This guide is about Killary Harbour, a key discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way roadtrip, part of my Ireland Travel Guide.
This blog is about Killary Harbour in County Galway, Ireland (in Irish: An Caoláire Rua). Click here for an overview of the entire route.
Summary: The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2,500km (>1,550 mile) tourist route along Ireland’s Western coastline, from Malin Head in Donegal in the North to Kinsale in the South. It connects significant historic, cultural and geographic features into a manageable road trip from staggering clifftop vistas to golden strands and stunning lighthouses.
Killary Harbour / Fjord
Killary Harbour is a fjord on the Western coast of Ireland and in the North of Connemara, County Galway. The fjord is one of only three glacial sea fjords on the island of Ireland (the other two are Carlingford Lough and Lough Swilly). It runs 16 kilometres long and to 45 metres depth in the centre.
GOOGLE MAPS FAIL
When planning your itinerary, don’t rely SOLELY on Google Maps. This blog is about Killary Harbour, which is an entire fjord. Google Maps sent me along the North side of the 16km fjord on a single track road 😂
What I needed was the Killary Harbour Viewpoint, which is a specific location on the south of the fjord. Check, then check again with another provider!
Wild Atlantic Way
Killary Harbour is a so-called ‘significant discovery point’ on the 2,500km long roadtrip, the Wild Atlantic Way. Finding the viewpoint / formal stop for Killary Harbour can be difficult, as the whole fjord is known as Killary Harbour. I followed Google Maps (which had been great for most other stops) and went right along the Northern side of the fjord, which is not at all where I was supposed to be! In fact, the viewpoint is just a couple of kilometres out of Leenaun Town (sometimes known as Leenane) along the coast road.
The Killary Harbour Viewpoint
The Killary Harbour Viewpoint is the perfect elevated location to get a picture across the fjord. I was very lucky with the weather, as it can be so windy, wet and cold in this part of the world. When I visited at the end of May 2022, the flowers were in bloom and the fields and hillsides green with heather and gorse.
You can ALMOST see the Atlantic ocean from the Killary Harbour viewpoint! In fact, there are a number of outings and boat trips that encompass Killary Fjord. This one takes in the whole region, including Killary Harbour. Some boat trips start from Nancy’s Point near Leenane and run up as far as Fox Rock near the mouth of the fjord.
A number of hikes start from near Killary Harbour and certainly feature the fjord as a view. I found this one to be an easy hike that takes about 1h30 and sets out from Ceathrú an Bhrúnaigh.
Check out the video guide which includes gorgeous drone footage of Killary Harbour:
where can i stay?
I camped at Clifden, Co Galway in my campervan. Not tempted to camp? There are multiple options to stay near Killary Harbour. Check out this list of options in Leenaun.
Further recommendations are below.
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