be?’ a government official asked me recently.


Catherine’s son paddling while waiting for pizza at Cape Clear off the coast of West Cork. (Photos: Catherine Mack)I had to think it over carefully, and eventually said, ‘If I could recommend an Irish region which embraces so many of the issues relating to sustainability in tourism, I would say, go visit our islands. Because not only are they remote and off the beaten track, but tourism is vital for their very survival. 

‘From the minute you step on the ferry, you are putting income into the local economy and helping families find ways in which they can encourage their children to stay put for generations to come. Many islands don’t allow cars, they have plenty of cycle hire facilities, walking routes, as well as a plethora of small locally owned accommodation.

‘Some do struggle in terms of shops, which means that you end up bringing your own food , but there is almost always a pub that you can support. And, in terms of sustaining local culture, you can’t beat most of the islands in terms of traditional culture.’

So, if you have a weekend to spare, just pick an island and head straight there. Even if you just go for a couple of nights, you will feel as if you have been away for a week. A good starting point is Discover Ireland’s website, where they have excellent information on just twenty-six of our main islands (, from how to get there, where to stay, where to eat and things to do. However, most of us love the fact that there is, in fact, very little to do on these islands, except walking, exploring and generally absorbing the solace and solitude.

And keep an eye out for David Walsh’s book, Oileáin, in which he writes about hundreds of our offshore hideaways, due out in November (

There are, however, some stunning festivals and events to keep an eye out for too, a couple of which I list below. So, here is an introduction to island enlightenment, with just a few of my favourite spots, where you can switch off from the mainland and mainstream.

And hope that the weather is wonderful for when you arrive, and terrible for your departure because that’s the danger of some of our islands, you just have to risk getting stuck there if the rain comes in. Always a blessing, in my book.

1. The West Cork Fit Up Festival must be one of the most exciting reasons to visit one of our nearby islands, if you need an excuse that is. Running from now until August 19th, you still have time to book one of many superb performances from some of our leading theatre companies and performers, who are touring in traditional fit-up style to Bere Island, Heir Island, Sherkin Island. It is one of the most inspired festivals in a long time, with concessions available for some of the ferries and early bird meals being served in local hostelries. Get in quick though at

2. Omey island is off the coast of Connemara and you could almost miss it on a drive down the coast as you pass its nearest mainland stop off in Claddaghduff Village. You can walk out to Omey using the well signposted tidal route when the water is out, and spend a day walking on its white sands or camp on it as you watch the water creep in and separate you from land. One Omey expert is artist Sean Corcoran, who has created a beautiful map of it (, or you could camp at Acton’s eco campsite ( with its exquisite location overlooking Omey, so you have a pub nearby (Sweeney’s in Claddaghduff) when the tide comes in. For a longer stint discovering Connemara’s islands, check out Connemara Walking Safaris (walkingconnemara. com) which takes you on island-hopping holidays.

3. Clare Island, County Mayo (not county Clare as many believe) was one of the first islands I visited and I still love it even if the boat journey has made me sick on several occasions.

There are many places to stay here, including Clare Island Yoga Retreat, an exemplary green getaway ( However, if, like me, you aren't into counting chakras, just grab a room in one of their cottages when there are no courses on. They will provide the most fantastic, vegetarian, organic food for you, yoga or no yoga.  While you are there, make sure you visit Beth Moran’s Ballytoughey Loom ( for wonderful weaving. Or if you want an excuse to stay longer, take part in one of her weaving, spinning and natural dyeing weekend and week-long workshops (March to October).

4. Inis Meain claims to be one of the least-visited Aran Islands, although with its eco gem  Inis Meain Restaurant and Suites ( making international headlines over the last year, I am not sure this is still the case. Run by green and gorgeous couple Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse de Blacam, this sensitively designed hotel, or restaurant with rooms really, is so beautiful it moved me to tears when I stayed there. It’s not cheap, and nor should it be, with home grown produce, fine seasonal cuisine, eco chic design, and the sort of hospitality which, although you say this will be just a once in a lifetime treat, will have you saving up for your return visit as soon as possible. There are only four rooms and one self-catering apartment, so book in advance for that special sumptuous, sustainable occasion.

