Walking Hiking

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

  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way
  • Connemara & Western Way

Guided Walking Tour – Connemara, The Burren & 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.

 

Tour Pricing & Dates

8 Day Tour €1,203 per person sharing
Saturday to Saturday
Single Supplement +€350
 

Tour Dates 2020

 

Saturday, 6th June to Saturday 13th June 2020
Saturday, 25th July to Saturday 1st August 2020
Tour Grad Easy to Moderate
Accommodation Family Operated Guesthouse & Hotel
BOOKING BOOK THIS TOUR

Video

Map

 

Itinerary

Day 1 / Dublin to Connemara

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

Overnight in Leenane 

Day 2 / Diamond Hill & Kylemore Abbey

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.

Day 3 / Killary Fjord & Lough Fee

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.

Day 4 / St. Patrick's Church & The Western Way

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.

Day 5 / The Burren & the Cliffs of Moher

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

Day 6 / Inishmore - "a stress-free experience"

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.

Day 7 / Black Head

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.

Day 8 / Depart

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

Included

  • All accommodation is Failte Ireland approved and all rooms will be en-suite/private bathroom.
  • All meals to include: 7 Breakfasts, 5 Evening Meals and 6 Packed Lunches.
  • All transport from and back to Dublin Airport
  • All transport to and from walks and evenings out.
  • Ferry trip to Inishmore

Not Included

  • Entry fee to Kylemore Abbey and Walled Gardens
  • Two evening meals.

Testimonials

  • Dear Christopher,
    And thank YOU, our fearless leader!   You did a great job tending your flock!
    I had a most wonderful time, albeit a little more challenging than I had expected.
    But, I am grateful that the wind only knocked me down on some Valencia heather and not over a cliff! ;
    The scenery was stunning and the lodgings (particularly Casey’s and The Grand) and meals were superb!!
    And the icing on the cake was the pleasure of your company and great sense of humor!
    A perfect package all together!!
    I have more compliments to pay, but I will save them for the next time we connect.  Perhaps you, Teresa and I can
    chat via Facetime after the New Year.  I’d also like to talk a little bit more about the Wicklow Mountains Tour.
    Hope you have a wonderful and well earned holiday in New Zealand!!
    Take care and all the best,
    Carmel
    Wild Atlantic Way South West
  • Dear Christopher, thank you for another wonderful vacation! I really enjoyed seeing another area of your beautiful country. Thank you for leading us on some amazing hikes, and for taking care of everything while we were here. It was a very relaxing week, and we’re going home renewed and rejuvenated. Until we meet again!

    Nicole
  • Christopher, as the official Irish Tourism Board’s representative, it gladdens me to award you the Golden Shamrock, our top tourism award. That last part was bullshit. I had an amazing experience and I am so glad that I got to see Ireland’s most intimate spots. Thank you for a wonderful trip and all of your knowledge and humour. Looking forward to doing another trip together!

    Adam
  • Christopher, thank you for a second tour through your beautiful Ireland. It was another amazing experience of hiking and food and laughter. What a wonderful week and I can’t wait to return soon for another Footfalls tour. Thank you for everything!

    Erin
  • Dear Christopher, thank you so much for another beautiful journey in your Ireland. We loved our first walking holidays with you, so much that we couldn’t wait to do it again! And this second time in Connemara and the Burren Way didn’t disappoint. You make each trip so special with your warmth, quick wit and what I like to think of your Irish spirit. Thank you for another week of memories that I will always treasure, for your friendship and coring.

    Radha

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