Connemara, situated at the very edge of Europe, on the west coast of Ireland, is one of the most beautiful, unspoilt places it is possible to find. This natural terrain and unspoilt environment offers the visitor a wonderland of sights, experiences, adventure and activities. The people are warm, friendly and extend a hospitality which is the essence of Ireland. This natural terrain and unspoilt environment offers the visitor a wonderland of sights, experiences, adventure and activities. The people are warm, friendly and extend a hospitality which is the essence of Ireland.
♦ The Maamturks old hills
♦ Connemara National Park and the Twelve Bens
♦ Galway & Westport - end the tour in historical colour, craft and local flavours
Day 1. Arrival to Oughterard
Arrival in Galway. Local bus transfer (own cost) to Oughterard on the Owenariff River, the gateway to the hills. It was the country of the O’Flaherty clan, feared throughout the land and eventually reduced to obedience in the reign of Elizabeth 1. The ruins of their castle at Aughanure are just outside the village. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland after Lough Neagh, near Belfast. The dawn chorus is particularly spectacular for Springtime early risers! Overnight in Oughterard townland by Lough Corrib
Day 2. Oughterard to Maam
From the shores of Lough Corrib, follow the Way through pine forest, climbing gently through the valleys of the Owenroe and Folore Rivers into a magnificent wilderness of mountain and bog to reach civilisation again at the village of Maam Bridge. Accommodation tonight is in a farm guesthouse at Maam.
Hiking time: 5 hours, uphill.200m, appr. 19.8 km.
Day 3. Maam to Lough Inagh Valley
The farming countryside of Maam climbs steadily through rugged hill country along the old mountain road, to the low pass of Mam Ean and a lovely hillside chapel of St. Patrick. An alternative route takes you high into the Maamturks on a demanding climb to 700m rewarded with fantastic views to the Atlantic and Galway Bay. Shuttle transfer to Leenane and overnight.
Hiking time: 5 hours, Ascents 4400m, appr. 23.5 km.
Alternative Route via Binn Chaorigh 15km Ascents 770m, approx. walking time 7 hours
Day 4. From Lough Inagh to Leenane
Transfer to Lough Inagh.A mild day today, lots of pine forest and wet ground through the bogland of Luggagtarriff and Lettershanbally. The Way climbs briefly to Glencraff before skirting the northern flanks of the Maumturks to view Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord. The day finishes in the village of Leenane, An Lionan, "the tide filling place"! a lovely hamlet nestling under the impressive Mweelrea Mountains of Co. Mayo.
Hiking time approx. 5 hours, 17.7km, Ascents 235m.
Day 8. Departure from Westport
Depart Westport by train for Dublin or by bus to Galway and Shannon.
How to get there:
If you are flying to Dublin, you can get a bus from Dublin Airport to Galway (app. 3 hours) and then another bus from Galway to Oughterard (app. 1 hour). You can check the bus timetables and book tickets online here.
Practical information: ►The total walk is 84 km. Approximately 25% of the route is on minor and tarred roads. You will enjoy this trip if you are physically fit and like to hike. The hikes each day will vary from 14-24 km and cross some rough, wet and rocky terrain. ►You will be staying in comfortable guesthouses and farmhouses. Most rooms have en suite facilities. You can enjoy evening meals in the guesthouses in some locations, but the hostess needs to be notified beforehand. Evening meals are usually priced between €18-25.00 per person. Picnic lunches can be supplied at a cost of €6.00-8.00p.p. ►There are no banks on your route. Please make sure you carry enough cash with you when you start the walking tour.