A visit to Omey Island in Galway is one of the most overlooked things to do in Connemara.
This unique island is almost hidden from the mainland but it offers an interesting place to visit during your Galway road trip.
It’s possible to drive or walk to this island at low tide. This guide will cover everything that you need to know about getting to Omey Island, including planning your visit around the tide.
Some quick need-to-knows about Omey Island
A visit to Omey Island in Galway isn’t overly straightforward, if you don’t do a little bit of research in advance.
It can also be dangerous (the tide can come in when you’re on the island), so taking a moment to read the below is very important.
Omey Island is a tidal island near Claddaghduff on the western edge of the Connemara region in Galway.
2. Tide times
In order to get to the island safely, you need to understand the Omey Island tide times. Read the guide below to discover how to gauge them in advance of your visit.
3. Getting to the island
When the tide is out (info on the Omey Island tide times below), you can either walk or drive to the island. You’ll need to drive on the sand, so care is needed (see below).
About Omey Island in Galway
Omey Island in Galway has a wealth of antiquities and is a great destination for history buffs. The ruins of Teampaill Feichin (Feichin’s Church) from the 7th century lie close to the northern coast.
It was covered in sand until 1981 and is surrounded by a semi-submerged village that was wiped out during the Famine. You can also visit St Feichin’s Holy Well to the west.
The island is mostly abandoned with some part-time residents during summer. However, it continues to be the main burial ground for the region. You can visit this island at low tide, which requires a fair bit of planning.
Understanding the Omey Island tide times BEFORE planning your visit
Understanding the Omey Island tide times in advance of your visit, as we’ve mentioned, is reeeeeeally important. Find information on the tide times here.
If in doubt, you can also ask in Sweeney’s pub in Claddaghduff for advice before setting off. There’s a real danger here if you get this wrong.
If the tide begins to come in when you’re on the island, you’ll be stranded there until it starts to go back out again.
Getting to the island on foot
To reach the island by foot, you can park your car at the parking area at the end of the road that runs beside the Church of Our Lady The Star of the Sea, close to Claddaghduff.
From there you can walk across the sand to reach the island. At low tide, it is just a 15-minute walk across the sand. Most of the island is accessible by walking. However, some of the land is privately owned, so respect fences and keep away from areas marked as private property.
Getting to the island by car
You can also drive across onto the island (again, see above info on reading the Omey Island tide times).
Instead of parking your car at the end of the road that runs beside the church or you can continue to drive slowly across on the sand. There are signs indicating the way across.
There is a road running across the island from Omey Strand to the Atlantic shore.
The Omey Island Walk
If you’re on foot, you can head off on a stroll around Omey Island. This is one of the less popular of the many Galway walks, but it packs a punch. It kicks off the minute you reach the sandy shores.
Head right and follow the shoreline, passing the graveyard and ignoring the sandy road leading inland. You’ll soon find the sandy track above the shoreline that follows the northern coast.
It takes you to the ruins of Feichin’s Church, where you can continue to follow the shore along. Keep the sea on your right until you come to a small bay where Feichin’s well sits above the shore.
From there, cross the beach and join the road that heads left past the lake and back down to Omey Strand.
The Omey Island walk will take about 2-3 hours and covers around 8km of relatively easy walking. Make sure you set out with plenty of time to make it back across to the mainland before high tide.
Things to do near Omey Island in Galway
One of the beauties of visiting Omey Island in Galway is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Omey Island (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Spend a night by the sea at Clifden Eco Beach Camping
If you’re looking for a relaxing place to switch off and spend the night by the sea, Clifden Eco Beach Camping is ideally located just 10 minutes from Clifden and two minutes from Claddaghduff.
They offer a range of accommodation options, including units and sites for tents and caravans.
You can also rent a tipi tent from them for something really unique. See our guide to camping in Galway for loads more options.
2. Drive, cycle or walk the Sky Road
The scenic 16km Sky Road offers an incredibly stunning view of the Connemara region. The road heads west of Clifden onto the Kingstown peninsula, where the upper route offers a panoramic view over the coastline. You can drive the circuit or opt for something more active like walking or cycling.
3. Visit Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey is one of the most picturesque estates in Ireland. Located right on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, the beautiful Benedictine monastery and Victorian Walled Gardens are worth a visit and a self-guided tour.
4. Climb Diamond Hill
If you’re up for a hike, Diamond Hill offers an incredibly rewarding 7km loop walk. The tough climb up of 442m in elevation includes a spectacular view from the summit over Connemara’s coastline and the surrounding mountains.
5. Explore Connemara National Park
The well-known Connemara National Park stretches over 3000 hectares of scenic mountain landscape. You can enjoy the area on foot or by car, with plenty of opportunities to take in the views. There’s a great visitor centre at the park, which is where you should begin your visit.
6. Head for a dip at Dog’s Bay
Often considered one of the best beaches in Ireland, you won’t want to miss a visit to Dog’s Bay Beach. Located just 3km from Roundstone village on the way to Clifden, this stunning white sand beach is the perfect place for a dip on a hot summer day.