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Green indicates Joyce Country, with pale green showing it at its greatest defined extent; Red indicates Connemara,
with pink showing it at its greatest defined
extent (not including those who consider anywhere west of the Corrib to be in Connemara) Connemara and Joyce country.png
Green indicates Joyce Country, with pale green showing it at its greatest defined extent; Red indicates Connemara, with pink showing it at its greatest defined extent (not including those who consider anywhere west of the Corrib to be in Connemara)
A view of Connemara, taken from the N59 road. Conamara, Ireland.jpg
A view of Connemara, taken from the N59 road.

Connemara (Irish : Conamara; pronounced  [ˈkʊnˠəmˠəɾˠə] ) is a cultural region in County Galway, Ireland. The area has a strong association with traditional Irish culture and contains a major part of the Connacht Irish-speaking Gaeltacht, which is a key part of the identity of the region and is the largest Gaeltacht in the country.

Irish language Goidelic (Gaelic) language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic (Gaelic) language originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.

County Galway County in the Republic of Ireland

County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West of Ireland, part of the province of Connacht.

Republic of Ireland Ireland, a country in north-western Europe, occupying 5/6 of the island of Ireland; succeeded the Irish Free State (1937)

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island, and whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.



"Connemara" derives from the tribal name Conmacne Mara , which designated a branch of the Conmacne, an early tribal grouping that had a number of branches located in different parts of Connacht. Since this particular branch of the Conmacne lived by the sea, they became known as the Conmacne Mara (sea in Irish is muir, genitive mara, hence "of the sea"). The area in the east of what is now Connemara was called Delbhna Tír Dhá Locha.

Connacht province in Ireland

Connacht, formerly spelled Connaught, is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the west of the country. Up to the 9th century it consisted of several independent major kingdoms.

Delbhna Tír Dhá Locha

Delbhna Tír Dhá Locha was a tuath of Gaelic Ireland, located in the west of Ireland in what is now Co. Galway.


One common definition of the area is that it consists of most of West Galway, that is to say the part of the county west of Lough Corrib and Galway city, contained by Killary Harbour, Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. [1] Some more restrictive definitions of Connemara define it as the historical territory of Conmhaícne Mara, i.e. just the far northwest of County Galway, bordering County Mayo. The name is also used to describe the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking areas) of western County Galway, though it is argued that this too is inaccurate as some of these areas lie outside of the traditional boundary of Connemara. [2] There are arguments about where Connemara ends as it approaches Galway city, which is definitely not in Connemara - some[ who? ] argue for Barna, on the outskirts of Galway City, some for a line from Oughterard to Maam Cross, and then diagonally down to the coast, all within rural lands.[ citation needed ]

Lough Corrib lake

Lough Corrib is a lake in the west of Ireland. The River Corrib or Galway River connects the lake to the sea at Galway. It is the largest lake within the Republic of Ireland and the second largest on the island of Ireland. It covers 176 km² and lies mostly in County Galway with a small area of its northeast corner in County Mayo.

Killary Harbour

Killary Harbour is a fjord located in the west of Ireland, in northern Connemara, and the border between counties Galway and Mayo runs down its centre.

Galway Bay bay

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to 30 kilometres (19 mi) in breadth. The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

The wider area of what is today known as Connemara was previously a sovereign kingdom known as Iar Connacht, under the kingship of the Ó Flaithbertaigh, until it became part of the English-administered Kingdom of Ireland in the 16th century.

Iar Connacht

West Connacht was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland, associated geographically with present-day County Galway, particularly the area known more commonly today as Connemara. The kingdom represented the core homeland of the Connachta's Uí Briúin Seóla kindred and although they ruled, there were smaller groups of other Gaels in the area, such as the Delbhna Tir Dha Locha and the Conmhaícne Mara. It existed from 1051 onwards, after the Ó Conchobhair, Kings of Connacht, pushed the Ó Flaithbheartaigh to the West of Lough Corrib, from their original territory of Maigh Seóla. Iar Connacht remained a subordinate túath of Connacht, until the 13th century, after which it was more independent.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.


