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Depart from the pier in Galway city and drive via Oughterard and Maam Cross in the magnificent Connemara countryside. The rugged landscape of Connemara offers beautiful and contrasting scenery. Majestic mountains rise steeply from an earth of contrasting rock and boglands with many lakes and rivers. Artists from all around the world come to paint this landscape with its ever-changing light.
Your first stop today is at Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden. The abbey was originally built in 1868 and is now home to the Irish Benedictine nuns. Nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul in the heart of the Connemara Mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic buildings. The Benedictine nuns at Kylemore have always used the garden, and held a very deep desire to restore it to its former glory -- this could be only achieved with grant aid and large bank loans. Restoration began in September 1996 and, today, the formal flower garden is beautifully restored. Two glasshouses have been reinstated and the kitchen garden is once again productive, if not entirely weed-free. Every year the standard of gardening gets closer to Victorian perfection.
Journey through the wild countryside to Clifden and stop for lunch. Known as 'the Capital of Connemara', Clifden has become one of Ireland's most sought-after vacation destinations. Visitors and local people mingle, giving the town as enjoyable cosmopolitan flavor. After lunch, you'll have some free time for independent exploration.
Journey through Recess, Derryneen and Maam Cross. Watch the ever-changing landscape of this truly wondrous place, from the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog, to the golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean.
By the time you arrive back in Galway, you'll know why Connemara is regarded as the Emerald of Ireland.
Wear comfortable walking shoes.