Walking Hiking

Connemara & Western Way – 5 Days

  • Wild Atlantic Way Walking Tour

Connemara & Western Way – 5 Day – Self-Guided Walking Tour

Connemara, on the Wild Atlantic Way – translated as “the Conmaicne Tribe of the Sea” – even the name is wildly inspired! Stretching from Galway Bay to Killary Harbour and bounded on the east by Lough Corrib & Lough Mask, the principal range of mountains is the Twelve Bens and the smaller Maumturks. Grey quartzite peaks, shimmering over bogs and small loughs, fed by an average rainfall of 1700mm a year! It is a wild place, with some of the finest scenery Ireland has to offer. Connemara is the perfect walking trail for a short break in the west of Ireland.

Early settlements were mainly on the coast; the interior deemed too infertile and wet for any useful occupation.  The area suffered huge population loss in the mid 19th century due to the Great Famine, but through the guidance of the Irish Land Commission, land leases were offered to tenant farmers, fishing was structured and the area was slowly rejuvenated. Today much of the valley land is now under forestry schemes and intensive fish farming fills the coastal loughs. The predominance of hills and water means a relatively small road network but despite this, a strong native population remains.

Route

The Western Way runs from Oughterard in Co. Galway to Ballina in north Co. Mayo. Our itinerary covers the south and central section – often distinguished in literature as Western Way Connemara and Western Way Mayo. From the Pass of Mám Éan, the Way descends to the beautiful Lough Inagh Valley, with the Maumturk Mountains on one side and the equally awe inspiring Bens on the other .

Tour Pricing & Dates

5 Day Tour €433 per person sharing
Single Supplement +€100
Tour Dates March to October
Tour Grade Easy
Accommodation Guesthouse or B&B
BOOKING BOOK THIS TOUR

Video

Map

Itinerary

Day 1 / Travel to Oughterard
Travel to Oughterard where you will be picked up and taken to your guesthouse. Oughterard is a traditional village, nestled beside Lough Corrib (the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland), at the start of the Connemara Mountain Range and only 17km from Galway City.
Day 2 / Oughterard to Maam “ By the shores of Lough Corrib”
This walk takes you along the southwestern shore of Lough Corrib one of the great western lakes of Europe, known practically all over for its trout and salmon fishing and its myriad of islands. Onto the town land 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, where it has largely been untouched by the modern world. Overnight in Maam. Distance: 21km /13 miles, Ascent: 110 m/ 360 ft Approximate Walking Time: 5.30 hours
Day 3 / Maam to Lough Inagh "The Pilgrim Trail"
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 today the transformation of the landscape from yesterdays delightful scenery to the increasingly untamed, as you walk amidst the splendour of the Maumturk Mountains (The Pass of the Pig). The trail follows an old pilgrim route that rises gently between mountains at Maumeen (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 Maumturk 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). Overnight in Lough Inagh Distance: 15 km /9,5 miles, Ascent 280 m/ 918 ft Approximate walking time 4,5 hrs
Day 4 / 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 Maumturk 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 was 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. Overnight In Leenaun Distance: 14 km / 8,5 miles, Ascent 85 m/ 278 ft Approximate walking time 4 hrs
Day 5 / Depart
After a hearty breakfast you depart for home.

Included

  • 4 nights bed and breakfast
  • All accommodation is pre-booked in approved family-run guesthouses with all rooms en-suite
  • Maps and all route notes
  • Details on restaurants and places of interest to visit along the way
  • Luggage transfers daily while you walk
  • All information on trains or buses needed to get to your first accommodation and back at the end of the tour
  • Full back up service, should you require it, while on our tour

Not Included

  • Packed lunches
  • Evening meals

Testimonials

  • 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
  • Christopher, that was the best! We enjoyed every minute of our adventure in Ireland. You are an awesome tour guide. Thanks so much for a great trip. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope to return soon. We will return!

    Barbara and Michael