Clifden: Wikis


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An Clochán
Location of Clifden
centerMap highlighting Clifden
Irish grid reference
Province: Connacht
County: County Galway
Elevation: 50 m (160 ft)
Population (2002)
 - Town:
 - Environs:


Clifden (Irish: An Clochán, meaning "bee-hive cell"[1]) is a town on the coast of County Galway, Ireland and being Connemara's largest town, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". It is located on the Owenglen River where it flows into Clifden Bay. The town is linked to Galway city by the N59 and is a popular tourist destination for those touring Connemara.



The town was founded at the start of the 19th century by John D'Arcy (1785–1839)[1] who lived in Clifden Castle (which is now a ruin that can be seen from the Sky Road west of Clifden). The Sky Road in Clifden is one of the best tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. The circular route is 11 km long and takes you out west from Clifden.[2]

It is the birth place of Jon Riley, Saint Patrick battalion's commander, who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War the 19th century.

Clifden gained prominence in the early 1900s when Guglielmo Marconi built his first high power transatlantic long wave wireless telegraphy station four miles south of the town to minimize the distance to its sister station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. The first point-to-point fixed wireless service connecting Europe with North America opened for public service with the transmission of 10,000 words on 17 October 1907 and ceased operation on 25 July 1922 after suffering serious damage in the Irish Civil War. Transatlantic wireless service [3] formerly provided by the Clifden station was transferred to the more modern Marconi wireless station near Waunfawr, Wales. At peak times, over 400 people had been employed by the Clifden wireless station, but none more famous than Jack Phillips, who later died as the heroic chief Radio Operator on the Titanic.

Clifden is near the landing place (53°26′N 10°01′W / 53.433°N 10.017°W / 53.433; -10.017) of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown on 15 June 1919. The plane crashlanded in Derrygimla bog, close to Marconi's transatlantic wireless station.

In "the burning of Clifden" in 1921, 14 suspected Republican homes were burnt by the Black and Tans.

Dialing Code: 095
Coast Guard: channels 16,26 and 67
RNLI Lifeboat:
View from John D'Arcy Monument on the Sky Rd




The N59 road from Galway (77 km away) to Westport, County Mayo (64 km) passes through the town.


Regular coach services are provided by Bus Éireann and Citylink, connecting Clifden with Galway city. Some bus services operate through Oughterard, to the south of Lough Corrib, while others operate via Clonbur / Headford to the north of Lough Corrib.

Clifden Catholic Church.


From 1895 to 1935 Clifden was the western terminus of the Midland Great Western Railway. Clifden station was opened on 1 July 1895, but finally closed on 29 April 1935.[4] The station was later converted into the Station House Hotel, flats, shops and a museum.


  • The Connemara Pony Show, organized by the Connemara Pony Breeders Society and held on the third Thursday in August since 1924.
  • Clifden Community Arts Week in late September offers poetry reading, lectures, recitals and traditional music. The festival was first started by teachers in Clifden Community School in 1979 to bring creative arts into the classroom.
  • Omey Island Races: horse racing on the beach.
  • Clifden Regatta.
Clifden town centre


Clifden lies within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tuam and the Church of Ireland Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, and its Omey Union Parish. Clifden has two churches: St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) and Christ Church (Church of Ireland).

Places of interest

See also


^  A "bee-hive cell" is small, free standing stone dwelling, circular in shape, constructed of stone and corbelled until it closes at the top. It is usually associated with hermits and monks.


  1. ^ Landed Estates, Family: D'Arcy (Kiltullagh & Clifden Castle)
  2. ^ Clifden and The Sky Road
  3. ^ The Clifden Station of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph System, Scientific American, Nov 23, 1907
  4. ^ "Clifden station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Clifden [1] is a small town in the north west of the County Galway in West Ireland. It is a local hub of commerce for Connemara, and retains a lot of authenticity despite it being bombarded by tourists in the summer. It has numerous hotels, pubs and restaurants, as well as good bus routes to Galway, and local villages. This makes it quite a good starting point for an exploration of the surrounding areas.

Get in

Coach services: Bus Eireann and Citylink provide daily coach services between Clifden, Galway, Shannon Airport, Dublin city and Dublin Airport.

Get around

Clifden Town is accessible around by foot. Citylink and Bus Eireann provide daily bus services to Galway City. There are also taxis and hackneys available locally for private hire.


Take the Beach Road and do a beautiful walk passing Clifden Bay, the beach and D'Arcy's castle and take a trip to the old Marconi Station and Alcock and Browne historical Monument sites.

Connemara National Park - Situated near Letterfrack, the Park covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic countryside, rich in wildlife on the slopes of the Twelve Bens. Attractions include exhibitions, nature trails, audio-visual show. In addition there is a summer programme of walks, talks and special events for younger visitors. Access for visitors with disabilities in the Visitor Centre.

Derrygimla Bog - site of the Alcock & Brown trans Atlantic landing. 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 Vickers Vimy plane from Newfoundland, Canada, in just over sixteen hours. Alcock and Brown, both British, experienced extreme flying conditions - fog, drizzle and a broken radio.

Tourist Attractions in Clifden outlines major attractions and activities in Clifden. Also details the islands of the coast of Clifden.


Outdoor Activities: John Ryan fishing tours and Mannions Cycling for scenic cycle routes.


Shopping: Supervalu, Aldi and Lidl.

  • Mithchell's, in the center of town.
  • 2 dog cafe has wonderful food, coffee, and internet access.


Pubs: Mullarkeys and Mannions Bar

  • Guys Bar & Snug, Main Street, 095 21130. Great food, early and late music sessions  edit


Budget: Clifden Town Hostel, Brookside Hostel and Ben View House B&B

B&B: Kingstown House B&B, on Bridge St., in town centre.

Splurge: Abbeyglen Castle Hotel.

  • Self catering- Connemara Rentals, Church Hill, [2]. A collection of really nice and unique holiday homes available to rent on a self catering basis on the edge of Clifden Town  edit

Get out

Ballyconneely: Connemara Golf links.

Dun Gibbons Walking Centre: Twelve Bens hill walking.

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