Twelve Bens Twelve pins.JPG
Twelve Bens

Connemara lies in the territory of Iar Connacht , "West Connacht," within the portion of County Galway west of Lough Corrib, and was traditionally divided into North Connemara and South Connemara. The mountains of the Twelve Bens and the Owenglin River, which flows into the sea at An Clochán/Clifden, marked the boundary between the two parts. Connemara is bounded on the west, south and north by the Atlantic Ocean. In at least some definitions, Connemara's land boundary with the rest of County Galway is marked[ citation needed ] by the Invermore River otherwise known as Inbhear Mór [3] (which flows into the north of Kilkieran Bay), Loch Oorid (which lies a few kilometres west of Maam Cross) and the western spine of the Maumturks mountains. In the north of the mountains, the boundary meets the sea at Killary, a few kilometres west of Leenaun.

Twelve Bens Mountain range in Connemara, Ireland

The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins is a mountain range of sharp-peaked quartzite summits and ridges located in the Connemara National Park in County Galway, in the west of Ireland. Topographically, the range is partnered with the Maumturks range on the other side of the Glen Inagh valley. The highest point is Benbaun at 729 meters (2,392 ft). The range is popular with hill walkers, rock climbers, and fell runners. The 15–kilometre "Glencoaghan Horseshoe" is noted as providing some of the "most exhilarating mountaineering in Ireland", and "a true classic". A more serious undertaking is the 28–kilometre "Twelve Bens Challenge", climbing all bens in a single day.

Clifden Town in Connacht, Ireland

Clifden is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59.

Atlantic Ocean Ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

Connemara on a cloudy day. Connemara, Ireland.jpg
Connemara on a cloudy day.

The coast of Connemara is made up of multiple peninsulas. The peninsula of Iorras Ainbhtheach (sometimes corrupted to Iorras Aithneach) in the south is the largest and contains the villages of Carna and Kilkieran. The peninsula of Errismore consists of the area west of the village of Ballyconneely. Errisbeg peninsula lies to the south of the village of Roundstone. The Errislannan peninsula lies just south of the town of Clifden. The peninsulas of Kingstown, Coolacloy, Aughrus, Cleggan and Renvyle are found in the north-west of Connemara. Of the numerous islands off the coast of Connemara, Inishbofin is the largest; other islands include Omey, Inishark, High Island, Friars Island, Feenish and Maínis.

Carna, County Galway

Carna is a small area in Connemara, County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is located on the country's west coast in the heart of the Gaeltacht, about 50 km west of Galway city. Carna is a small area, but it has a large enough influence on the surrounding areas in Connemara as it contains a Garda Síochána station, a Health Centre including a Rapid Response Ambulance and it also houses an Irish Coastguard lifeboat. Carna is located close to the village of Cill Chiaráin and they share the peninsula locally called Iorras Aithneach. There are currently 178 people living in Carna village. The population dramatically dropped from the previous average of 8,000 before the Great Famine.

Kilkieran Village in Connacht, Ireland

Cill Chiaráin is a village in the Connemara area of County Galway, Ireland. The R340 road along the coast from Galway city passes through Cill Chiaráin on your way to Clifden.

Ballyconneely Town in Connacht, Ireland

Ballyconneely is a small ribbon development in west Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

The territory contains the civil parishes of Moyrus, Ballynakill, Omey, Ballindoon and Inishbofin (the last parish was for a time part of the territory of the Clann Uí Mháille, the O Malleys of the territory of Umhall, County Mayo), and the Roman Catholic parishes of Carna, Clifden (Omey and Ballindoon), Ballynakill, Kilcumin (Oughterard and Rosscahill), Roundstone and Inishbofin.[ citation needed ]


The Ó Cadhla (Kealy) clan were the rulers of Connemara up until the 13th century, when they were displaced by the Ó Flaithbertaighs. The latter had fled into Iar Connacht from Maigh Seola during the English invasion of Connacht in the early 13th century. [4]

Like the Ó Cadhla clan, the Mac Conghaile (Conneely) clan was also a branch of the Conmhaicne Mara.[ citation needed ]

The main town of Connemara is Clifden. The area around the town is rich with megalithic tombs. The famous "Connemara Green marble" is found outcropping along a line between Streamstown and Lissoughter. It was a trade treasure used by the inhabitants of the prehistoric time. It continues to be of great value today. It is available in large dimensional slabs suitable for buildings as well as for smaller pieces of jewellery. It is used for the pendant for the Scouting Ireland Chief Scout's Award, the highest award in Irish Scouting.

