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Clifden, in the shadow of castle ruins on the coast of Connemara

Clifden is situated on a wide and beautiful bay completely sheltered from the Atlantic by high shores and rocky promontories. It was built in the early 1800s and the largest town in Connemara. The approach is a little tricky but easily navigable with care to the sailing instructions. Inside are fish farms teaming with salmon along one shore, and a secure anchorage on the other side in the lee of a huge 19th century castle ruin and refurbished Coast Guard station. The castle was built in the early 1800s as the home of the man who was developing Clifden so he could supervise from nearby. His son ran out of money and the castle fell to ruins quickly during the Famine.

There is a mooring field farther in and a pretty harbour beyond. Access to the town of Clifden is a considerable dinghy ride away from the outer bay. Clifden has everything you could possibly need for provisioning and diversions. We saved the ride into town for another day as we had already visited Clifden by land and instead enjoyed the spectacular sunset with dinner onboard.

Well sheltered Bay with easy access over a bar between two sand spits. Careful navigation and tidal consideration is important. There is extensive fish farming with salmon cages and mussel lines and caution is required to avoid these.

Facilities: Clifden Boat Club welcomes visitors and is 1.6 km from the town. It has visitor moorings, Boardwalk Cafe bar/restaurant, water, WiFi and showers. Clifden Harbour is 1km farther east providing a sheltered tidal harbour with a draft of about 3m at MHW. Quay dries. Walk along waterfront from CBC to town. All amenities in town, the heart of Connemara. Restaurants, supermarkets, banks, buses. Fuel by truck at quay by prearrangement.

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