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, every journey becomes a profound experience of Ireland’s culture as you hike and explore from the treasures of Croagh Patrick to the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the spectacular Aran Islands. Con and Ann know this land as few others do, introducing you to poets, farmers, foodies, musicians, and people with deep community connections. Along the way, we savor the new Irish culinary scene, with picnics of the freshest locally sourced food and great meals from the kitchens of two of our welcoming guesthouses, and enjoy a stay at a Victorian-era lakeside lodge.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Galway / The Burren

Our hikes begin in the spectacular 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 (2,500'), one of the world’s most sacred mountains and a pilgrimage site for thousands of years. Ferrying to Clare Island, once the domain of a powerful Gaelic clan and their 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 finish our hike at Clare Island lighthouse. Our hikes start right from our welcoming guesthouse, and one night we join locals for a special introduction to Irish poetry. In the market town of Westport, known for its traditional music, we have a special evening with musicians at a local pub.

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

Crossing an ancient pilgrim route into the Maumturk Mountains, we hike right to our lakeside Victorian lodge in a wild region of Connemara. In the otherworldly Aran Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken, we explore a landscape of labyrinthine stone-walled fields and breathtaking sea cliffs. Back on the mainland, we’ll follow trails in Connemara National Park and have a picnic on Omey, an intertidal island with fascinating archaeology. Our final trails lead along Killary Harbour and then 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 Gaelic 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 (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)