Spiddal is a village on the north coast of Galway Bay in Connemara, County Galway. It's not so much the largest, more like the least tiny, of the little settlements that straggle along R336, all described on this page. To the east, see Galway for the city itself and everything along the road through Salthills as far as Silverstrand. To the west, see Carraroe for the area from Costello down the Carraroe peninsula and across the chain of islands to Lettermore and Lettermullan.
Spiddal in Irish is An Spidéal, "the hospital", in that word's older meaning of a place of shelter or hospitality. It would be a most welcome stop in bleak Connemara, with night coming on, the rain lashing down and your horse limping. Inland from the highway there's farmland but mostly a wilderness of stones and bogs. South is the Bay, with views towards County Clare and the Aran Islands. Most visitors are just passing through along the highway, but Spiddal and its neighbouring villages are congenial places to relax for a day or two.
R336 is the lane west along the coast from Galway through 1 Spiddal to Inverin, Rossaveel and Costello. From there R343 branches south down the Carraroe peninsula, R374 goes west to cross the chain of islands, while R336 continues north to Maam Cross. The coast road from Galway to Costello and beyond is marketed as the Wild Atlantic Way.
2 Connemara Airport at Inverin (Indreabhán) has flights by Aer Árann Islands [dead link] to all three of the Aran Islands: Inis Mór (the usual destination), Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr. See those pages for details, but they fly daily year-round and a day trip is feasible.
There are no flights from Connemara or anywhere else to Inishbofin Island, where the expensive taxpayer-funded airport remains unused.
Bus 424 runs every hour or two from Galway to Salthill, Barna, Spiddal (35 min), Inverin (passing within one km of the airport), Rossaveel (connecting with the ferries), Costello and Carraroe. Three buses a day continue to Lettermore and Lettermullan on the chain of islands.
You need a car.
- Most travellers will follow the road west from the city.
- 1 Silverstrand is on Rusheen Bay, which empties out at low tide to leave an extensive beach. See Galway city for amenities here.
- 2 Barna (Bearna) is a fast-growing village with lots of accommodation. Traditionally Irish-speaking, its residents are fighting a rearguard action against the encroaching commuter belt of the Anglophone city.
- 3 Furbo (Na Forbacha) is where you definitely enter the Gaeltacht, as 80% of all its housing developments must be reserved for Irish-speakers. There's a good beach, and Padraicins large seafood restaurant has rooms.
- Spiddal itself starts unpromisingly with an industrial zone, then you come to the beach and village centre.
- 4 Knock South has accommodation, a supermarket and a beach. It's sometimes described as being in Inverin (Indreabhán, mouth of the river) but most of that is further west, with industry supporting Connemara Airport.
- Rossaveel is short of accommodation, there's one B&B and one pub if you miss a connection. O'Cualann's is a thatched pub 2 km south.
- 5 Costello has no facilities beyond a small store. From here the roads fan out to even more remote places - how are you for petrol? See Carraroe for the peninsula and chain of islands through Lettermore.
- Galway Bay Fishing will take you out sea-fishing. They're based in Spiddal and open daily.
- It's a great area for sailing in all categories of craft, including Galway Hookers, but this is for experienced sailors with their own boat. It's not like a pedalo, you don't just rock up and hire one for an hour.
- Spiddal Crafts Centre (Ceardlann an Spidéil) in village centre is renowned. Most artisans within it are open M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-17:00. The cafe is open F-Su 11:00-17:00.
- Spiddal has a pizzeria, a Chinese takeaway and a deli. The gastropub Tigh Giblin has closed down.
- An Cruiscin Lan hotel (see Sleep) has a public bar and restaurant.
- Pubs in Spiddal are An Nead ("The Nest") and An Droighneán Donn ("The Blackthorn").
- 1 Spiddal Caravan & Camping Park is open Easter to Oct. It's a good location 1 km inland but facilities are basic and it scores minus three out of ten for customer service.
- An Cruiscin Lan, Spiddal H91 F853, ☏ . Comfy old-fashioned small hotel in village centre. Gets a lot of noise from the street, try for a room at the back. B&B double €120.
As of July 2020, Spiddal has a 4G signal from Three and Vodafone, but Eir only supports a 3G call. 5G has not reached this area.
- Take a ferry from Rossaveel to the Aran Islands.
- West takes you past Carraroe peninsula and the chain of islands to the resort town of Clifden.
- Back to lively Galway whenever you've absorbed enough bleak Connemara countryside.