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An area naturally gifted with sharp contrasts, vibrant colours, stunning wilderness and warm welcomes, Connemara is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places in Ireland. Witness lambs strolling the mountainside, the bloom of wild spring flowers, and the calls of the Cuckoo as you walk the diverse landscape. This self guided tour of Connemara will bring you to an area of Ireland where sheep have right-of-way on the roads. You will take in Killary harbour and Ireland’s only fjord, the Maumturk mountains and the wonderful Inagh Valley. This tour is among our most popular and if you book it you’ll understand why! We will take care of the details – accommodation, luggage transfers, guide maps and tour documentation!
Fly in and out of Dublin for start and finish of tour.
Included Guesthouse Accommodations:
About: This tour uses all guesthouses and B&B lodging, for a truly authentic Irish experience. These are very small properties so we have to choose from a pool of options based on dates and availability. Upgraded lodging options may be possible; please inquire at time of booking.
Local Expert: Our on-site representative will conduct an in-person orientation with you on arrival day to make sure you are well arrived and have everything you need for your tour. The visit will go over the hiking maps and notes that form your ‘Route Book’ and by which you will navigate. Our local support staff are your contact during your hiking trip and they are available by phone throughout the day, each day, once you start. This local support is a key feature of a Pure Adventures tour and this local expertise is how you know you are on the best trip with competent local support in case of need. They live in the region and know it so well!
Need to Know: Ireland is a beautiful, lush and green country, where weather changes quite frequently. Be prepared for wet conditions – we will include a packing list.
To begin your journey towards the Western Way, we depart from Dublin at 6:50 am every morning. The Western Way is a trail system stretching across the lush Irish countryside of Connemara. Oughterard is considered the main gateway to Connemara. Flowing streams give way to rolling meadows and quaint cottages, while woolly sheep dot the green fields with flecks of white. Oughterard is filled with winding pathways and river walks overlooking Lough Corrib. Hearty food, friendly locals, and a tipple of your favorite beverage await, as you prepare for your journey along the Western Way. For dinner tonight, ask us for our suggestions; we have a few traditional favorites that we are happy to share with you!
Walking along the banks of Lough Corrib you will see many happy fishing enthusiasts, as they search for the salmon and trout that fill its waters. Gaze upon quaint thatch covered roofs that have lined this pathway for centuries. Enter the forest of Folore, whose boardwalks offer a delightful challenge, guiding you along your way. Along these boards you begin to see the steep rock cliffs of Connemara’s mountains.
Distance: 25 km / 16 mi, +96 m, 6 hrs
Highlights: Lough Corrib, forest boardwalks, mountain views
Awake to great mountain views and enjoy a hearty breakfast before climbing the mountains of Connemara. Towering cliffs, rolling hills, vast rivers and streams await as you embark on the “Pilgrims Trail”. Within the shadow of the mountains, opens a pass towards Lough Inagh. Climbing upwards, you begin to see the shades of Maam’s mountains. Along the mountain pass lies a chapel and well. You will walk along winding country roads hugging the cliffs of the mountains. It is in this valley that you will stay along the shores of Lough Inagh, for a well deserved rest.
Distance: 16 km / 10 mi ,+269 m, 5 hrs
Highlights: Pilgrims Trail, Connemara mountains & valleys
Overnight: Lough Inagh
You begin your journey north towards the town of Leenane. These valleys were once occupied by many farmers prior to the potato famine, and are now frequented by sheep and livestock. You continue on until you reach the forest of Lettershanbally. Making your way you climb upwards, walking along the side of a mountain that overlooks Killary Fjord, a beautiful sea coast that runs into the Atlantic. Little islands and mountains offer a great view. You may also run into a few sheep as you continue along the mountainside. You will finally descend the mountain and walk along the road entering Leenane, where you will spend the next couple of days.
Distance: 16 km / 10 mi, +126 m, 4 hrs
Highlights: Lettershanbally forest, Killary Fjord views, Leenane
Today will give you the opportunity to stay in the village of Leenane once again. We have organized for you to take the wonderful boat cruise up Killary Fjord. The cruise lasts 1.5hrs and will give you a fascinating background to the area, the fjord and its surroundings. Leenane has a couple of fantastic pubs and restaurants to keep you entertained in the evening. You can also take a taxi to visit Kylemore Abbey, a fairytale style castle set amongst the mountains.
Highlights: Killary Fjord boat cruise, Leenane visiting
You will begin an exciting journey towards the small town of Drummin. Walking down the main road out of Leenane you will get a chance to see the Ashleigh Falls and continue down, using the Owenduff River as your guide. You will experience the beauty with only sheep and a few friendly farmers to cross your path during the day. You will then continue upwards towards Tawnyard Forest surrounded by Loughs. You continue to walk upwards until you reach the cliff face of Barnaderg. Here you wrap around the mountainside overlooking your path towards Drummin. Entering the small town of Drummin, you pass many small cottages and farms, and stop at a pub to end your day’s walk.
Distance: 21 km / 13 mi, +198 m, 5 hrs
Highlights: Ashleigh Falls, river & forest trails, Barnaderg cliff
Today you will reach your final destination of Westport, a lovely seaside town with many pubs (one in particular is very famous!) and restaurants. Voted one of the best towns to visit in Ireland, it is a great place to end your trip. Before you reach this destination, a beautiful walk around Croagh Patrick awaits. Here St. Patrick fasted for 40 days and nights. Walking up rolling hills and catching sea views, you continue on towards Barraglanna forest. Weaving through the forest, you are met with the staggering Croagh Patrick, one of the holiest mountains in the world. Abandoned farmhouses appear in the distance, left vacant due to the famine of the 1800s. Prior to the famine, there were nearly 10,000 people who inhabited this area of Ireland; now there are only 2,000. Continuing on your walk along a path that cuts through the mountainside, you reach the peak where you will have stunning views of the sea and of the town of Westport in the distance. Make your way down the mountain and find the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. Here, you can extend your walk towards the entrance of the mountain. Or you can continue on and make your way to Westport. Rest after the day’s walk or enjoy exploring the streets of charming Westport.
Distance: 24 km / 15 mi, +244 m, 4.5 hrs
Highlights: Westport, Croagh Patrick & Heritage Trail
Your tour concludes this morning after breakfast. There are regular bus and train departures from Westport to Dublin. If you would like to stay on a day or two, to enjoy the cute town of Westport, just let us know and we can make arrangements!
7 Nights Hiking Tour: (based on double occupancy)
Guest Houses and B&B Lodging:
Make it Custom: Do you like this tour but want to make it different? Tell us your wishes & we will quote it!