The Connemara Way covers a section of the Western Way, which begins in Oughterard and ends in the village of Maam Bridge. Our 8-day route starts from Oughterard and ends in the lovely historic town of Westport. It is 93km (58mi) 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.
The Ways are well marked with clear signposting along the route. Approximately 36% of this route is on minor roads.
Suggested Extra Options
This 8-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.
This tour is rated MODERATE.
See how we determine levels of difficulty for each of our hiking tours by visiting our FAQ page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in Leenane.
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.
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.
Depart Westport by train for Dublin or by bus to Galway or Shannon.
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September 2021 – N. Sommerkorn, Heuchelheim, Germany
We had wonderful days in Ireland and enjoyed the walking tour a lot. We just got soaked once on our last walking day to Westport. I guess this is not bad for Ireland:) The tour we liked the most were the one were we hiked to Leenane besides Killary Harbour. The views were amazing.
I was overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of all the B&B hosts. Meeting these lovely people was a highlight of the tour. Thanks again for a fabulous tour. I appreciated the way you responded quickly to my emails and tailored the tour to my needs. Well done! I’d be pleased to recommend Tailor-Made to others.
October 2019 – Frank & 3 friends, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I suddenly realized that I didn’t let you know how are holiday was. You won’t be surprised if I tell you it was great! All in all we had a great holiday with very nice b&b’s and nice weather and beautiful scenery. That’s all you need for a perfect holiday.