Hiking Galway, Mayo, and Connemara

Overview

The rugged west coast of Ireland, long the haunt of artists, holds some of the country’s most dramatic scenery and finest hiking. With our extraordinary Trip Leaders Con Moriarty and Ann Curran, it’s also a profound experience of Ireland’s culture. Con and Ann know this land as few others do, introducing us to farmers, foodies, and musicians as we hike and explore from the pilgrims’ mountain of Croagh Patrick to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the spectacular Aran Islands. Along the way, we savor the burgeoning Irish culinary scene, with locally sourced food wonderfully prepared in our island guesthouses and lakeside lodges.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Galway / The Burren

Our hikes begin in the karst landscape of the Burren, whose limestone hills and hidden glens hold 10,000 years of human history, from Bronze Age burial sites to standing stones, Iron Age forts, and Celtic high crosses. At the towering Cliffs of Moher we’ll watch a magical sunset by the sea.

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Days 3-5
County Mayo / Clare Island / Westport

In County Mayo, we hike up Croagh Patrick (2,507'), a pilgrimage site for thousands of years. Ferrying to Clare Island, once the domain of a Gælic clan and its pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, we hike along one of Ireland’s finest cliff ramparts, visit a sheep farmer to see his border collies in action, and hike to Clare Island lighthouse. One night we join locals for an introduction to Irish poetry. In the market town of Westport, known for its traditional music, we enjoy a festive pub evening.

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Days 6-9
Connemara / Aran Islands / Galway / Clifden

Hiking a pilgrim route into the Maumturk Mountains brings us to our lakeside Victorian lodge in a wild region of Connemara. In the otherworldly Aran Islands, where Gælic is still spoken, we explore a landscape of stone-walled fields and sea cliffs. Back on the mainland, we’ll hike in Connemara National Park, with a picnic on Omey, an island with fascinating archæology. Our final trails lead along Killary Harbour and to the rocky peaks of the Twelve Bens, with a farewell evening in the company of musicians. Depart on Day 9 via Galway.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike on gorgeous Clare Island, with its iconic lighthouse and dramatic cliffs
Explore Connemara on a hike with a local historian, meet a sheep farmer and his border collies
Hear the lilting sounds of the Gælic language in the Aran Islands
Savor the farm-to-table Irish food scene, with specialties including oysters, scallops, and fresh wild salmon
Enjoy lodgings of character: an 18th century manor house, a Victorian-era fishing lodge, and a guesthouse on the Aran Islands

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $5395  
Arrive: Galway, Ireland
Depart: Galway, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, 3-6 hours a day, van support