Treasures of Ireland's West Coast

The Best Hikes of Galway, Mayo, and Connemara

Trip Level

This trip is rated a Level 3 (Moderate) according to our trip grading system, depending on the hiking options you choose. You will need to be comfortable hiking 10 miles a day and being on your feet for up to 8 hours a day. You will need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady pace of the group; however, there are alternative hiking options available most days. Trail conditions, weather, and the group’s level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.

Average Hiking Day
• 7 miles
• 5 hours
• 1,000 feet gain/loss

Challenge Days
• Day 4: 7 miles, 4 hours, and 1,000 feet gain/loss; alternative option of 10 miles, 5 hours, and 2,000 feet gain/loss

Terrain

There are a variety of moderate hikes over contrasting geological landscapes. Some paths and trails are well-groomed, but many can be rough with rocky and uneven terrain. With the frequent rain, trails can be muddy or even wet underfoot. As is common in Ireland, we may sometimes hike off-trail where the terrain allows, gaining lofty summits via switchbacks across wide, grassy hillsides. Hiking boots with ankle support are always best and hiking poles are recommended.

Weather

This trip takes place when Ireland has some of its best weather. Being the Emerald Isle, however, you must be prepared for rain showers at any time. Ireland’s weather is dictated by the pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic and is notoriously variable. Gore-Tex outerwear, warm layers, and proper boots are necessary. 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.

Accommodations

Our accommodations are a mix of carefully chosen family-owned and run guesthouses, small hotels, and a historic lodge. All rooms have en suite bathrooms and one has a pool and full-service spa.  They are charming and comfortable, but since they are often in historic buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms can be requested but are not always available, due to the limited space in the hotels. If you prefer a single room, please make your request as early as possible.

Cuisine

Most lunches are picnic-style during our hikes, but we occasionally stop at a local cafe or pub. Dinners will be at restaurants in town or at the hotels. We have one evening with a slow food tasting menu, and there are plenty of opportunities for fresh seafood throughout the trip. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Transportation

We will use a mini-coach/van throughout the trip, which will transport the group's luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (rain gear, sweater, camera, water bottle, etc.). Trip members are always free to skip a day's hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle (or remain at the hotel if we are not transferring that day).

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.