Bunowen Bay

Wild Atlantic Way

Cruising through Connemara: Discovering Bunowen Bay on Two Wheels

Bunowen Bay, nestled on the Slyne Head promontory in County Galway, offers motorcyclists an unforgettable journey with its crystal-clear waters, picturesque beach, and nearby Connemara Smokehouse. Join us as we explore this scenic destination, perfect for a day of riding, relaxing, and indulging in local delicacies.
Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point Bunowen Bay, Ballyconneely Co. Galway, Ireland
Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point Bunowen Bay, Ballyconneely Co. Galway, Ireland

As we set off on our latest adventure, the road calls us to the Wild Atlantic Way, promising a journey filled with stunning landscapes, invigorating rides, and hidden treasures. Today, our destination is Bunowen Bay, a charming spot on the Slyne Head promontory in Connemara, County Galway. For motorcyclists seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences, this bay is a must-visit.

The Journey to Bunowen Bay

Our ride begins in Clifden, the heart of Connemara. The R341 road leads us west towards Ballyconneely, winding through a landscape that’s both rugged and serene. The fresh coastal air and open road provide the perfect backdrop for a thrilling ride. As we reach Ballyconneely, we take a right fork, following the signs for the Connemara Golf Club and the Connemara Smokehouse. The anticipation builds as we approach Bunowen Bay.

A Picture-Perfect Arrival

Arriving at Bunowen Bay, we’re greeted by a small, sheltered beach with waters so clear you can see the sandy bottom. The bay is a natural haven, framed by rocky outcrops typical of the Connemara landscape. The nearby harbour adds a touch of quaint charm, making it a perfect spot to park the bike and take in the view.

The Beach Experience

The beach at Bunowen Bay is a biker’s delight – not because of roaring engines, but because of the peace it offers after a spirited ride. The sands are soft and inviting, and the waters, while clear and refreshing, require a bit of caution due to the sudden drop-off in depth. It’s a fantastic spot for a quick dip or to simply sit back and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Connemara Smokehouse

Just a short stroll from the beach lies the Connemara Smokehouse, a local gem renowned for its smoked fish. Stepping into the smokehouse, the rich aroma of smoked salmon and mackerel fills the air. It’s the perfect place to pick up a tasty treat for lunch or to take home as a delicious souvenir. The smokehouse’s products are crafted with traditional methods, offering an authentic taste of Connemara.

Connemara Golf Club

For those who fancy a round of golf, the Connemara Golf Club is nearby. This links-style course is laid out over the rocky terrain, providing a unique golfing experience with stunning views of the Atlantic. Even if you’re not an avid golfer, the club’s location makes for a great additional stop on your day’s itinerary, offering a glimpse of the region’s diverse recreational opportunities.

Bunowen Castle: A Glimpse into History

Just a short ride from Bunowen Bay, you’ll find the ruins of Bunowen Castle. This 12th or 13th-century Anglo-Norman castle, once the stronghold of the O’Flahertys clan, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the nearby ocean. Despite its state of disrepair, the castle retains most of its fortifications and defensive towers, with an inner courtyard and surrounding walls that hint at its former grandeur. It’s said to be haunted, adding a touch of mystery to your visit. While you can’t explore the castle up close, viewing it from a distance is still a captivating experience.

Scenic Routes and Stops

The ride through Connemara is nothing short of spectacular. The roads meander through a landscape dotted with lakes, bogs, and mountains. Every turn reveals a new vista, each more breathtaking than the last. Be sure to take your time and explore some of the scenic routes, like the Sky Road, which offers panoramic views of Clifden Bay and the offshore islands.

Local Culture and History

Connemara is rich in culture and history, with plenty of opportunities to delve into its past. From ancient stone walls to traditional thatched cottages, the area is a living museum. The locals are friendly and always ready to share a story or two about the region’s history and traditions.

Reflections on the Ride

Bunowen Bay is more than just a stop along the Wild Atlantic Way – it’s a destination that captures the essence of Connemara’s rugged beauty and rich culture. The journey here, with its winding roads and stunning scenery, is an adventure in itself. Whether you’re taking a dip in the clear waters, savouring the smoked fish from the Connemara Smokehouse, or simply soaking in the serene atmosphere, Bunowen Bay offers an unforgettable experience for any motorcyclist.

Planning Your Next Adventure

As you plan your next ride along the Wild Atlantic Way, be sure to include Bunowen Bay on your itinerary. It’s a perfect blend of scenic beauty, cultural richness, and the simple pleasures of a day well spent on two wheels. So, gear up and get ready to explore the hidden gems of Connemara – the open road awaits.

In summary, riding to Bunowen Bay offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation. The journey through Connemara’s rugged landscapes, the charm of the bay itself, and the local delights like the Connemara Smokehouse make it an essential stop for any biker exploring Ireland’s west coast. The road to Bunowen Bay is calling – are you ready to answer?

Here you can find Bunowen Bay:

CV4H+XJ, Aillebrack, Murlach Moorings, Co. Galway


Q: How do I get to Bunowen Bay from Clifden?

A: Take the R341 road from Clifden towards Ballyconneely. In the village, take the right fork signposted for Connemara Golf Club and the Connemara Smokehouse. Follow this road until you reach the beach.

Q: Is there parking available near Bunowen Bay?

A: There are a few parking spots near the beach, and additional parking is available at the harbour. It’s a short walk from the harbour to the beach.

Q: What is the Connemara Smokehouse known for?

A: The Connemara Smokehouse is famous for its traditionally smoked fish, including salmon and mackerel. It’s a great place to purchase local delicacies.

Q: Can I swim at Bunowen Bay?

A: Yes, you can swim at Bunowen Bay, but be cautious as the water gets deep quickly. It’s best to stay close to the shore if you’re not a strong swimmer.

Q: Are there other attractions near Bunowen Bay?

A: Yes, the Connemara Golf Club is nearby, offering a links-style course with stunning views. Additionally, the surrounding Connemara region is filled with scenic routes and cultural sites worth exploring.

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