5. If you haven’t been there already, then the yurts which sit on the edge of a cliff on Cape Clear, are a must. There are only a handful of yurt camps in Ireland, but Chleire Haven's ( owners Sally and Dave, really picked the right site for this one. Choose between a fully equipped yurt, with cooker, proper beds, copious bedding, and wood burning stove, or tipis which are more basic, with camping mattresses, blankets, and no stove, so bring your own sleeping bag and cooking equipment. There is also a great shop, An Siopa Beag , on the island to cater for all your needs, with a restaurant attached, so you can eat their delicious homemade pizzas overlooking the pier, raise a glass and decide to miss yet another boat home.

6. Rathlin Island off the North Antrim Coast is most famous for its superb bird sanctuary ( and often their calls are all that is to be heard here, merging with the natural music of the Atlantic waves. However, the first thing you see when you get your land legs is The Manor House (, a charming eco-friendly guest house which has played a huge role in the history of the island and, in more recent times, fell into the hands of National Trust.  Islander Damien McFaul and his wife Ksenia manage it, using a plethora of their own produce to supply their restaurant, where the menu is a smorgasbord of local fish and seafood.

7. Kevin Currid of Lough Allen Adventure Centre ( in Leitrim, has devised a Wilderness Therapy weekend on a secret island location on the Lough because, as he says, ‘I just want people to find out what wilderness really means.

 There isn’t much of it left in Ireland and after participating in this weekend, people can go off and discover a bit of wilderness close to home, even if it’s at the bottom of their garden.’  Created originally for school groups, it became so popular that adults started to enquire about it. They make rafts by tying canoes together with barrels, shelters out of ponchos, build fires and forage, cook outdoors, sleep in hammocks, and laugh a lot.

8. Trinity Island Lodge in Cavan ( is a wonderful eco lodge on its own forested island, with a small causeway linking it to land. With free use of canoes and rowing boats, this is one of the most superb locations from which to explore Lough Oughter just a stone’s throw away, literally, but also some of the other hundreds of lakes that Cavan is famous for. Owner Tom O’Dowd knows the lakes like the back of his hand, showing me the quick way into Killeshandra by boat to get a bit of shopping and being infectiously enthusiastic about his beloved, beautiful and totally underrated county.

• Follow Catherine’s travels and writing on , Ethical Traveller on Facebook and @catherinemack on Twitter. You can also buy her app Ireland Green

Clifden eco-Campsite - Connemara National Park

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Walk of the week: Diamond Hill, Connemara, Co Galway 

Diamond Hill is, first and last, a proper mountain. It is easy to think of it as a tame lump, scarcely worth the attention of a proper walker.

I've got to admit that's exactly what I pictured when I heard about its neatly waymarked trails, its convenient proximity to the Connemara National Park Visitor Centre and its suitability for all ages and stages (suitably fit and equipped).

Lord forgive me for my snobbery.

Now I've climbed Diamond Hill, I respect it as a real Connemara mountain. It might not be one of the true apostles, the Twelve Bens themselves, but at 1,460 feet (445m) of climb from sea level it's a really good challenge for non-mountaineers -- a true people's mountain, Everyman's Peak.

What you see from the Visitor Centre is a shapely cone, high against the eastern sky, diamond shaped. On this bright morning it glittered like a diamond, too, as the west Galway sunshine reflected off the polished quartzite that forms the mountain.

I grabbed a leaflet showing the panorama on view from the peak, and made off up the trail through birch scrub and boggy grassland trickling with yesterday's rain.

The path steepened through a wide bogland, full of milky pale marsh orchids and pink fairy bonnets of lousewort, to reach a monolithic stone at the halfway point.

