Leenane village is a wonderfully scenic little village in Connemara.
And, while it gets mobbed during the summer, it’s extremely sleepy during the off-season! It sits in an area of stunning natural beauty, surrounded by mountains and on the edge of the incredible Killary Fjord.
Below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Leenane to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Leenane in Galway
Now, before you load up the car and head out to Leenane, let’s take a look over the basics.
Leenane enjoys a beautiful location on the edge of the stunning Connemara region in County Galway. Perched on the edge of the Killary Fjord, it enjoys incredible scenery that takes in the mirror-like surface of the fjord, rolling hills, and craggy mountains. It’s a 40-minute drive from both Clifden and Louisburgh.
2. Rural Ireland at its finest
If you’re looking for an authentic rural experience, Leenane is the place to be. For most of the year, it’s an extremely quiet village and is seldom visited by tourists outside of the summer months. Surrounded by peaceful, stark landscapes, it’s a veritable haven of tranquillity.
3. The home of ‘The Field’
Leenane served as the impressive backdrop to Jim Sheridan’s classic, ‘The Field’, starring Richard Harris, John Hurt, Sean Bean, Brenda Fricker, and Tom Berenger. Fans of the movie will recognise much of the village, especially Gaynor’s Bar, which starred as the local pub in the film.
Surrounded by a landscape of mountains, fjords, and vibrant green fields, the small village of Leenane, also known as Leenaun, is a land of contrast.
The stark, somewhat remote, surroundings are at odds with the colourful doorways throughout the village. Within, you’ll find a number of lively pubs, bustling cafes, and quirky crafts shops.
It’s very much a rural community, with farm fields stretching out all around the village. There are also several annual festivals that tie in with local agriculture, including sheep shows and ram fairs.
You’ll also find a few shops selling authentic wool products, with the Sheep and Wool Centre offering tours and workshops.
Locals also enjoy taking to the nearby hills and mountain trails for a good walk out among the stunning natural surroundings. The village truly does offer a relaxing experience, far away from the crowds of the city.
Things to do in Leenane (and nearby)
There’s plenty of things to do in Leenane and there’s endless places to visit close by.
Below, you’ll find a clatter of recommendations, from some of the finest beaches in Connemara to hikes and drives.
1. Take a Killary Fjord boat tour
With Killary Fjord on your doorstep, you’re bound to want to get a closer look. There’s no finer way to see the majestic, stark fjord and the surrounding Connemara wilderness, than taking a boat tour.
As you slowly drift along the still waters, you’ll feel the surrounding mountains swallowing you up as they loom overhead.
The 90-minute tour takes you out to the mouth of the fjord, passing mussel and salmon farms along the way.
The onboard cafe serves up a range of tasty dishes, including fresh mussels, seafood chowder, and sandwiches, plus it has a well-stocked bar.
2. Drive from Leenane to Louisburgh via the Doolough Valley
The drive from Leenane to Louisburgh is insanely beautiful and well worth checking out. The road takes you to the head of the fjord, before looping back on the opposite bank.
All the while, the mirror-like surface glimmers to your side, while bracken cascades down the opposite bank.
Soon enough, the road sweeps north into the Doolough Valley, an area of stark wilderness, breathtaking in its remoteness.
Mountains line the road, while craggy rocks and boulders jut out of the ground, breaking the sweeps of vivid green.
Driving on, you’ll pass lakes, rivers, and bogs, providing a tapestry of different landscapes, before finally arriving in Louisburgh for a spot of lunch or a pint.
3. See Aasleagh Falls
Aasleagh Falls are just a short drive away from Leenane and are well worth making the trip to. As the Erriff River flows into Killary Fjord, the waters crash down the rocks, creating a series of gorgeous waterfalls.
The crash of the water makes a great soundtrack for a picnic, and if you watch the waters long enough, you may catch a glimpse of trout or salmon fighting against the current.
There’s a tiny car park just off the main road after Aasleagh Bridge, and from there, it’s just a short walk to the water.
4. Spend a day at Delphi Adventure Centre
Looking for things to do in Leenane with a group? Delphi Resort and Adventure Centre is a top choice for getting the blood pumping.
Set in the idyllic Delphi Valley, the resort offers a wealth of adventurous activities to check out. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the activities, the friendly team will make you feel at ease in no time.
You can try a huge range of activities, including archery, bushcraft, kayaking, surfing, canoeing, sea-kayaking, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, and many more.
