Even for those who have seen it many times, driving up the spectacular Galway Bay coast is breathtaking, with the Aran Islands in soft focus and the heather-covered foothills of Connemara beside you. Departing Galway City, and certainly once you pass Spiddal, you have the sense of passing through a gateway into Ireland's wild west, a land strikingly remote, melancholy, and moody. Count on it taking about 40 minutes from Galway to Rossaveal, and another 40 minutes to Carna, at the northernmost tip of the bay, and be prepared for every traffic sign to be in Gaelic.