Burren Way & Western Way – 9 Days – Self-Guided Walking Tour

9 Day Self-Guided Walking Tour along the Burren and the Western Way

We have combined two great counties in the west of Ireland to make one magnificent tour, the Burren in Co. Clare and Connemara in Co. Galway.

The Burren Way is along part of the Wild Atlantic Way. The word Burren is taken from the Irish word ‘boireann’ meaning “rocky place”.

The Burren Way is a way-marked walking trail from Liscannor to Ballyvaughan and passes near the famous Cliffs of Moher through a landscape dominated by Carboniferous limestone rock. This is a porous rock formed 330 million years ago from sediments of the sea and reshaped by glaciers from the last ice age. The result of the action of water and ice over the years has resulted in the well known bare and fissured limestone pavements which represent the largest expanse of limestone paving in the world.    

Connemara – from the Irish word “Conmhaicne Mara” (meaning descendants of Con Mhac (an early tribal grouping) which were located by the sea “mara”.

Stretching from Galway Bay to Killary Harbour and bounded on the east by Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, the principal range of mountains is the Twelve Bens and the smaller Maumturks. These great grey quartzite peaks shimmer over bogs and small loughs and are fed by an average rainfall of 1700mm a year! It is a wild and remote place with some of the finest scenery that Ireland has to offer.

Prices / Dates

Price:  €889 per person sharing

Single Supplement: +€445

Solo Traveller Supplement: +€90

Tour Dates: 1 April to 31 October

Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate

Accommodation: Guesthouse or B&B

Included / Excluded

Day 1 - Arrive Liscannor, County Clare

You have the option to arrive at Dublin, Shannon or Cork airport and travel by bus or train to Liscannor to begin your walking vacation along the Burren Way. We will supply you with the necessary timetables and information to get you safely to your first accommodation.

Day 2 - Liscannor to Doolin via the Cliffs of Moher

Liscannor is a popular angling and tourist village situated on the west coast of County Clare and your starting point for your self guided walk along the Burren Way. The area around Liscannor belonged in former times to the Chieftains of Corcomroe, the O’Connor’s.

From Liscannor, the trail takes you along a country road that overlooks Liscannor Bay, through the farmland of Kilconnell to join a cliff path at Hags Head where the steep ground and breathtaking cliffs are home to numerous types of wildflowers and breeding sea birds. The walking trail leads you to the famous Cliff’s of Moher which reach up from the Atlantic Ocean to a height of 214 m. Here you have the option to explore the fabulous new visitors' centre before continuing your journey to the village of Doolin, renowned world-wide as the traditional music capital of Ireland. You will stay overnight in Doolin. 

Distance: 19 km / 11.8 miles, Ascent 820 m / 2460ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours


Day 3 - Doolin to Fanore

Today’s walking route is a superb section of the trail that takes you through the hinterland of Ballynahown and onto the plateau of the Burren. You will traverse under Slieve Elva, the highest mountain in the area and if you are feeling energetic, a short diversion will take you to the summit (344m). 

Your descent takes you into the Caher Valley and down by the only over ground river in the Burren, the Caher River. Along the way, you will have fantastic views back to the Cliffs of Moher and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Aran Islands. You will stay overnight in Fanore. 

Distance: 22.5 km / 14.5 miles, Ascent: 852 m / 2556 ft, Approximate walking time: 6 / 7 hours

Day 4 - Fanore to Ballyvaughan

Almost all of today’s walk takes you along old quiet country roads that loop around Black Head, You will enjoy some superb views over Galway Bay, the Aran Islands and across to the Connemara Mountains in County Galway. Your day will finish in Ballyvaughan, a quiet fishing port on the southern shores of Galway Bay.

The harbour village grew in response to the trade-in turf from Connemara making it the capital of Clare in Victorian times. Ballyvaughan is rich in evidence of mans presence from prehistoric times through the famine era and is still a thriving village community today. The walking route today takes you past Newtown Castle which is a 16th century fortified tower house built for a branch of the O’Briens but passing into the possession of the powerful local O’Loghlen clan. You will stay overnight in Ballyvaughan.

