Treasures of Ireland's West Coast

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

Trip Level

The trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. As we explore Ireland and Gaelic life both on the mainland and on islands, we will be hiking 6-10 miles per day (4-6 hours) over varied terrain ranging from flat and boggy to rocky. Some hikes will be shorter.

Day 2: Two hiking options are available. The longer is 4-6 hours, the shorter is 3-5 hours.

Day 4: The hike over the summit of Cnoc Mhór involves switchbacks on open and steep grassy hillside with uneven terrain, along with island tracks and gentler, undulating slope slower down. The Longer option is 10 miles, ascent/descent of 2,500 feet; the shorter option avoids the steepest ascent to the peak and is 6-10 miles, ascent/descent of 1,000 feet.

Day 5: The hike on Croagh Patrick is a strenuous ascent along a rocky and loose track involving some 5-6 miles, 3-4 hours, with 2,500 feet of ascent/descent, for a total elevation change of 5,000 feet. The easier option is the Tochar Phadráig pilgrim trail, 4-5 miles, 3 hours, 500 feet of ascent/descent.

Day 6: Hike over the Mam Toirc Mountains to the Inagh Valley, 3-4 hours, 8 miles, 1,000 feet of ascent/descent

Day 7: A full day of hiking that begins on quiet island roads and narrow trails before following the edges of the southern cliffs. There are rocky conditions underfoot, with an ascent and descent of 500 feet.

You carry only a daypack with the essentials: rain gear, fleece sweater, water bottle, and camera. We recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition in order to be able to fully enjoy the trip. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises. The weather is the dominant force in Ireland, and will play a role in how your trip takes shape. The itinerary is flexible and will be adjusted by the Trip Leader to take advantage of local conditions and to give you the best possible experience.

Weather

We have timed this trip for when Ireland has some of its best weather. This being the Emerald Isle, however, you must be prepared for rain showers and the possibility of muddy trails. Ireland’s weather is dictated by the pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic and is notoriously variable. Gore-Tex outerwear and proper boots will make for comfortable walking in a fine mist or light rain. Overall, Ireland’s climate is milder than Britain’s, thanks to the Gulf Stream, and a morning of rain can easily be followed by a brilliant blue sky and abundant sunshine.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.