Ballyconneely

No visit to Connemara or the West of Ireland would be complete without a visit to Ballyconneely. This peninsula, jutting into the Atlantic between Clifden to the north and Roundstone to the south, contains some of the most tranquil, unspoilt and interesting countryside to be found anywhere in the country. Its name translates from the Irish as Conneelys Village, and is based on the old civil parish of Ballindoon which in turn was named from the old fort or cashel on Doon Hill.

The peninsula is virtually ringed by beaches - from the Coral Strand at Derrygimla, west and north to Knock, Mannin, Dunloughan and Truska, and east and south from Keeraunmore, Aillebrack, and Ballyconneely Bay to Calla, Dolan and Murvey. As well as being ideal for bathing, some of those beaches provide excellent bases for shore fishermen.

Ballyconneely has been to the foreront in many historic projects and events. As early as 1854 the first Salmon farming operation in either Britain or Ireland was carried out on the Dohulla Fishery. More famously, on Sunday June 14th 1919, the first transatlantic flight ended in the Derrygimla Bog, about two miles from Ballyconneely Village. Capt. John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown had flown their twin-engined Vickers Vimy plane from Newfoundland, Canada, in just over sixteen hours. They landed virtually within yards of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station, set up by Guiglielmo Marconi, the Italian pioneer of wireless telegraphy in 1905, and from where the first transatlantic wireless message was sent to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia in 1907.

Ballyconneely is also renowned for its breeding of the world famous Connemara Pony, with numerous home and overseas champions being produced here. Legend has it that the breed originated as a result of a number of Arab Horses coming ashore from a Spanish shipwreck, near Slyne Head, and breeding with the small native pony. An annual show and sale is held in the village on the 3rd Sunday in July.

Today the area is home to a vibrant, thriving community and boasts many attractions for our visitors. There is a magnificent eighteen hole Golf Links at Aillebrack. Three miles to the east, there is the Roundstone Bog, a vast expanse of moor, lake and stream, teeming with undisturbed wildlife and rare plants, an area which is almost haunting in its serene tranquility, especially in the early morning and late Summer evenings. Our already mentioned beaches, as well as providing excellent bathing have an abundance of edible shellfish and molluscs accessible at low tides. These include Clams, Cockles, Mussels, Razorfish, Sea Urchin, Shrimp and Scallops, and with local knowledge, the occasional Lobster!