Distance: 20.5 km / 12 miles, Ascent: 755 m / 2265 ft, Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours

Day 5 - Travel to Oughterard, County Galway

Oughterard is a traditional village which is nestled beside the beautiful Lough Corrib, the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland, at the start of the Connemara Mountain Range and only 17 km from Galway City.

Day 6 - Oughterard to Maam, "by the shores of Lough Corrib"

This walk takes you along the south-western shore of Lough Corrib, one of the great western lakes of Europe and known for its trout and salmon fishing and its myriad of islands. You will continue onto the townland of Curraun More, across the Owenree River and through the forest of Folore to join the Maam Road and your first glimpses of the breathtaking mountains of Connemara.

This is a perfect introduction to the Connemara countryside where you will see the landscape change from picturesque to truly wild. This area has largely been untouched by the modern world. You will stay overnight in Oughterard.
Complementry taxi transfer back to Oughterard.

Distance: 24 km / 15 miles, Ascent: 270 m / 810 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours

Day 7 - Maam to Lough Inagh, "The Pilgrim Trail)

Complementry taxi transfer back to Maam to begin your walk.

On the first section of today’s walk, you will pass the site of the famous movie “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne & Maureen O’ Hara, a John Ford’s classic movie filmed in 1952. You will witness the transformation of the landscape from yesterdays delightful scenery to the increasingly untamed as you walk amidst the splendour of the Mamturk Mountains (The Pass of the Pig).

The walking trail follows an old pilgrim route that rises gently between mountains at Maumean (the valley of the bird), passing St. Patrick’s Church and Holy Well as you travel. It is said that St. Patrick rested in this spot on his way to “Croagh Patrick”, a sacred mountain that you will be passing on your way to Westport.

Crossing the spine of the Mamturk Mountains you will be presented with some fantastic views in both directions, back into the Maam Valley and ahead to the “Twelve Bens” mountain range on the far side of the Inagh Valley with its stunning lake dotted with islands and a Crannog (an ancient man-made lake dwelling). You will stay overnight in Lough Inagh.

Distance: 25 km / 16 miles, Ascent: 570 m / 1710 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours

Day 8 - Lough Inagh to Leenaun

You depart Lough Inagh by walking directly from your accommodation via an old road that dates back hundreds or possibly thousands of years. The trail contours the base of the Mamturk Mountains passing some old ruined deserted settlements as you travel. This area is now completely uninhabited and has been since the time of the great famine of 1845.

This is one of the most remote parts of the trail where there is a sense of peace and a great distance from the bustle of modern life and its conflicts. As you descend into the village of Leenaun, some great views will open up to you of Ireland’s only fjord “Killary Fjord”. Glaciers moving off the mountains over ten thousand years ago carved this fjord from the underlying rock and were subsequently filled by the Atlantic Ocean.

Your day finishes in Leenaun, a village nestling on the shore of Killary Harbour and backed by the mountains. Leenaun was brought to fame because of the famous John B. Keane literary work “The Field”, first performed in 1965. It was adapted into a film in 1990 by Jim Sheridan. It tells the story of a family and a community torn apart by conflicts over the ownership and control of land, a theme very common in Irish history. You will stay overnight in Leenaun.

Distance: 16 km / 10 miles, Ascent: 245 m / 735 ft, Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours

Day 9 - Depart

Depart for home.

A few words from our customers...

Fantastic trip! I did the self-guided 8 day Burren Way in April 19. The directions and maps from Footfalls were spot on. The B&Bs were wonderful - good food, lots of helpful advice from the proprietors who were more than happy to go the extra mile, and comfy accommodations. Many days I saw no other humans on my walks. Just gorgeous scenery, lots of lambs, sheep, horses, and donkeys.
My wife and I done a wonderful self-guided trip on the Burren Way, visited the Cliffs of Moher, took a short ferry ride to Inisheer, the smallest of the Aron Islands. The whole week was wonderful, great accommodation with great hosts, beautiful scenery and great music in the evenings. Thank you Footfalls and we will be back.
Ray & Cathy