Here was the place to halt and take in the really stupendous view back over Barnaderg Bay and Ballynakill Harbour, the sea-beast profiles of Inishbofin and Inishark out beyond the jaws of the inlet.

Tully Mountain loomed dome-shaped over the harbour, and to the north Kylemore Lough stretched away towards the blunt wall of the Maumturk Mountains.

From here the blue trail fell away towards the valley, and the red Upper Diamond trail, very well-engineered and drained, forged on upwards alone.

Now the cone shape of the mountain changed to a long, knobbly spine upheld against the clouds. Streamlets chinked and trickled unseen.

A scattered chain of climbers ascended the path -- French, German, American, Japanese, Danish and, yes, Irish too.

A tiny tot in pink trainers went staggering up behind her big sister, all of six years old and very keen to scamper straight to the top. Mum puffed hard in the rear and called unavailingly for a little breather.

Some silver scramblers overtook me, striding along. It was good to be climbing the mountain in such varied company, everyone armed with a greeting or a wry comment.

The path steepened further, zig-zagging up through the rough quartzite. Feral goats surveyed the rabble with utter indifference from precarious perches on the edge of the mountain.

Up at the top, jolly parties gathered round the big cairn to add a pebble and pat each other on the back.

Now we could see east into the heart of the Twelve Bens, a dun and olive semi-circle of peaks and ridges, like a wire bent into sharp undulations under an army blanket.

The downward path led back to the halfway stone, then on down through sphagnum bog and a valley of flowering gorse and rowan trees.

When I looked up, I saw that the mountain had shifted shape once more, the monster spine reverting to the handsome gleaming cone I'd admired at the start of the day.

The 'Gazetteer' that accompanies Tim Robinson's definitive 'Folding Landscape' map of Connemara has an elliptical entry on Diamond Hill. "It was said," remarks Robinson in his dry way, "that the poet Mac Suibhne would have climbed it had there been a tavern on top." By all accounts Mícháel Mac Suibhne was fond of the odd glass, and of pretty girls too.

It's a shame he never made it to the top of Diamond Hill. He could well have found one, if not the other, up there, and the view from the summit would inspire a log of wood to verse, let alone a poet like Mac Suibhne.

What a treasure he might have bequeathed us.

Christopher Somerville


MAP: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery 37; ‘Folding Landscapes’ map and ‘Gazetteer’ Connemara’ (foldinglandsca; downloadable map/instructions at discover

TRAVEL: Bus ( to Letterfrack: 419 Galway- Clifden, 421 Galway-Westport. Road: Connemara National Park Centre is signposted off N59 Clifden- Leenane road in Letterfrack.

WALK DIRECTIONS: 4 trails, in order of difficulty: Ellis Wood (½ mile, green waymarks); Sruffaunboy (1 mile, yellow waymarks); Lower Diamond Hill (2 miles, blue waymarks); Upper Diamond Hill (2¼ miles). The walk described follows Upper Diamond Hill from Visitor Centre to the summit and back to the Big Stone. Left here on the Bog Trail, back to Visitor Centre. LENGTH: 4½ miles — allow 2-3 hours.

GRADE: Hard.

CONDITIONS: Good path, duckboards or steps underfoot; many stone drainage gullies. Upper Diamond Hill a steep, rough ascent, but active children can make it to the top. Take raingear, a snack and drink. Avoid upper section in bad weather.

DON’T MISS: Connemara National Park Visitor Centre; wild goats; fabulous 360° views from summit.

REFRESHMENTS: Visitor Centre.

ACCOMMODATION: Abbey Glen Hotel, Clifden. Tel: 095 21201; GUIDE LEAFLET: ‘Diamond Hill Panorama’ leaflet from Visitor Centre.

INFORMATION: Local walking guides: Connemara Geographic. Tel: 087 222 8538; Visitor Centre: Letterfrack. Tel: 095 41054/41006;

- Christopher Somerville


Connemara National Park

Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park's mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.

Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purposes.