Unspoilt and ruggedly beautiful scenery, ranging from lakeland to bogland to mountain
Discover the traditional customs and culture of Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht region
Follow ancient pilgrim trails and climb Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick
A warm welcome is assured in the charming pubs, restaurants and B&B’s along the route
Finish with a traditional Irish music session in the award-winning town of Westport
Described by Oscar Wilde as a “savage beauty”, the scenic wilderness of Connemara is one of Ireland’s most iconic landscapes. It is an unspoilt area with vibrant colours and an equally vibrant Irish-speaking community, with a rich heritage of folk traditions in song, dance and literature.
Starting in the famous angler’s town of Oughterard on Lough Corrib, the trail follows the western edge of the lake, the second largest lake in Ireland, northwards into a magnificent wilderness of mountain and bog to reach civilisation again at the village of Maam Bridge. From Maam Bridge the route crosses the rugged Maumturk Mountains by a pass, at the top of which is Maum Ean, a holy place that has attracted pilgrims since the early Christian period. Descending again into the beautiful Inagh Valley the route passes between the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks, and through a sad landscape that was, before the Great Famine, well populated by farmers, to reach the shores of Killary Harbour and the picturesque village of Leenane. The trail then continues into County Mayo, in the shadow of the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick and then descending towards the island studded Clew Bay and finishing in the picturesque and lively town of Westport.
“Connemara’s interior is a kaleidoscope of rusty bogs, lonely valleys and shimmering black lakes.” Lonely Planet
|8 DAY TOUR||From €699 per person sharing|
*This is an additional charge that applies to walkers booking single accommodation (a room for one person).
|ACCOMMODATION||The B&Bs on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, comfort and character. They all offer a warm Irish welcome to walkers, as well as a hearty breakfast to set you up for your day ahead.|
|AVAILABILITY||You can start this trip on any day of the week, subject to availability, between mid-March and mid-October.|
The terrain consists of quiet roads, bog roads, open moorland, forestry tracks, mountain paths and about 3 km of timber bog bridge: some parts of the route can be very wet and boggy, particularly after a rainy period, when there is a fast run-off from the Connemara mountains. The total aggregate ascent over the route is about 620m.
Day 1: Arrive in Oughterard and overnight
Oughterard is a traditional village on the shore of Lough Corrib and at the start of the Connemara mountain range. It is about 17km from Galway City.
We will provide you with all info on public transport options for travel to Oughterard.
Day 2: Oughterard to Maam
Distance: 21 km | Ascent: 110 m | Approximate walking time 5 hrs 30 mins
An ideal introduction to the varied landscape of Connemara and a day of stunning vistas, firstly over Lough Corrib, with its hundreds of small islands, then crossing an area of scenic unspoilt bogland and finally coming within view of the breathtaking mountains of Connemara.
Day 3: Maam to Lough Inagh
Distance: 15 km | Ascent: 280 m | Approximate walking time 4 hrs 30 mins
The landscape becomes increasingly untamed today as you follow an old pilgrim trail through the splendour of the Maumturk mountain range, passing St. Patrick’s Church and Holy Well as you go. It is said that St. Patrick stood here and blessed Connemara, and his statue stands here as a reminder of the significance of this place in Irish Christianity.
Day 4: Lough Inagh to Leenane
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 85 m | Approximate walking time 4 hrs
Today’s walk follows a stunning trail through the epic boglands of Connemara in a valley between the Twelve Bens to your left and the Maumturks on your right. You will pass by some old ruins of deserted settlements as you travel through one of Ireland’s most remote areas, which has been completely uninhabited since the great famine of 1845. The trail finally descends towards the village of Leenane along a beautiful old track overlooking Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Fjord.
Day 5: Extra day Leenane
Today you have several options, such as walking the famous Famine trail from Rossroe to Killary, visiting Kylemore Abbey (a fairytale style castle set amongst the mountains) or taking a boat tour of Killary Fjord. You can also take a taxi to Cleggan and ferry to Inishboffin island for the day.
Day 6: Leenane to Drummin
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 560 m | Approximate walking time 6 hrs 30 mins
Today you will say goodbye to County Galway and enter County Mayo via the Sheeffry Hills, with splendid views over the Erriff Valley and the glaciated Lough Lugacolliwee. In this upland area you will have only sheep for company as you stroll through blanket bogland and finally through the forest at Leenavesta to reach your accommodation in Drummin.
Day 7: Drummin to Westport
Distance: 23 km | Ascent: 420 m | Approximate walking time 6 hrs 30 mins
Today you will walk in the shadow of Ireland’s Holy Mountain; Croagh Patrick, where it is said that St. Patrick fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the year 441 AD. This mountain is a spectacular sight and is climbed by thousands of pilgrims every year (many barefoot).
Following a small country road, the trail leads you to the beautiful townlands of Bartaglanna and Glencally. Here you will have the option to take a detour to climb to the summit of Croagh Patrick or continue along the Western Way into the picturesque seaside town of Westport. Voted one of Ireland’s best towns to visit, Westport is a lively place with many pubs and restaurants, where a traditional music session and a good pint of Guinness is never hard to find!
Day 8: Depart Westport
Bus and train services from Westport are excellent and we will provide you with all the travel details you will need to get you back to the airport or on to your next destination.