Treasures of Ireland's West Coast

The Best Hikes of Galway, Mayo, and Connemara

Overview

The storied west coast of Ireland is blessed with islands, peninsulas, and the most stunning sea cliffs in all Europe. Join our legendary Trip Leaders in this stronghold of Irish culture for hikes on the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, through the moonscapes of the Burren, along pilgrim trails on Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, and to wild Connemara and the fascinating Aran Islands. Meet farmers, musicians, and artists, savor sea-to-table cuisine, hear the lilting sound of the fiddle in local pubs, enjoy a warm welcome at our historic lodges and island guesthouses—it all adds up to an inspiring cultural and hiking adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Galway / The Burren

We begin in the karst landscape of the Burren, whose limestone hills and hidden glens hold Bronze Age burial sites and Celtic high crosses. With sea spray in the air and wildflowers dotting the coastal grass, we’ll go on magical hikes in this surreal place. One evening, we’ll head to our “insider” spot to savor a fine sunset. Our family-run lodge sources ingredients for meals from local artisan-producers in the Burren.

Hazelwood Lodge
Ballyvaughan, Ireland
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-5
County Mayo / Clare Island / Westport

Heading into County Mayo, with its island-filled bays, we follow pilgrim trails across the striking quartz peak of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain, Christianized by St. Patrick in the 5th century. Out on Clare Island, once the domain of a Gaelic clan and its pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, we hike Ireland’s finest cliff ramparts (and best-kept secret!) and visit a good friend and sheep farmer to see his collies in action. In Westport, famed 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 right to our lakeside Victorian lodge in a wild region of Connemara. In the otherworldly Aran Islands, the heart of Gaeltacht, we walk through an ancient landscape of stone-walled fields and sea cliffs to reach Dún Aonghasa, a magnificent Stone Age fort that has been called an acropolis of the Celtic world. Our final trails bring us along Killary Harbour to the Twelve Bens, a range of rocky coastal peaks with fantastic views, and we’ll have our Farewell Dinner 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 along 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: $5495  
Arrive: Galway, Ireland
Depart: Galway, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (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