BALLYCONNEELY: Beaches, seaside walks, golf, surfing, pony trekking and fishing.
Highlight of the year is Ballyconneely pony show which is in July, check our events diary for exact dates.
The village area known as Ballyconneely is located five miles south of Clifden on the R341 coastal road to Roundstone, which is about 15 minutes drive. It is based on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic towards Slyne Head, which is the most westerly point of Connemara.
It is a quiet area surrounded by fabulous sandy beaches and low lying sandy grassland. The rocky promontories and wild coast off the western tip of the Ballyconneely peninsula are home to many species of seabird, seals and other marine creatures, and patient watching can lead to sightings of dolphins and even whales. In midsummer the lucky birdwatcher can hear the corncrake.
The main beaches in the area are the famous Coral Strand at Derrygimla on the road to Clifden, or travel west and north to Knock, Mannin, Dunloughan and Truska, and south to Keeraunmore, Aillebrack, and Ballyconneely Bay then Calla, Dolan and Murvey. while Dunloughan beach is one of the best known surfing spots in Connemara. Dun Loughan is also one of the most secluded and beautiful areas in Connemara with grassy walks featuring lakes and beaches. These lakes and beaches are also of great interest to the angler, with brown trout in the lakes and there are some good shore angling marks where a great variety of species can be caught. A favourite angling spot is Bunowen Pier, where pollack, flatfish and surprisingly large conger can be caught.
The village of Ballyconneely has two well provisioned shops one of which is a post office and there is also a filling station. Keoghs bar is a great spot for a pint and a bite to eat. There is also a church in the village.
The golfer is well served by the Connemara Golf course which is a 27 hole links course on the southwestern side of the peninsula. (details here http://www.connemaragolflinks.com )
Connemara Smokehouse in Bunowen is an award winning local business selling wonderful smoked salmon and other seafoods, they have a factory shop and will show you around the factory if you arrange a tour with them http://www.smokehouse.ie/
Ballyconneely has many historical associations: In 1854, the first salmon ranching operation in the British Isles was carried out on the Dohulla Fishery. In 1919, the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown ended two miles away in Derrygimla Bog, where they misjudged the nature of the bog and crash landed. The crash landing was near the Marconi Telegraph Station, built in 1905, which was used to send the first transatlantic wireless message, to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, in 1907. The famous Connemara pony is bred here and legend has it that the breed originated when Arabian horses came ashore from a Spanish Shipwreck near Slyne Head and inter-bred with the small native pony. Every year there is a Connemara Pony Show held in Ballyconneely http://www.ballyconneelyponyshow.ie/ .
The Point Pony Trekking Centre at Keeraunmore, Ballyconneely provides trekking on Connemara Ponies and you can contact them at 095 23685.