I want to explore Galway, Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher without a car - How do I do that?

I want to explore Galway, Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher without a...

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Posted Tue 16 Jan 2024 12:40 PM
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Hey there!

If you're keen on checking out Galway and its surroundings without having to drive, public transport has got your back. Let me break it down for you - hitting up Clifden and Connemara National Park, catching the views at the Cliffs of Moher with a stunning hike, and visiting the Aran Islands.

Getting to Clifden, Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey

To explore the capital of Connemara, you can simply take Bus Éireann 419 or Citylink 923 from Galway Coach station. In about 1h30, you’ll be in Clifden, where you can stop at Lowry’s for lunch and check out the city and even Clifden Castle.

After Clifden, you can hop on these same two buses (Bus Éireann 419 and Citylink 923) to reach Letterfrack, the gateway of Connemara National Park. You can also leave directly from Galway to Letterfrack and it can be as little as two hours. It’s still a long ride but you'll get to enjoy the boglands and the landscapes of Connemara on the way.

In Letterfrack, you can then hike the Diamond Hill loop, which starts at the National Park’s visitor Centre. Another option would be to visit the iconic Kylemore Abbey, one stop after Letterfrack.

Alternatively, tour companies such as Galway Tour Company or Lally Tours offer a convenient day trip from Galway to Connemara, which offers many more stops than you could do using public transport, along with valuable insights from the driver/guide.

Exploring the Cliffs of Moher:

Now, for the grandeur of the Cliffs of Moher without the wheel stress. Bus Éireann has your back again. Jump on bus Eireann 350 from Galway Coach Station, enjoy the ride, and arrive ready to be wowed by those epic Atlantic views. For this one, I suggest getting there early and especially leave early as the bus can be full on the way back to Galway. Get off in Doolin, have breakfast at Gus O’Connor’s or McGann’s if need be, and walk along the cliffs all the way to the visitor center.
By doing so, you’ll be amongst the first back on the bus and will have avoided the crowds on the trail.

Day tours from Galway (by the aforementioned companies) also go to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Just be aware that you may lose in flexibility if you wanted to do a long hike or visit Doolin at your own pace. It's up to you!

Venturing to the Aran Islands:

Last but not least, the Aran Islands are calling! Two ferry companies - Aran Island Ferries and the Doolin Ferry Company - offer the trip. One from Galway and Rossaveal, another one from Doolin.

Aran Island Ferries offers seasonal crossings from Galway to Inishmore and year-round trips from the port of Rossaveal (with a shuttle between Galway and Rossaveal included). This is perfect if you want to make the most of your day on the Aran Islands. Once you are there, you can either rent a bike or use your two legs. 

If you planned to see the Cliffs and the Aran Islands on the same day and hit two birds with one stone, you might as well go with Doolin Ferry Company and catch the Bus Eireann 350 to get there. As a bonus, you’ll get to see the Cliffs of Moher from the sea.

A few more tips

- Get yourself a LEAP Card as soon as your trip starts or at least in Galway. You can easily top it up with your phone using the LEAP top up app.
- Pay attention to the schedules - buses to scenic areas aren’t that frequent. It works out for a day trip but make sure to be there before the bus leaves or you may have to hitchhike or get a cab back to Galway. There's a handy app from Transport for Ireland for that.
- Compare DIY public transport routes with day tours options and see what works out best for you. You might be surprised.

Any more tips from our Community on the matter? We'd love to hear from you!
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