Connemara - for Cyclists and Tourists

With the Mayo Greenway a huge success and the Connemara Greenway in the planning process, which is wonderful as it will be a great benefit to both visitor and local alike.  We might think we're pretty innovative in creating these cycling routes.....well, we've been pipped to the post by R. J. Mecredy & Company Limited (c. 1930) at the Irish Cyclist Office in Dame Court, Dublin!

An old friend of the proprietor of Renvyle House came across 'Mecredy's Road Map - Connemara, for Cyclists and Tourists' taking in "Dangerous Hills, Nature of Road Surfaces, Scenery, etc."  I cannot find a date on the map but assume it's from the 1930's as it mentions the Clifden Railway, which was closed in 1935.  The cycling routes in this map take in Connemara, Galway, Achill and the West.  It is a beautiful map and lists various hotels along the way, one of them being Renvyle House with Mrs. Blake as the proprietor.

Other hotels in Connemara mentioned on the reverse side of the map include The Railway Hotel in Clifden, Mongan's hotel in Carna, John Wallace's hotel in Maam, the Zetland Arms Hotel, King's Hotel in Leenane, Lyden's Hotel in Clifden, the Leenane Hotel in Killery Bay, the Letterfrack Hotel with proprietress Mrs. O'Grady and many more gems.

I particularly loved the helpful advice to cyclists in the west of Ireland 'Hints and Explanations' and they are worth sharing:

"Our Standard of good and bad roads is based on the average of the United Kingdom.  Cyclists, therefore, who are used to snad-papered surfaces which obtain on roads such as the Great North Road, between Biggleswade and Peterborough, in England, must not be disappointed if the roads marked Blue do not come up to their expectations.

Head winds and mud make a great difference in one's impressions.  Roads vary very much at different seasons of the year and under different circumstances.  For example, a long drought will sometimes make an otherwise excellent road like a bed of a torrent, and wholesale metalling will make the surface seem atrociously bad.

In Connemara, high winds are very frequent and usually blow from the West.  Consequently it is better to enter the country from the North-West, as at Westport, and leave it at Galway."

Map of the Renvyle Grounds

Grounds Map for Renvyle House HotelA lovely map of the grounds at Renvyle House Hotel designed by Sophie Coyle, who also designed our Herb Garden 5 years ago.  This map gives the layout of where everything is and most of the activities that are free to our residential guests during their stay with us.

We will printing this in the new year so you will have it to hand when you are staying with us.

View PDF Format of this Map


Renvyle House Fireplaces

Renvyle House Hotel Connemara, Arts & Crafts Fireplaces

This post is to explain somewhat, the architecture and design of the old house at Renvyle House. It is a country house, a low lying Lutynesque style which suits it rural coastal location (it is not a country manor as most of us might imagine). The house was rebuilt in the Arts and Crafts style after it had been burned down in the Irish Civil of the 1920′s. There are over 20 different orifinal fireplaces throughout the house which have been recorded in the Album below. You will also see from our old Brochures, one from the 1930′s (on this Blog) that the present owners have maintained the ethos of this building as much as possible.

Wikipedia describe the Arts & Crafts Movement as, (and here is where I get lazy, as I would not be able to put it much better!): "an international design movement that originated in England and flourished between 1880 and 1910, continuing its influence up to the 1930s. Instigated by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) in the 1860s and inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900), it had its earliest and fullest development in the British Isles but spread to Europe and North America as a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts and the conditions under which they were produced.

The movement advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It also proposed economic and social reform and has been seen as essentially anti-industrial."

There's plenty more information, but I think I might try to write it myself.

In the meantime, here are some of the many Arts and Crafts fireplaces in the public areas and bedrooms in the hotel (not all mind you). They are each unique, with a unique design, in fact fairly unique architecturally in Ireland.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit

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Bridgestone Award1: An Award Winning Hotel which demonstrates our commitment to delivering excellent quality food, and superior customer service
  • Selected as one of the Bridgestone Guides 100 Best Places to stay in Ireland 2011 (and the last 6 years)
  • awarded Georgina Campbell family friendly hotel of the year in 2009
  • Head Chef Tim O' Sullivan voted Best chef in Connaught 2008 & 2007

Renvyle Connemara Experience2: Passionate about creating an Irish Connemara customer experience that is both authentic and memorable based on employing local staff, sourcing local food, and purchasing Irish designed furniture & furnishings.


Renvyle Activity Breaks3: Choose from a range of 'fresh & innovative' themed activity breaks from our NEW Midweek Magic 2011 programme (click here for more details…)


Renvyle House ultimate setting

4: The Ultimate Idyllic setting nestled in the heart of the Connemara countryside on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean with lots of opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities right on our doorstep (Fishing, Clay pigeon shooting, Golfing, Boating, and lots more…)


Renvyle House home from home5: A home away from home, Renvyle house provides guests with the perfect balance between activity and relaxation, enjoyment & escapism, privacy & sociability. Click here to plan your next trip!

Renvyle Walks

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Diamond Hill Walk

Diamond Hill Walk Map

There are some great walks around the Renvyle Peninsula which we will upload from time to time. The peninsula has a great history and some sights of archaeological interest as well as great fresh air and stunning scenery.

On a clear day you can see the chruch on the top of Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo! There is also great wildlife in the area.

There is one walk which is very manageable and in the Connemara National Park. It's the walk to the top of Diamond Hill and has various looped walks, depending on how long you have, along the way. The views from the top are amazing. You can see to Mayo and all around Connemara, views over Kylemore Abbey and the stretch of bog across to south Connemara. Click Letterfrack, Diamond Hill to get the details.

There is another looped walk around the Renvyle Peninsula that also has great views and plenty of interesting things to see along the way: Renvyle Country Roads.

During our weekend breaks and midweek breaks, if you have a group of 8 or more interested in a guided walk, we would be happy to provide a qualified guide for you.

Renvyle – perfect Filming Location

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The RTE/ITV cop drama series 'Single-Handed' , filmed on location at Renvyle and througout Connemara, starring Galway actor Owen McDonnell (Jack Driscoll) is back for a new six part series which starts on the Sunday 7th November, 2010 on RTE1 at 9:30pm.

The cast and crew returned to the west of Ireland for filming earlier this year and some stayed with us at Renvyle House and around the Peninsula. They worked very long days and we saw less of them for chats and stories as a result but all were happy on location. There are some photographs of the filming in progress on our facebook page (Single-Handed Shoot album).

RTE and ITV commissioned Touchpaper Television to make this new series which is written by Barry Simner (The Vice, Midsomer Murders), Clive Bradley (City of Vice) and Colin Teevan (How Many Miles to Basra). It is directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan (December Bride, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Silent Witness).

The last series was described as:

  • 'This classy, brooding crime drama is a rare and wise purchase from RTE…Single-Handed was anything but bog standard – five stars' (The Times)
  • 'Two hours of fresh, abosorbing drama. Don't miss it' (Observer)
  • '…Single-Handed gripped as hard as any slick urban thriller' (Metro)

This next series is also receiving promising reviews and all comment on the stunning scenery of Connemara. For those of you unable to see it on RTE1 you can view the first episode on RTE Player after the 7th November.