Connemara, the Burren & Aran Islands – 8 Days – Guided Walking Tour

8 Day Guided Walking Tour Connemara, The Burren and Aran Islands

Footfalls Walking Holidays takes you to the beautiful West of Ireland for this unique double-based walking vacation, starting in County Galway in the heart of the Connemara Mountains and ending in The Burren in County Clare.

This tour showcases an Ireland of old, rich in culture, tradition and worlds away from the pace of city life. Connemara, ‘a wild and beautiful place’ is the starting place for our eight-day walking guided tour. The name Connemara is Irish for ‘Inlets of the Sea’  and is part of the world-famous Wild Atlantic Way. The local scenery includes, not only, a stunning coastline but also lakes, mountains, white cottages, woolly Highland sheep, fast-flowing streams and many many stone walls!
The second part of our tour takes us to The Burren in County Clare. The Burren, with its unique and magical landscape of exposed and cracked limestone crust, is thought to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings). The rock formation is exceptional and allows for a unique internal climate resulting in a micro-ecosystem of rare plants, some of which can only be found in Alpine or Mediterranean regions.

We also visit Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, which lies right on the edge of Europe and holds the highest density of archaeological and cultural artefacts in Ireland. You will certainly sense the spirits of Celts and early Christian settlers while enjoying life at a slower pace, ideal for a walking vacation in Ireland.

Prices / Dates

Price:  €1,203 per person sharing
Saturday to Saturday

Single Supplement: +€350

Tour Dates:
Saturday 24 July to Saturday 31 July 2021
Saturday 11 June to Saturday 18 June 2022                                Saturday 23 July to Saturday 30 July 2022

Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate

Accommodation: Family Operated Guesthouse & Hotel

Included / Excluded

You will be collected at Dublin Airport at 12 noon and transferred to Connemara, County Galway.

Overnight in Leenane 

Our first guided walk is through Connemara National Park, a protected 3,000 hectares of mountains, bog, and woodland. The journey will begin from its splendid visitors’ centre.

After a visit to the centre, we will walk Diamond Hill, the undisputed highlight of the Park. From the hill, we will have a unique view of Kylemore Abbey with the awe-inspiring landscape of Connemara as its backdrop.

In the afternoon, we will visit the highly photographed Abbey, its Victorian Walled Gardens, and Neo-Gothic church. The estate has an incredibly engaging history which is always enchanting to discover while exploring the romantic architecture.

Overnight in Leenane

Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Ascent: 200 m/600 ft

Our walk today follows an old bog road along Lough Fee. Turf is still cut using traditional techniques along the bog and we will see the various stages of the process.

We will also pass by stone remains of settlements abandoned during the Great Famine. In the afternoon we walk a section of the beautiful and haunting old famine road along Killary Harbour. The Harbour is Ireland’s only fjord, stretching 20 km inland between the Mweelrea Mountains and Twelve Bens mountain ranges. From our path, we see abandoned potato furrows and penny-walls stretch up the glaciated fjord walls. The area contains some of Ireland’s most awe-inspiring and dramatic scenery.

Overnight in Leenane

Distance: 15 km/9.3 miles, Ascent: 80 m/240 ft

Today's walk begins in Maam, a valley made famous by the making of “The Quiet Man” starring Maureen O’ Hara and John Wayne.

Our journey takes us into the mountains on one of Ireland’s pilgrimage routes, through Maumeen Pass and to St. Patrick’s Church, situated in the heart of the Maumturk Mountains. Nearby we will visit a Holy Well, marked long before St. Patrick and Christianity, the well is believed to have healing powers and was visited by the Druids and Celts to promote strength and healing. It is their belief in an intrinsic power in the water that keeps people visiting Holy Wells to this very day.

Our trail then winds down the Inagh Valley with superb views over Roundstone Bog and its surrounding countryside.

Overnight in Leenane

Distance: 15 km/9.3 miles, Ascent: 340 m/1020 ft.

Today, we leave Connemara for the Burren in Co. Clare, taking the coast road along Galway Bay and stopping off in the Gaelic-speaking seaside village of Spiddal “An Spidéal”.

Our next stop is the famous Cliffs of Moher, whose sheer rocky face rises directly from the sea to a height of 200 m/600 ft. The Cliffs are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, and when you see the Cliffs, you will understand why. A walk along the cliffs give views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, The Twelve Bens and the Maumturk Mountains. After our visit to the cliffs, we go to our final accommodation situated just outside the lively town of Lisdoonvarna.

Overnight in Lisdoonvarna

Distance: 8 km/5 miles, Ascent: 110 m/330 ft

We begin our morning with a 1-hour ferry ride from the beautiful village of Doolin to the village of Kilronan on Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands.

Inis Mór is a land steeped in myth, legend and ancient culture and is famous for its stone forts, which are thought to date from the late Bronze Age (1100 BC) through to the Iron Age (300 BC-500 AD). Our walk takes us to the Black Fort (Dun Duchathair), a solitude fort situated on the cliffs at Cill Éinne on the southern side of the island.

Overnight in Lisdoonvarna 

Distance: 12 km/7.5 miles, Ascent: 70 m/210 ft

Our final day’s walk leads us over the stark limestone landscape of Black Head in the Burren.

Starting from the village of Fanore, our walk follows an old green road around the shoulder of Black Head through this surreal “lunar landscape” and gently up Gleninagh Mountain for simply gorgeous views. Our walk back loops us around another old green road onto the Burren Way and back to Fanore.

If you are interested in geology, flora, archaeology or wildlife, this day won’t disappoint as you are immersed into the unique, unfolding layers of limestone.

Overnight in Lisdoonvarna

Distance: 12.5 km/8 miles, Ascent: 310 m/930 ft

After a hearty breakfast, we will depart Lisdoonvarna for Dublin Airport arriving between 2 and 3 pm.

A few words from our customers...

We thoroughly enjoyed our weeks self-guided walking on the Connemara and Western Way. This emphasized for me that Footfalls are there with you along the way albeit in the background. The B&Bs chosen were excellent and taxi pick-ups were very efficient. Even though the Way is well sign-posted, Christopher had provided us with very comprehensive route notes. Overall a very well organized and enjoyable week. Thank you Christopher and Teresa.
Anne & Ita
Ireland
We did both a guided and self guided tour. Both were amazing. Christopher was our guide and was excellent, knew were to get away from the crowds, very knowledgeable, and great sense of humor. I had looked at other walking tours, all were a lot more expensive and it is difficult to imagine could be justified compared to Footfalls.
Manuel
USA