I do like to rush on my road-trip. It is part of the fun. Landed at Dublin in the afternoon, I was sleeping at Galway, 3 hours later. Renting a car at airport is straightforward (although you might end up taking the shuttle). Record the GPS position to return the car in time without the stress of missing your flight. Driving on the left side of the road is not an issue as you sit on the right : just remember to use the other hand to change gears and to circle roundabouts counterclockwise.
Galway is a small city with one main pedestrian area (Quay, High and Shop streets) that gathers most of the pubs and restaurants. It is the place to wander at evening to listen to music, street bands and to finish in a pub for a pinte of Guinness. Before that, visit the cathedral on the other side of the river, which is a real jewel.
The next morning, I left for the Connemara national park. The road is bucolic and in good condition. Even for a Sunday of June, we were few. I got there in 2 hours including stops (there are some magnificent spots on the way). Once in the park, just leave the car on the (free) parking and follow the trails. They are two: the blue one, circling and easy to browse (1h). The red one (from the middle of the blue one) will make you climb the Diamong Hill up to the top. The uphill is stiff and quite demanding. Take a bottle of water and a snack. Another hour if you are quick.
Three kilometers after the park, you will find the splendid Kylemore Abbey. You can take some picture from the entrance but 15€ are requested to visit the inside and the garden.
Continue the road back to Galway across the Connemara countryside and its stunnish green and purple colors (wild rhododendrons everywhere). If you leave Galway early morning, you will reach Clifden in time for a late lunch.
Being surprised by a sunny period that beautifies a breathtaking scenery happens everywhere. The hardest is to stop as roads have seldom shoulders. Most of the time, I stopped first then waited for the sky to clear. When it’s windy and not rainy, patience is well rewarded.
Believe it or not, I enjoyed my day, although the weather was stormy.
Where to sleep ? I use airBnB now because it is cheaper than hotel and gives opportunities to meet with locals. In Galway, I found a convenient place, very downtown, quiet and with an excellent breakfast (note that parking can be an issue in this residential area before 07PM): airBnB: Foster Court – Galway