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The Coastguard Station

The Sky Road

In the last twenty-five years the Sky Road has become the leading tourist attraction of the Clifden area. As the road begins its sinuous wind west of the town past the Thomas Whelan Memorial and over Mullarkey's Hill, the eastward view takes in the dramatic panorama of Clifden with the Twelve Bins in the background, one of the most famous and photographed vistas in the entire country.

Continuing through the townlands of Cloughanard and Falkeeragh it passes by the picturesque entrance to the D’Arcy Castle.

Just above the castle the Atlantic comes into view with the rugged Connemara coastline to the south and the breaker rocks of Carraignaroona and the beacon tower at Errislannon Point, known locally as the 'White Lady', directly ahead. 

Although the Sky Road is the name now used by both the upper and lower roads (which divide for about four miles and reconnect to form the 'North' road on the opposite side of the peninsula) originally it was used exclusively in relation to the upper or 'high' road. The name originated, according to local tradition,  when visitors to the area in the early part of the century, on questioning where the high road led to, were pointed west 'up towards the sky'. And indeed the climb is worthy of the name. At Scardan the road reaches an altitude of about 400 ft. almost vertically above sea level.

The view to the east is a spectacular panorama of Clifden Bay framed by the mountains to the east and north and the four 'Erris' peninsulas of Connemara (Errislannan, Errismore, Errisbeg and Iorrus Aineach) to the south and southeast. Continuing westwards for another half mile or so there is a parking area  from where the spectator can view another panoramic expanse, extending in an arc from Errismore and Slyne Head to the islands of Inishturbot, Inishturk, High Island, Omey, Ininsshark and Inishbofin. On a clear day clear day the contours of the Atlantic coastline, including Inish Turk North, Mweelrea, and Achill, can be seen stretching away to the north.

The 'lower' Sky Road follows along the more fertile land along the coast, through the populated townlands of Beleek and Fahy.  Here, the views are equally spectacular, with magnificent cliff formations and sea erosion visible at first hand. 
This is an area that is rich in geology and archeology as well as local history. As the area was Irish-speaking until the end of the nineteenth century most of the place names have never been anglicized and are still known in their traditional form: thus we have Caladh Beag and Caladh Mor, Moineir, Ard Mor, Ail Antoine, Barr na hAille, Cloch a' tSaigdiur, Fo Thaigh, Pol Uamhin, and so on.


The Coastguard Station
Sky Road
Co. Galway