|County Galway |
Almost bisected by Lough Corrib, its east is lowland with ancient towns such as Tuam, while the west is wild scenic Connemara. Galway is the lively city at its core.
|County Mayo |
Sparsely populated with rugged uplands, bogs and a scattering of islands: scenic Clew Bay has some 140 of them
|County Roscommon |
It's low-lying but poor farmland; east is the upper Shannon navigation network. There are ruined abbeys and prehistoric sites.
- 1 Galway is a lively historic city on the coast - even Christopher Columbus came here.
- 2 Tuam is the archbishopric and has been a religious centre for 1500 years.
- 3 Clifden, a Victorian seaside resort, is the main town in Connemara.
- 4 Westport is on scenic Clew Bay. Nearby is the pilgrimage mountain of Croagh Patrick.
- 5 Castlebar is Mayo's market and county town.
- 6 Ballina has several ruined abbeys and a rugged coastline. The French invasion of 1798 began nearby at Killala.
- 7 Roscommon is in an area dotted with prehistoric, medieval and later ruins.
- 8 Carrick-on-Shannon spans between Counties Leitrim and Roscommon. It's near a major junction in the Shannon waterway system.
- 1 Aran Islands: all three are inhabited, and dotted with prehistoric and early Christian sites. There are daily ferries and flights.
- 2 Connemara is the scenic west of County Galway, with rugged granite peaks. Be grateful you don't have to farm it.
- 3 Achill Island is reached by a bridge. It has several haunting deserted villages, Slievemore being the biggest.
Both English and Irish are widely spoken in the West. As with the rest of Ireland, most Irish speakers are found in smaller and more isolated villages, while the cities are dominantly English speaking.
- 1 Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC IATA) is in Mayo, 20 km north of Knock village. It has flights mostly by Ryanair from London Stansted, Luton and other UK cities, and a few European destinations.
- Since you need a car to get around, you might prefer to fly into Dublin or Shannon (near Limerick) and drive over.
- Trains run from Dublin Heuston via Athlone to Athenry and Galway, and to Roscommon, Castlebar and Westport, with connections to Ballina.
- They run from Dublin Connolly via Longford to Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle and Sligo.
- Buses radiate out from Dublin Busáras and Airport. See individual cities, the main lines are Dublin-Longford, branching for Sligo or Ballina, and Dublin-Athlone-Galway.
- Cross-country buses are Derry-Letterkenny-Sligo-Knock-Tuam-Galway, Ballina-Castlebar-Galway, and Cork-Limerick-Galway.
- By road from Dublin, for Galway and the south of this region follow M4 / M6. For Carrick and Mayo further north, leave M4 for N4 through Longford.
Cities and townsEdit
Urban bus networks operate in the following cities:
- Galway - Bus Éireann operate a city network of six routes, with the busiest running every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day.
Regional, Commuter and RuralEdit
An extensive network of regional bus services operate across the region. However, the frequency of routes can vary significantly, from high frequency routes between nearby towns, to rural services running only once a week. The majority of services are public funded and operated by Bus Èireann and Local Link, although in some areas commercial services also play a large role in providing transport.
The main regional bus networks are:
- Bus Éireann operate an extensive network of regional bus services across Ireland. Commuter services are provided along routes into the main cities and towns, while in rural areas there are routes connecting many villages and small towns into their nearest large town or city. Most routes are shown on the Bus Éireann network map. Routes are numbered by region, with the 100's in the east, 200's in the south, 300's in the midwest and southeast, and 400's in the west and northwest.
- Local Link is the brand name for all services funded under the rural transport programme. There are over 1,000 rural bus routes serving nearly all corners of the country. These range from regular scheduled routes running several times a day between nearby towns, to door to door routes running only one day per week. The regular scheduled routes operate like normal bus routes, with fixed routes and timetables, however the door to door routes can vary and may require advance booking, so it's best to inquire with your nearest Local Link office [dead link] the day beforehand.
The main intercity routes operating within the region are:
- Dublin - Longford - Sligo: Bus Éireann Expressway route 23
- Dublin - Longford - Ballina: Bus Éireann Expressway route 22
- Dublin - Athlone - Galway: Bus Éireann Expressway routes 20/X20, GoBus route 720 [dead link], Citylink routes 760/761/763
- Derry/Letterkenny - Sligo - Galway: Bus Éireann Expressway route 64, Bus Feda route 964
- Ballina - Castlebar - Galway: Bus Éireann Expressway route 52
- Galway - Limerick - Cork: Bus Éireann Expressway routes 51/X51, Citylink route 251
Roads outside the larger towns are often narrow and windy. Although this encourages you to slow down and appreciate the wonderful (if a little bleak) scenery, it does mean that getting around will probably take longer than you think.
By rental carEdit
Car hire is available from several agencies in the city and at the airport.
- Budget Car Rental Ireland - Locations at both Galway Airport and Eyre Sq in Galway City Center
- Alamo / National
- Dan Dooley
- Enterprise Rent a Car
Several local car dealers operate car rentals. These include:
- Windsor Motors - located at Ballybrit
- Arch Motors - located at Westside
- Hill walking. Around the county.