Alternatively, you can check out some of their challenging obstacle courses, zip lines, aerial walks, and the epic bog obstacle.
5. Visit Killary Sheep Farm
If you’re looking to soak up the local culture, a visit to Killary Sheep Farm is a must. Sheep farmer Tom Nee shows you around his world, with guided tours of the farm and a number of demonstrations.
Highlights include the sheepdog demonstration, which is magical to witness! Other activities change with the season, and range from sheep shearing, petting and feeding the lambs, and turf cutting demonstrations.
Tom is a fountain of knowledge and has a story for every occasion. He’s more than happy to show you around and answer any questions you might have, making this an educational, fun, and hands-on experience for all the family.
6. Kick-back in the Connemara Seaweed Baths
Fancy a little pampering, Connemara style? The seaweed baths offer a unique experience bursting with health benefits. Locally sourced seaweed is harvested by hand daily for this special day spa.
They offer the whole package; start by letting off steam in the sauna, then dip into the hot salt water and seaweed bath for a good soak. Once you’re done, melt into the outdoor plunge pool to close up the pores.
There’s also a jacuzzi and steam room, making it a top place to de-stress, detox, relax, and refresh your body and soul. While Connemara Seaweed Baths are no longer based in Leenane, you’ll find them a short drive away in Clifden.
7. Visit one of many nearby beaches
Leenane is well-placed to enjoy some of the best beaches in Ireland. The Renvyle Peninsula is a short drive away along some incredibly scenic roads and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Connemara.
Over in Louisburgh (40-minute drive) there’s Silver Strand, Old Head Beach, Carrowniskey Beach, Cross Beach and Carrowmore Beach.
8. Explore the Lost Valley
Seek out the lost valley in County Mayo by taking a long but scenic drive that circles the mighty Mweelrea Mountain. As you approach the end of the road, literally, you’ll come upon the Lost Valley.
The Lost Valley is a working sheep farm, rich in history and Irish culture. It stands as a monument to the ‘Great Hunger’, with a ruined famine-era village and 200-year-old potato ridges, untouched since the day they were abandoned.
Visitors can take a tour of the historic farm and the surrounding lands, guided by the Bourke Family who have recently reclaimed their land, which has been in the family for at least seven generations.
9. See Kylemore Abbey
The gorgeous Kylemore Abbey sits on the edge of Lough Pollacapall, itself on the edge of Connemara National Park. You can guess that the surrounding scenery is out of this world, but the Abbey itself is also sure to impress. A former Victorian-era castle and walled garden, it is now home to a sisterhood of Benedictine nuns.
Visitors can check out both the abbey and the grounds, learning about the history of the estate and the nuns themselves.
There are a number of walks to enjoy, through the woods, along the lakeside, and within the gorgeous walled gardens.
Afterward, check out some of the arts and crafts that the nuns partake in, with workshops and demonstrations to enjoy.
10. Conquer Mweelrea
The mighty Mweelrea Mountain boasts the highest peak in Connacht, standing at 814 metres. Reaching the summit is a challenge, but the rewards are spectacular panoramic views over the surrounding countryside.
There are several hiking trails that’ll take you up and down, but all are rated as strenuous and are not beginner-friendly. The most common route is a 14 km out and back slog with a total elevation of just shy of 1,100 metres.
The terrain is a mix of boggy lowlands, slippery rocky paths, and steep hillsides, so you’ll need decent boots and comfortable clothing. It’s good to go with a local guide if you’re not overly experienced.
11. Day trips galore
Leenane is perfectly placed to allow for some fantastic day trips. The village is surrounded by amazing roads, so you can really enjoy taking the scenic route to a wealth of nearby villages and towns.
Try taking a drive to Clifden via the incredible Sky Road, where you’ll see amazing scenery across the Kingstown Peninsula. Once you arrive in Clifden, you’ll find plenty to see and do, including great pubs, cafes, and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries, and even a theatre.
Alternatively, head to Roonagh Pier to take the ferry to Inishturk Island, with its gorgeous beaches and imposing cliffs.
Staying on the mainland, Diamond Hill is another great peak to try and climb, with a fairly easy-going route to the peak, where you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of Connemara.
Places to stay in Leenane
Leenane is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. With that in mind, here are some great places to stay in and around the village.
Note: if you book a stay through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.
