Meet the local: Kate O’Callaghan-Momberg lives in Connemara, where she runs Irish gifting company, Connemara Exclusive.

“We curate unique handmade gifts drawing inspiration from the heart of Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way. We collaborate with like-minded Irish makers in keeping our heritage alive,” explains Kate, who is due to launch several bespoke crafts in the near future, including a jewellery range called CRE.

Gift boxes, however, can also include exclusive South African wines, in a nod to Kate’s husband’s heritage.

My favourite spot for breakfast is…

Sullivan’s Country Grocer in Oughterard on the N59 route to Connemara, it’s is a must-visit, although I feel like I always have breakfast on-the-go. It has everything – all fresh and homemade – plus a gift section too. Elizabeth supports sustainable living, so bring your own coffee cup or purchase one. Sets you up for the road trip ahead.

Kate loves to grab breakfast on the go at Sullivan's in Oughterard. \ Ellen Tuck

For a gentle stroll, stretch your legs at…

The Killary Fjord famine/harbour walk – it is a scenic hike in Connemara. The walk has some lovely landmarks to take pictures at with a stunning backdrop. It loops back to the starting point at the famous Misunderstood Heron food truck. We love to grab some food and enjoy the spectacular views of the harbour. It’s a magical spot on a sunny day.

The chapel on Mám Éan pilgrim path. \ Courtesy Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark

For a more challenging hike, I love…

Mám Éan hike – it’s a little pilgrimage spot at a pass through the Maumturk mountains in Connemara, roughly between Oughterard and Leenane. After a 30-40 minute climb, there is a tiny chapel at the top. Our girls (aged four and six) have climbed it with us, with plenty of stops and bribes along the way. I really want to climb it on St Patrick’s Day for mass – someday we will manage it!

For some retail therapy, you can’t beat…

Connemara Hamper in Clifden, it’s a super delicatessen for picking up some very special foods and wines. Brendan and Sally are so lovely and operate a little gem. For some fashion, I pop into Love Vintage in Clifden. You’re guaranteed to pick up something different, and I love their earrings collection. Books @ One, Letterfrack, is a colourful hangout with books and gifts. They have a hidden courtyard at the back too for a sunny day.

If the sun is shining, get some Vitamin Sea at…

My favourite beach in Connemara which is Lettergesh; I might be slightly biased. It is a tidal beach, so our day’s activities depend not only on the Irish weather, but the tides too. When the tide is fully in, we head to Glassilaun around the corner from us. Always worth the trip! White sand, unspoilt natural beauty and pure tranquillity.

To learn more about the history of the area, check out…

Colleen Joyce, who is a brilliant local guide, offers tours for groups and individuals, such as a ‘Castles of Connemara’ tour. You can find out more at

A trip to Inisbofin is a family favourite. \ Courtesy Declan Surpless

Younger visitors will love…

Taking a ferry out to one of ‘Ireland’s Islands’ as our girls refer to them. Our favourite is Inisbofin for a cycle, a swim, incredible scenery and crab claws fresh off the boat smothered in garlic butter at Murray’s Doonmore Hotel.

For dinner, you can’t beat…

Paddy Coyne’s, Tullycross, Renvyle. This pub dates back to 1811: a hive of history and artifacts. I remember eating there for my 40th birthday and Gerry the owner telling us the history of all the greats that visited. A picture of John Wayne hung behind me; he used to frequent when he filmed The Quiet Man nearby. The food is hearty and delicious with a focus on fresh seafood. The owner and staff are fabulous too.

For a good night’s sleep…

Try the Connemara Sands Hotel for a family getaway. It’s an owner-managed hotel and they treat you like one of their own. Dean cooks a wholesome breakfast, which can be followed by an outdoor sauna at the beach and seaweed baths. It is very kid-friendly too.

If you’re on a budget or just like to spend more time outdoors by the sea, the Connemara Caravan and Camping Park in Lettergesh is surrounded by stunning scenery and super beach walks.

For a winter retreat, though, it’s Ballynahinch Castle. We got married there in 2015, so we have very fond memories and we try to go back once a year. We had a winter wedding, so it’s lovely to visit when it’s all decorated for Christmas. It brings back heart-warming memories.

Kate O’Callaghan-Momberg runs Irish gifting company, Connemara Exclusive.


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