West Ireland in 10 Big Photos to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Updated on 18 August 2017

Whilst many visitors to Ireland are familiar with Dublin and attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway, West Ireland is often unjustly overlooked. Yet its superb scenery, gastronomic delights and charming locals make this area one of the best places to visit in Ireland. We’re sharing 10 of our favourite photos from our recent West Ireland trip to inspire your wanderlust.

Ballynahinch Castle, West Ireland

This superb hotel has a fascinating history. Ballynahinch Castle was previously the home of Prince Ranjitsinhji, Maharajah of Nawanager. He was an accomplished cricketer who batted on the England team with W.G. Grace and loved fly fishing. He was the first head of state to visit the Irish Free State in 1924. Today, his former home is a luxury hotel with a myriad of outdoor activities. We’ll be writing about it in detail in an upcoming post.

Connemara ponies

These handsome ponies are specific to the area of Connemara and they excel at show jumping.

Counting sheep

As you walk, cycle or drive around the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll notice quite a few sheep in the middle of the road so be prepared to slow down at a moment’s notice!


The island of Inishlacken is largely uninhabited these days but makes an interesting excursion from nearby Ballynahinch Castle, one of the best hotels in Ireland. They can arrange a tour with local fisherman John, where you’ll learn to fish and see the lobster pots being collected. Then you head on to Inishlacken to see the last remaining inhabitants…the sheep that are brought here by boat to graze each day. Archie rounds them up with his sheepdog before transporting them back to the mainland. The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable so make sure to dress in plenty of layers and to take a waterproof jacket.

Kylemore Abbey

There’s a link between the Maharajah who bought Ballynahinch Castle, aka Prince Ranji, and this Benedictine Abbey. Although it’s still a monastery, it was also a girls’ school until 2010. The Maharajah sent several of his nieces to school here. These days its attractive Victorian walled garden is a popular visitor attraction.

Pine Island, Derryclare Lough

This atmospheric place has the distinction of being the most photographed place in the Connemara area. Its located on Derryclare Lough, a freshwater lake, 20 kilometers east of Clifden and close to the Twelve Bens mountain range. Whatever the weather, it certainly makes for a unique shot and it’s also a popular fishing spot for salmon and trout.


This picturesque fishing village is the departure point for quite a few boat trips and well known for O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant. This cosy eatery is at the heart of the local community and serves excellent food. Roundstone has featured in several films and is a designated Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.

Sky Road

If ever a road deserved it’s name, the Sky Road certainly does. This circular coastal route stretches for 11 kilometers with an upper and a lower road. Along the way, you’ll discover some fantastic vantage points and there is a car park at the highest point so that you can capture shots like this one.

Spectacular sunsets

With very little light pollution, West Ireland is a particularly good place to see spectacular sunsets and also to stargaze. Fingers crossed that you get to experience one like we did, it’s a great way to conclude a stay in this beautiful area. Fly to Knock or Shannon international airports to see it for yourself.
Have you ever been to West Ireland? Are there any other nearby attractions that you would recommend to visitors?


  • Ellie Adams

    Suze these photos are absolutely stunning, especially the sky in the last photo, so beautiful!


    • We were lucky to catch such an amazing sunset, you just don’t get them like that in London!

  • What a beautiful place and Ireland is the perfect location for nature lovers as well. Great images, Suze. <3 Have a great weekend. /Madison x

    • It really is perfect for nature lovers and anyone who likes the great outdoors! Greetings from Thailand, Madison

  • What a stunning natural landscape,

  • Love Ireland. I had no idea about the Connemara ponies. My husband and I made a trip to Ireland when I was pregnant (not the best time to take a ferry to Aran Islands) and we loved it. These photos remind me that we really need to go back. There is so much to see and do!

    • I hadn’t heard of the Connemara ponies either, they’re so photogenic. Must have been tough being on a ferry there and pregnant, you should definitely go back in more relaxed circumstances!

  • Thanks for sharing this. Ireland has been on my bucket list for a while now and these beautiful pictures have placed it higher on the list. 🙂

    XoXo Noma

    • I’m very glad to hear that, Noma – you won’t be disappointed if you go! There’s so much space and the people are very friendly

  • That castle is absolutely gorgeous!! I’ve been to Ireland a few times in the past few years but now I feel like I need to plan a trip to west Ireland asap!


  • Kylemore Abbey is so beautiful but SO spooky! The fact that it used to be a girls’ school somehow makes it scarier haha 🙂 these photos are stunning, I want to visit all of these places now xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • I see what you mean, there is something a bit spooky about it on a dark day! I’d like to go back and see the gardens as we didn’t get time

  • Isn’t West Ireland simply gorgeous – we spent one of our all-time favourite holidays there.