1. Leenane Hotel
This 18th-century coaching inn has been welcoming guests to Leenane for centuries. It boasts incredible views out over the fjord, while the interior is brimming with character and curiosities. A hearty turf fire creates a cosy ambiance in the hotel bar, while the restaurant serves up local ingredients cooked to world-class standards. There are 66 en-suite bedrooms, each tastefully decorated, comfortable, and spacious, fitted with all the modern amenities you need.
2. Portfinn Lodge
This quaint little bed and breakfast is perfectly situated just a short walk from Leenane’s pubs, cafes, and shops. They offer a number of en-suite rooms, each one cosy and offering a spectacular view of either Killary Fjord or the Maumturk Mountains. Breakfast is cooked to order and served in their dining room, with its lovely open fire to keep you warm on those cooler mornings.
3. The Convent Bed & Breakfast
Boasting incredible views over the fjord, the Convent is just a short walk from the heart of the village. The cosy B&B is housed, perhaps not surprisingly, in an old convent, and several features, such as the stained-glass windows in the breakfast room, remain. Each of the en-suite rooms is comfortable and kitted out with all you need, while the cooked breakfasts are fabulous — try the salmon and eggs! The friendly owners and staff ensure a warm welcome and a top stay.
4. Delphi Resort Hotel & Spa
For an action-packed getaway, a stay at Delphi Resort is a great choice. Set amid 300-acres of woodlands, the hotel is actually around 12 km from Leenane, but we thought it’d be worth a mention! You can indulge in the on-site spa or get your blood pumping by checking out the numerous adventure activities on offer. The en-suite rooms are finished to a high standard, and the full Irish is just what you need to get your day started the right way.
Pubs and restaurants in Leenane
There are some fantastic places to grab a pint and a bite to eat in Leenane. Here are some of our top picks.
1. Gaynor’s Bar, The Field Bar
This is the classic Leenane Bar. Known as the pub in ‘The Field’ movie, it retains its olde worlde charm to this day. With an open fire, stone walls, and rustic wooden bar, it’s brimming with character. They serve up a range of Irish classics, such as Beamish and Guinness, and when we were there last, they were offering a number of traditional Irish dishes. A good mix of locals and visitors, the pub has a fantastic vibe.
2. The Purple Door Café
Open for breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner, plus all the small snacks in between, the Purple Door Cafe is a fantastic place for a bite to eat or a smashing cup of coffee. They serve up a range of dishes throughout the day, including omelettes, pancakes, breakfast rolls, fries, and toasties among many seasonal choices. You’ll also find a great selection of cakes and pastries for something sweet, as well as gluten-free and vegan options.
3. Hamilton’s Bar
This old-fashioned grocery pub is a top spot for everything from getting your morning paper, filling up the car, and grabbing a tasty pint or two. Inside, the open fire creates ambiance, while the friendly staff make you feel at home from the start. They serve up a range of drinks, as well as locally sourced food.
4. Blackberry Restaurant
The Blackberry Restaurant overlooks the picturesque Killary Fjord, and many of the dishes on the menu boast ingredients sourced from within its depths. Indeed, pretty much all of the ingredients that the husband and wife team use in their dishes are found locally. To wash your seafood, steak, calamari, or one of the many other dishes on offer, down, you can choose from a decent wine list or a number of local craft beers and ciders.
5. Misunderstood Heron
If you follow the road that runs along the fjord west, you’ll eventually come to the Misunderstood Heron, a fabulous food truck in an idyllic location. With an amazing view over the fjord and the surrounding countryside, it’s a top place for a little al-fresco dining. A favourite among globe-trotting foodies, you’ll find an ever-changing menu on offer, featuring dishes such as sandwiches, curries, pasties, mussels, and much more. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are a given, resulting in a top dining experience.
6. The Leenane Hotel
The bar and restaurant at the Leenane Hotel serve up some fantastic dishes. Best of all, you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy dining there, so even if you’re just passing through, you can enjoy the delights on offer. They serve both lunch and dinner, with extensive menus that make the most of the fabulous ingredients that are available locally. From seafood and steaks to local lamb and pasta dishes, the variety is fantastic.
FAQs about visiting Leenane Village
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where’s good for food?’ to ‘What is there to do?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Leenane worth visiting?
Yes. This is a stunning village but please do keep in mind that some businesses close during the quiet winter months.
Are there many things to do in Leenane?
You can soak up views of Killary Fjord, take a boat tour, head off on the scenic drive to Louisburgh, see Aasleagh Falls and plenty more.
Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he’d still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.