Delphi Lodge is ideally located for a relaxed days touring, taking in the spectacular scenery of the Atlantic coastline, the areas of historic interest and the culture and food of the region. Due to the variety on offer it is best to split our touring options into two separate routes, both of which allow for a departure after breakfast, a relaxed days driving and back to the Lodge in time to rest and prepare for dinner.
This spectacular day is a tour of Connemara, beginning with Leenane Village on the Killary Fjord (www.leenanevillage.com) and a visit to the Sheep and Wool Centre where the heritage of farming in this area is explained and demonstrated. Further west and leaving the Fjord brings your to Kylemore Abbey (www.kylemoreabbeytourism.ie ), a once famous Benedictine Convent and girls boarding school. Enjoy access to the beautiful Abbey, tea rooms, gift shop, surrounding grounds and wonderfully restored Victorian walled gardens.
Moving on a few miles west again, is the village of Letterfrack and the Connemara National Park (www.connemaranationalpark.ie). There are several trails, one of which for the energetic, is a hike up Diamond Hill, 300m above sea level, with spectacular views of Renvyle and outwards to the ocean, the 12 Bens Mountain range and in the distance, Galway Bay.
The Connemara Capital town of Clifden is next on this route with excellent craft shops, art galleries, pubs and restaurants. Here we recommend Mitchells for lunch if the timing suits.
Heading south now for 12 kilometres brings you to the village of Roundstone and the golden sands of the beautiful Dogs Bay. Along the way at Ballyconneely is the Connemara Golf Course (www.connemaragolflinks.com). Close by, run by the Roberts family, is the Connemara Smokehouse (www.smokehouse.ie). It is here that Graham Roberts, a master smoker, smokes and prepares our Delphi Lodge Wild Salmon.
Roundstone itself, is on the north shore of Galway Bay. Here, we highly recommend O’Dowds Pub for excellent seafood (Best to have us book you in for lunch if in the high season as very busy).
After Roundstone, you continue on the loop as such and up through the area of Recess, crossing the N59 (Clifden to Galway road), taking the R344 will bring you along the Inagh Valley. The Lough Inagh Hotel is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and light snack before resuming your journey back through Leenane to Delphi Lodge.
Distance approx. 80km.
This lovely day tour begins by heading north from Delphi Lodge, passing Doolough and on through the Delphi Valley to the small town of Louisburgh. Turning east and travelling along the southern shore of Clew Bay brings you to the beautiful unspoiled beach of Old Head, a place for a quiet walk and fresh air. Further along you come to the village of Murrisk. Here you are between the sea and Ireland’s pilgrimage mountain, Croagh Patrick, which rises more than 800 metres. Visible is the eroded path of thousands of pilgrims and the small white church on the summit – a 3 hour climb but not for the faint hearted.
Further on to the lovely Mayo town of Westport. Arguably the best place to live in Ireland, Westport has so much to offer the travelling visitor. Excellent shops, cafes, restaurants and bars are around every corner, with Matt Molloys of ‘The Chieftains’ fame, daily hosting traditional music.
Westport House and grounds (www.westporthouse.ie) steeped in history, are open to the public and owned by the Browne family, the former owners of Delphi Lodge.
Westport also has an excellent cycle/walking trail called The Greenway and bicycles are readily available to hire from Clew Bay Bike Hire (www.clewbaybikehire.ie )
A very special outing from Westport Harbour is a sea trip with Clewbay Cruises (www.clewbaycruises.com ). This narrated 90min cruise of Clew Bay brings the visitor close to the varied wildlife of this unspoilt environment and explains the history of Geology in this area.
For those very interested in Irish History a trip to the Museum of Country Life at Turlough is highly recommended (www.museum.ie). Turlough is a 25 minute drive east of Westport along the N5 past Castlebar and a true national treasure.
The return journey brings you back to Westport and out along the N59 along the River Erriff valley, towards Leenane Village. Turning right for Delphi before the village allows a stop at the famous Ashleagh Falls before a short drive along the north shore of Killary Fjord and home to Delphi Lodge.