    • We really loved it, I was surprised how mild the weather was and there was so much to see!

  • You make me wish we’ll win the lotto this weekend and just hop onto the next flight and head to Europe and just travel to our hearts content.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • I’ll keep my fingers firmly crossed for you, Shireen! Do let me know if you’re ever coming to London

  • Wow Ireland looks so incredibly beautiful. I must visit one day!

    – Maya at http://www.TheKelleyDoll.com

  • We visited the area a few years ago and stopped off the Sky Road for a picnic – the scenery is stunning, as your photos show! Connemara is gorgeous too 🙂

    • A picnic along the Sky Road sounds like a great idea! I’ll bear that in mind if we go back in Summertime

  • I’ve only been to Dublin and I should really think about a two-week road trip around Ireland to see all these beautiful sights! By the way, I went to Brussels yesterday to visit Villa Empain. Thanks again for the inspiration. Will post about it soon!

  • Coco Cami

    Beautiful post, definitely inspires wanderlust! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Camille xo


  • Kylemore Abbey certainly looks like somewhere I’d enjoy exploring, as do the trails including sunset views! Wonderful post as always Suze, you’ve undoubtedly made me want to visit.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Gabrielle, you would love it there – very picturesque and lots of activities on your doorstep

  • Beautiful post! It definitely inspires me to visit Ireland!


    • There’s something very distinctive about Ireland that I’m sure you’d love, Valerie

  • I visited the Causeway Coast this year and I loved it, it was so unspoilt and naturally beautiful so I’d love to see more of Ireland!

    • I’m yet to visit the Causeway Coast but that’s also high on my travel wish list

  • Things She Loves

    What a quaint area! I hope to visit there someday!!


  • I really need to make a trip to Ireland happen next year as other than a 2 day work trip to Enniskillen I don’t know the country at all and it’s so close to the UK. Kylemore Abbey looks stunning and I can see why Roundstone is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty!

    • It’s so quick to get to and I just know that you’ll love it, Maggie as the food is amazing too

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    I haven’t been to Western Ireland for years. The connemara ponies take me back to holidays with my parents when I was young

  • Wow, these photos are magnificent and make me want to visit Ireland all the more! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you’re having the best start to your week so far, beauty!



    • That’s so sweet, thank you Jalisa – hope you have a lovely end of the week. We are just back from Thailand

  • We were planning to go to Ireland this year, but things didn’t go as planned (busy work schedule sucks)! All these photos are amazing, Sky Road would be a perfect place to watch the sunset!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • Jon Dunn

    Interesting – and maybe deliberate, that you avoided mentioning Galway city and bay, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and nearby town of Doolin? Or is that heading too far south for the purposes of your article? Great pics anyhow, thanks 🙂

    • Hi Jon, we didn’t get time to explore those areas but I’ll make a mental note of them for our next trip!

      • Jon Dunn

        Galway is totally amazing – especially for live Irish music. But the whole city has such a fun, laid back vibe and it makes a great base to explore from (hence me mentioning the Burren and Moher cliffs)
        I preferred both Galway and Cork to Dublin, big time.

        • That’s interesting to know, I may be going to Dublin again at the end of the year but with a trip out to the coast on the Dart train

          • Jon Dunn

            I went years ago but did get out of Dublin on the D.A.R.T to Bray, in the south and Howth (beautiful!) just to the north. The network may be even more extensive today, enjoy exploring 🙂

  • MelBTravel

    Gorgeous pictures suze, I have always wanted to go to Kylemore Abbey. It is one of those places that have been on my buck-list for a while now and i hope to get there one day. You definitely inspired me to go back to Ireland again.

  • alice

    Love reading this.!

    Alice Cerea

  • Hayley Rubery

    Lady your pictures are always SO beautiful! They could literally make me want to travel everywhere you go! How stunning does that Ballynahinch Castle look?! And oh, that pink sky.. I’m sold!

    Hayley xo

  • It’s nice to read about areas of Ireland aside from Dublin / Cork etc and the scenery and castles look beautiful! I never would have known the maharajas were such a part of the history in this area!

  • Lucy

    Wow stunning pictures Suze. Ireland is very beautiful. Galaway and Kinvara are also stunning and worthy additions to your list. Derry has wonderful sunsets Lucy x

  • Beautiful images! You certainly inspired my wanderlust – been to Dublin so many times but I would love to explore the countryside a little more.


  • amazing! counting sheep:))

  • This is such a great post. I have always wanted to visit Ireland and these pictures make me want to book a flight TODAY! Gorgeous… Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    – Elise xo

  • Well you’ve definitely inspired me! Really beautiful shots of a lovely part of the world. Ireland is so underrated as a travel destination.

  • Zorica

    So happy that I came across your blog, love it
    Thanks for sharing