Connemara Way, 10-day Walking Tour

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  • Bed and Breakfast in comfortable, friendly, locally-run Guest Houses
  • Daily Luggage Transfers
  • Detailed Route Notes, Maps & GPX Tracks
  • 24/7 Support Line
  • Where to Eat & Regional Reading List
  • Packing List, Travel Advice & more!
  • Bed and Breakfast in comfortable, friendly, locally-run Guest Houses
  • Daily Luggage Transfers
  • Detailed Route Notes, Maps & GPX Tracks
  • 24/7 Support Line
  • Where to Eat & Regional Reading List
  • Packing List, Travel Advice & more!
  • Relaxed: 12-18km (8-11mi), 3-4hrs
  • Moderate: 16-23km (10-14mi), 4-7hrs
  • Strenuous: 22-30km (14-19mi), 5-9hrs
  • Relaxed: 12-18km (8-11mi), 3-4hrs
  • Moderate: 16-23km (10-14mi), 4-7hrs
  • Strenuous: 22-30km (14-19mi), 5-9hrs

Detail

The Connemara Way covers a section of the Western Way, which begins in Oughterard and ends in the village of Maam Bridge. Our 10-day route starts from Oughterard and ends in the lovely historic town of Westport. It is 101km (63mi) total and takes you through some of the most unspoiled landscapes in Ireland.

Connemara translates as “the Conmaicne Tribe of the Sea” which accurately captures the wild spirit of this region. Stretching from Galway Bay to Killary Harbour and bounded on the east by Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, the principal range of mountains is the Twelve Bens and the smaller Maumturks.

From Oughterard, The Way follows Lough Corrib over bogland to the Pass of Mam Ean in the Maumturk Mountains, hauntingly beautiful and wonderfully uninhabited. The Way then descends to the beautiful Lough Inagh Valley and from there follows the shore of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord and a memorable sight to see. Entering Co. Mayo and the lower Sheefry Hills, crossing forest and bogland, it is wild and desolate on this section before passing under the towering bulk of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain. Finally the Way meanders to the island studded Clew Bay and the historic town of Westport.

Our 10-day tour adds 2 more walking days, including a walk on the Killary Harbour Famine Road (a stunning green road constructed along the shore of Killary Harbour in the mid 19th century) and an optional walk from Westport along the Ballintubber Pilgrim Trail.

The Ways are well marked with clear signposting along the route. Approximately 36% of this route is on minor roads.

Suggested Extra Options

  • For those with less time available, it is possible to provide an abbreviated itinerary.
  • Continue from Westport to Achill Island and explore this scenic island area on foot.
  • From Westport take advantage of the Western Greenway. One way bike hire is available to continue onto Achill Island by wheel!
  • Start your route further south in the Burren and travel to the start of the Western Way via the Aran islands. A lovely combination of varied scenery.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • Bed and Breakfast in comfortable, friendly, locally-run Guest Houses
  • Daily Luggage Transfers
  • Detailed Route Notes, Maps & GPX Tracks
  • 24/7 Support Line
  • Where to Eat & Regional Reading List
  • Packing List, Travel Advice & more!

Optional Extras

  • Airport Transfers
  • Day Trips & Excursions
  • Extended or Customised Itineraries

Pricing

  • Per Person Sharing Room €1080
  • Single Supplement €450

Tour Highlights

This 10-day tour begins in Oughterard at the start of the Connemara Way (or Western Way Galway) and traverses the beautiful Connemara wildlands while ending with one of the prettiest towns in Ireland.

  • Mountains, coastline & rugged Connemara wilderness
  • Pass of Mam Éan and lovely hillside chapel of St. Patrick
  • Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens
  • Maumturk Mts & Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord
  • Croagh Patrick & the beautiful Sheefry Hills
  • Picturesque town of Westport & a famine village
  • Famine Road walk with views of cascading waterfalls
  • Pilgrim Walk from Ballintober Abbey

Difficulty Level

This tour is rated MODERATE.

See how we determine levels of difficulty for each of our hiking tours by visiting our FAQ page.

  • Relaxed: 12-18km (8-11mi), 3-4hrs
  • Moderate: 16-23km (10-14mi), 4-7hrs
  • Strenuous: 22-30km (14-19mi), 5-9hrs

Itinerary

Day 1 – Travel to Oughterard

Arrive in Galway Country, local bus transfer to Oughterard on the Owenariff River, gateway to the hills. This 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.

Overnight in Oughterard townland by Lough Corrib. Your host will arrange an evening meal reservation for you in Oughterard village and will transfer you after your evening meal to our guesthouse in Dereenmeel, on the Western Way 5km from Oughterard.

Day 2 – Oughterard to Maam

From the shore of Lough Corrib, follow the Way through pine forest, climbing gently through the valleys of the Owenroe and Folore Rivers. The ground is generally wet and is a tough start but gets you into the heart of the Connemara countryside at Maam. A taxi transfer will return you to Oughterard.

Distance 18km (11mi). Ascents 100m (328ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Oughterard.

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. The high Maamturks are on your right with the Twelve Bens on your left over the haunting Lough Inagh Valley. Accommodation tonight is in Recess, close to Lough Inagh.

Distance 15km (9mi). Ascents 260m (853ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Recess.

Day 4 – Lough Inagh to Leenane

A mild day today, through the pine forest and 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.

Distance 18km (11mi). Ascents 235m (771ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Leenane village.

Day 5 – Free Day in Connemara

Free day in Leenane. You may wish to visit Connemara National Park, the Visitor Centre is easily reached 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 – Killary Harbour Famine Road

A taxi transfer takes you to the starting point at Rosroe to walk along the shore of Killary Harbour. The track was constructed after the Great Famine (1848) to provide some employment for the then extensive population of Connemara.

The route offers stunning views of Killary Harbour (a glacial fjord), cascading waterfalls which descend under the track, the craggy backdrop of Maol Reidh (Mweelrea) and its gullies steeply descending into the fjord. Aquaculture is an important income for the local community now. There is a salmon farm at Rosroe and the fjord is studded with mussel rafts. You may be lucky enough to view dolphins or seals!

Distance 15km (9mi). Ascents 190m (623ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Leenane.

Day 7 – 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. Taxi transfer from Drummin to Westport.

Option 1: Leenane to Drummin. Distance 17km (11mi). Ascents 80m (262ft). Approximate walking time 4 hours.

Option 2: via Lough Lugacolliwee. Distance 23km (14mi). Ascents 430m (1,411ft). Approximate walking time 7 hours.

Overnight in Westport.

Day 8 – Drummin to Westport

Taxi transfer to Drummin. A minor road 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. The town was the creation of James Wyatt and is one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland.

Distance 24km (15mi). Ascents 230 (755ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Westport.

Day 9 - Pilgrim's Trail

Optional free day in Westport or walk the Pilgrim’s Trail from Ballintober to Westport. A glorious countryside walk, through the farmlands of south county Mayo, and the valleys of the Camoge & Aille Rivers. The Pilgrim’s trail follows the ancient prayer route from Ballintober Abbey to Croagh Patrick, St. Patrick’s Holy Mountain.

Distance 17km (11mi). Ascents 180m (591ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Westport.

Day 10 - Depart from Westport

Depart Westport by train for Dublin or by bus to Galway or Shannon.

Map

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REVIEWS

September 2019 – Nike & Alan, Amherst NY, USA
We had an absolutely grand time and we are already planning our next Ireland adventure.

October 2019 – Thea & Bert, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We had a wonderful week in one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland. We enjoyed the nice B&B’s, the very friendly people and the great walks. Even the rain was nice. Now we have only two of your tours we have not done!

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