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Ireland's Great Drives: Lough Inagh Drive

Explore Lough Inagh, a freshwater lake in the Inagh Valley of Connemara, Galway, Ireland.

The Lough Inagh Drive is a spectacular way to experience Connemara’s coastal countryside. Depending on how drivers plan their itineraries, it can encompass as much as 165 km of the Galway coast, taking in lakes, bogs and traditional fishing villages along the way. It’s possible to complete this drive in one day, but with so many activities on the agenda, it’s advisable to slow down and find a bed and breakfast or two along the way. These are among the highlights drivers encounter on the Lough Inagh Drive:


Drivers can start their drive in Clifden, an attractive Victorian-era town and the functional capital of Connemara. Clifden guards the bay at the mouth of the river Owenglin. Before beginning your drive, take some time to stroll the town’s streets and explore the bay area.

Top Tip

Check out connemara Heritage Centre & Dan O'Hara Homestead. A wonderfully preserved cottage and centre sharing the history, heritage, culture & traditions of the Connemara. Located 7km from Cliften, an 8 minute drive.


Next it’s south to Ballyconneely, a ribbon of development across a narrow isthmus on the road to Roundstone. This area is surrounded by beaches and boasts a strong fishing tradition.


Popular with artists and creative types, Roundstone has plenty to offer visitors. This is also a good base from which to stage sailing and horseback riding adventures. 


East of Roundstone is Toombeola, a small fishing village on the Owenmore River. The village is known locally as ‘The Fishery’.

Derryclare Lough

Derryclare Lough is part of the Inagh Valley and boasts some of the most stunning scenery on this driving tour. Anglers take note: more than five miles’ worth of fly fishing waters are found here, with salmon and sea trout in abundance.

Inagh Valley

Full of photo ops, Inagh Valley features heather-covered mountains, sparkling blue loughs and sparse forests. This is an ideal place to pull the car over and enjoy a picnic. A network of walking trails leads through bogs and past ancient ruins.


From here, the N59 leads back to Clifden, but it’s worth continuing on through the Cloon and Laghtanabba Bog to Clegan. This traditional fishing and farming village has a single grocer, four bars and one sit-down restaurant. Ferries depart daily for Inishbofin and Inishturk islands.


Claddaghduff is just a few km west of Cleggan along the coast. The seascapes here are breathtaking – especially in the spring and summer – and a variety of activities are possible. Pony trekking, diving, angling and sailing are all popular. At low tide, you can walk across a sandy strand to Omey Island. Follow the coastal road south to Clifden to complete the circuit. 

Other driving routes in Ireland:

  • The Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
  • Slea Head - Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
  • The Ring of Kerry - 179km stretch with spectacular landscape, County Kerry
  • Healy Pass - The Healy Pass is a winding mountain road between Adrigole in Co. Cork and Lauragh in Co. Kerry
  • The Ring of Beara - Located in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
  • Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
  • The Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.

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