The first transatlantic flight, piloted by Alcock and Brown, landed in Clifden in 1919. [5]


Connemara is accessible by the Bus Éireann and City Link bus services. From 1895 to 1935 it was served by the Midland Great Western Railway branch that connected Galway City to Clifden. The railway line is still visible on the N59.[ where? ][ citation needed ]

A popular alternative route is the coastal route on the R336 from Galway City. This route is also known as the Connemara Loop [6] consisting of a 45 km drive where one can view the landscape and scenery of Connemara.

Aer Arann Islands serves the Aran Islands from Connemara Airport in the south of Connemara also known as Aerfort na Minna.

Irish language

The population of Connemara is 32,000. There are between 20,000-24,000 native Irish speakers in the region making it the largest Irish-speaking Gaeltacht.[ when? ][ citation needed ]

The Enumeration Districts with the most Irish speakers in all of Ireland as a percentage of the population can be seen in the South Connemara area.

Most Irish speakers are of school age (5–19 years old). [7]

Notable towns and villages

These settlements are within the most extensive definition of the area. More restrictive definitions will exclude some:

Notable islands


Annalistic references

Notable people associated with Connemara

See also

Related Research Articles

Oughterard Town in Connacht, Ireland

Oughterard is a small town on the banks of the Owenriff River close to the western shore of Lough Corrib in County Galway, Ireland. The population of the town in 2016 was 1,318. It is located about 26 km northwest of Galway on the N59 road. Oughterard is the chief angling centre on Lough Corrib, and is also known as the 'Gateway to Connemara' as it is on the border of Connemara.

Conmhaícne Mara

The Conmhaícne were an ancient tribal grouping that were divided into a number of distinct branches that were found scattered around Ireland in the early medieval period. They take their name from a mythical ancestor known as Con Mhac "hound son".

Galway West (Dáil constituency) Dáil Éireann constituency (1937-)

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Roundstone, County Galway Village in Connacht, Ireland

Roundstone is a village on the west coast of Ireland, in the Connemara region of County Galway. The town of Clifden is nearby to the north.

Moycullen Village in Connacht, Ireland

Moycullen is a Gaeltacht village in County Galway, Ireland, about 10 km (7 mi) northwest of Galway city. It is near Lough Corrib, on the N59 road to Oughterard and Clifden, in Connemara. Moycullen is now a satellite town of Galway with most residents commuting to the city for work, school, and business.

Maum Village and townland in Connacht, Ireland

An Mám is a small village with surrounding lands in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

Rosmuc Town in Connacht, Ireland

Rosmuc or Ros Muc is a village in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht of County Galway, Ireland. It lies halfway between the town of Clifden and the city of Galway. Irish is the predominant spoken language. The District Electoral Division of Turlough, Rosmuc, state that Rosmuc is the most strongly Irish-speaking area in the country.

R336 road (Ireland)

The R336 road is a regional road in County Galway in Ireland which connects the N59 road at Leenaun beside Killary Harbour – via Inverin – to the N6 and N83 in Galway, 83 kilometres (52 mi) to the southeast.


Claddaghduff is a village in County Galway, Ireland. It is located northwest of Clifden, the gateway to Omey Island.

Conneely from or, is an Irish family name. Frequent examples of the name can be found in the West of Ireland, particularly in the Connemara area of Co. Galway. A coastal village in Co Galway is named Ballyconneely.

Mícheál or Micheál Mac Suibhne was an Irish poet.

Letterard is a townland located in the parish of Moyrus or Carna, Connemara on the West Coast of the Republic of Ireland.

Conamara Theas, which is Irish for South Connemara, is however today the western Irish-speaking regions County Galway. There are around 7,000 people living in the area. Between 60% and 80% of residents are native Irish speakers.

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  1. "Connemara Ireland, what to see in Connemara, map of the Connemara loop, things to do and beaches". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  2. "Connemara Ireland". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  3. "Full Result". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  4. "History". Go Connemara. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  5. "Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  7. "Diversity Ethnicity Languages" (PDF). Irish Census. 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  8. Ordnance Survey of Ireland map 44 spells it Sraith Salach.
  9. "J. Bruce Ismay, 74, Titanic Survivor. Ex-Head of White Star Line Who Retired After Sea Tragedy Dies in London". The New York Times . 19 October 1937. Joseph Bruce Ismay, former chairman of the White Star Line and a survivor of the Titanic disaster in 1912, died here last night. He was 74 years old.

Coordinates: 53°30′N9°45′W / 53.500°N 9.750°W / 53.500; -9.750