Insider Adventures on the Coast and Islands of Galway, Mayo, and Connemara

Overview

The storied western coast of Ireland is blessed with islands, peninsulas, and some of the most stunning seacliffs in all Europe. It is a hiker’s paradise, and an ancient stronghold of cultural traditions. With our extraordinary Trip Leaders Con Moriarty and Ann Curran, we’ll hike the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, the otherworldly moonscapes of the Burren, on dreamy Clare Island (once a haunt of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley), and along ancient pilgrim trails on Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain. We’ll also explore the wild mountain region of Connemara and the fascinating Aran Islands, with their distinct cultural traditions. Con and Ann’s passion lies in sharing their love of their native land and the complex history that accompanies it. They know Ireland as few others do, introducing us to farmers, musicians, and artists with deep community connections along the way. Join us for a journey that is a feast for the senses, from hikes in the fresh salt air and across fragrant mountain glens to tasting sea-to-table food to hearing the lilting sound of the fiddle in lively pubs. Our accommodations, which range from a historic lakeside lodge to an island guesthouse, are part of the joy of the trip, offering a warm welcome and fantastic food in spectacular settings.

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.

Hazelwood Lodge
Ballyvaughan, Ireland
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
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.

O'Grady's Guesthouse
Clare Island, Ireland
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
The Wyatt Hotel
Westport, Ireland
Day 5 (1 night)
Days 6-9
Connemara / Aran Islands / Galway

Hiking a pilgrim route into the Maumturk Mountains brings us to our historic lakeside 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, with its 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.

Lough Inagh Lodge
Recess, Connemara, Ireland
Days 6 to 8 (3 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Inspiring Trip Leaders who bring a deep understanding of Ireland’s history and culture
Hikes on Ireland’s holy mountain and on the cliff ramparts of charming Clare Island
Sea-to-table cuisine, with specialties from oysters to fresh wild salmon
Insider experiences including music nights in pubs and meeting local farmers
Lodgings of character, including a lakeside manor house in Connemara and a charming guesthouse on Clare Island

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $5395  
Arrive: Galway, Ireland
Depart: Galway, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights charming inns
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). On Croagh Patrick, we offer a Level 3 hike to a saddle below the summit, as well as a Level 4 hike to the true summit of the peak.