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 OFlaherty 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 5. Free day in Leenane with optional walks:
Free day in Leenane. You may wish to walk the Killary Famine Road or Connemara National Park and Visitor Centre is also within striking distance by private taxi transfer, as are Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Gardens. We are happy to advise on available options. Overnight accommodation in Leenane.
Day 6. Leenane to Drummin
Entering Co. Mayo today the Way rises through forest over Tawnyard Lough descending to Sheefry Bridge over the Owenmore River in the Sheefry Hills. The longer route climbs a deep stream ravine crossing at 480m to see the first glimpse of the quartzite cone of Croagh Patrick. The glaciated coum Lough Lugacolliwee is a peaceful place in the midst of such mountain splendour. Evening meals are available in your guesthouse tonight.
Hiking time: 4 hours, uphill. 80m, appr. 12 km.
Alternative route via Lough Lugacolliwee hiking time: 7 hours, uphill. 130m, appr. 19 km.
Day 7. Drummin to Westport
The route takes you to the south of Croagh Patrick, sheep grazing country, rising to open moorland, before crossing a pass at 250m to see island studded Clew Bay. The Way descends through the remains of a Famine village, then wanders through drumlins, glacial mounds deposited in the flatland surrounding Westport town. The town was the creation of James Wyatt and although classically planned, remains picturesque. Explore at will! Overnight in Westport town.
Hiking time: 6 hours, uphill. 460m, appr. 24 km.
Day 8. Departure from Westport
Depart Westport by train for Dublin or by bus to Galway and Shannon.