Rainy days inside and out in Connemara
We won’t beat around the bush – but it rains here in Connemara. We do get blessed with some spectacular weather – but there are a couple of rainy days too! We still recommend getting outdoors, in all weather, but for the days when you want to stay dry – here are a few of our favorite things to do around Connemara and Clifden.
A rainy day and books go together like wine and cheese! Another benefit of a rainy day is that bit more time and space to explore and pursue art – a treat we definitely don’t give ourselves often enough. These two local stores are right next to each other – so you can hop from one to the next (and then pop in to Upstairs Downstairs for a lovely coffee). Clifden bookshop is filled with treasures, with a wide range of books available – including works by local writers and Connemara-focused books. You will find plenty of options for the young readers in your life too. We love it here. The Whitehorn Gallery is that beautiful Mediterranean white corner store, with the baby blue awnings that we all know and love. This is where you will find the works of Ireland’s best contemporary artists, as well as international artists. This is where we can happily whittle away some hours on a rainy afternoon. You can also check out the Lavelle Art Gallery – with a mix of Irish and international artists
Clifden has played a role in two of the world’s most historic events, in the past hundred and fifty years. Marconi set up the first transatlantic wireless station here, ushering in the age of radio. Alcock and Brown (crash) landed their tiny plane here after the first ever transatlantic flight. In addition, Clifden Railway station was the terminus of the Connemara Railway, one of the oldest railways in the world, trains ran from 1845 to 1935. All this and more is covered in this lovely little museum. Well worth a visit rain or shine!
On a rainy day visiting Kylemore Abbey should come high up your list. Come and learn about this 19th century abbey, now owned and run by Benedictine nuns. It is fascinating with its long history, neo-gothic church, exploring the woodland and trails, or the walled gardens – which by the way are the largest in Ireland. You can finish up the day with some tea and home-baked goods in their cafe or tea room. They also make their own chocolate here. This has rainy activity written all over it!
Immerse yourself in locally harvested seaweed. We all know the benefits of seaweed, and what a luxury it is to sink into a bathtub filled with the oozing, nourishing seaweed and hot salt water. Not only will it soothe aching muscles, revitalize your skin and hair – but it will also allow your body to absorb all those delicious, healthy minerals. Your seaweed bath will begin with a steam room session to open your pores and allow all the good stuff in, and it will end with a plunge in the outdoor saltwater pool to close your pores and keep all that seaweed nourishment locked in.
Spiddal Craft and Design Studios is located at the entrance to Spiddal Village, just beside the beach, overlooking the beautiful Galway Bay, Cliffs of Moher and The Aran Islands. Here you will find 10 Craft workers designing and creating. Glass making, basket weaving, painting, pottery, screen printing, and more. Have a look around the shops and be witness to the talented artists creating their products live. Some of them even have workshops available if you’re interested in learning one of these amazing crafts.
The Connemara Lady is a catamaran and is an accessible boat journey even for those with weak stomachs. The boat is very spacious with plenty of seating and a lovely little café providing tasty food and drinks, including a very tasty Irish coffee. The crew are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and willing to share with you information about the boat and the area. The views are amazing and the commentary on the way out provides a fabulous insight into the geography, farming and fishing, history and myths of the area. The total trip is around 90 minutes and you have a choice to be out on the deck (under cover on a wet day) or inside where sheltered seating is available. You’ll often see pods of dolphins racing along between the boat’s hulls.
Embrace the weather and get closer to nature. With the right equipment, (which of course is supplied by us) our tours are a great place to be in the rain in Connemara. We have spent years searching for the right wetsuit, and through trial and error we have found the best of the best. Some of the most consistent feedback from our clients is about how they have never felt so comfortable and warm whilst taking part in a water activity rain or shine.
I find the most exciting days I’ve ever experienced outdoors have been sitting in a kayak watching the weather rolling in over the horizon, listening to the sounds of the rainfall from deep inside a cave or watching as the rain bounces off the sea from the side of a magnificent sea cliff. It’s dramatic and magical and one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world! A mixture of respect for nature and huge elation from being able to be so close that you feel like you are part of it or it’s a part of you.
So…what should you do on a rainy day in Connemara? For sure book a Real Adventure! You will not be disappointed.
Thanks to Covid restrictions the last two years, many have taken up fun new outdoor hobbies. It’s no surprise that lots of people – young and old – have started sea swimming. It truly is an enjoyable pastime that has been shown to have lots of benefits for body and mind, particularly helping to ease anxiety and stress. Swimming in the sea boosts your immune system; cold water boosts the white blood cell count as the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at mobilizing its defenses. Sea swimming has become one of the most accessible and popular outdoor hobbies and something that can definitely be enjoyed in the rain, especially with the invention of the Dryrobe, which was an item on everybody’s Christmas lists last year. Check out Nug Outdoors for their fabulous version of the dry robe, a local business in Spiddal, Connemara offering amazing quality changing robes, fleeces, hats and more. This incredible lady set up her business whilst also being a mother to her 5 children. Muchos respect…
Keep an eye out on our socials, we’ll soon be sharing our top 5 sea swimming spots in the area.