Clifden, Co.Galway

Clifden , or An Clochán, in the centre of Connemara is set in a beautiful position with the Twelve Pins (The mountains) behind it.  Clifden is situated above an inlet to the Atlantic, and below the town the River Owenglin cascades into the sea.  The town was founded by John D'Arcy in 1812, he was a local landowner and High Sherrif  of Galway to make arespectable area in lawless Connemara.  The family eventually went bankrupt trying to make the town prosperous and lawful.  The old D'Arcy Mansion, Clifden Castle, is about a mile out of the town to the west, and is now unfortunately a burned out shell.  It once sported gothic towers and turrets.  
The two spires in the town belong to the two churches.  The simple Protestant church and the more ornate Catholic church with its great rose windows.  The Protestant church contains a copy of the Cross of Cong, one of Irelands treasures.

Today there are tourist shops and many pubs and restraunts.
The scenic road , aptly called Sky Road, runs out to the west from here and is spectacular to say the least, showing the best of Connemara to the visitor.

Connemara- is now a National Park of some 5000 acres.  It contains four of the Twelve Pins, including the highest Benbaun (2395 ft), Diamond hill and land south of Letterfrack.  Native Red Deer have been reintroduced here and there are lots of conservation projects going on. Watch out for badgers, foxes, otters, stoats, grey seals along the coast, hooded crows, merlins, peregrines and many plants on the moorlands and blanket bogs.  Here too you can see the famous connemara ponies.  They were probably a cross between a native Celtic horse and Spanish-Arabs imported from Spain in the Middle Ages.  They have unique qualities such as being hardy, sturdy yet naturally elegant.

Five miles south west of Clifdon is Derrygimlagh Bog where Alcock and Brown landed the first translatlantic flight in 1919.  There is a monument shaped like an aeroplanes tailfin which is about a mile from the boggy spot on higher ground.

Connemara coast

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