A glorious immersion into all you would imagine walking the West coast of Ireland to be! Hike the rolling, stony hills of the Burren, the valleys, lakes and mountains of Connemara, and the wild, untamed Aran Islands.
Tour Map: Into the West
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Included In Tour
DAY 1: ARRIVAL, TRAVEL TO CLIFDEN, HIKE OMEY ISLAND, DINNER IN LOCAL RESTAURANT
Walking Distance 4 miles (6.4 km)
From Shannon we drive north to Clifden in County Galway: a lovely little town known as the “Jewel of Connemara”. Connemara is a wild, rugged, unspoilt area with a ragged coastline and two sets of impressive mountains – the Twelve Bens and the Maamturks.
We will walk at Omey Island: a beautiful place located just off the Connemara shore: we can reach it by walking across the sand at low tide. We take a circular route around the island travelling by ancient tracks beside a lake and then out across lovely, quiet sandy beaches. We will be accommodated for the next two nights at a guest house right on the edge of the town. We will take our evening meal at one of Clifden’s many fine restaurants specialising in fresh seafood. The town has many pubs with traditional music sessions most nights of the week.
Walk Options: the full walk is 4 miles long, there is an alternative option of just 2-3 miles available.
Overnight: Clifden, Connemara. Meals included: Lunch and Dinner
DAY 2: HIKE KILLARY HARBOUR AND TRAVEL TO THE ARAN ISLANDS
Terrain: waterside paths, rocky tracks | Elev Gain: 100 ft | Walking Distance 6 miles (9.7 km)
Our walk will be at Killary fjord. The fjord, travelling in from the sea to a village called Leenane forms the natural border between County Mayo in the north and County Galway to the south. This is one of the finest walks in Ireland! Later in the evening we will take the ferry to Inismor, the largest of the three Aran Islands.
Walk Options: the full walk is 6 miles long, there is an alternative option of just 2-3 miles available.
Overnight: Inismor, Aran Islands, County Galway. Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch and Dinner.
DAY 3: HIKE INISMOR, THE LARGEST OF THE THREE ARAN ISLANDS
Terrain: quiet lanes, grassy tracks, rocky shore | Walking Distance 6 miles (10 km)
The first part of our walk today takes us up to visit Dun Aenghus, a massive semi-circular ring fort lodged on the edge of cliffs that drop 300 ft into the Atlantic. Gaze out from the cliff tops across the wild Atlantic Ocean. Our walk consists of much varied terrain, beginning with a fabulous trek across the rocky flagstones of the northwestern shore of the island. We then travel on along quiet grassy tracks with fine views lined with endless stretches of dry stone walls. If you are taking this tour in springtime, you will be delighted at the sight of magnificent “carpets” of sea pinks (or thrift) found along the shore.
Walk Options: the full walk is 6 miles long, there is an alternative option of just 2 miles available. For those with more energy, there is an 11 mile option.
Overnight: Kilmurvey, Inismor, Aran Islands. Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch.
DAY 4: RETURN FERRY FROM ARAN ISLANDS, HIKE IN THE BURREN
Terrain: grassy track, country lanes, green road | Elev 400ft | Walking Distance 6 miles (9.7 km)
We will take the morning ferry back to Rossaveal and head to Slieve Elva in the Burren region of County Clare. The Burren (“a stoney place”) is a strange, lunar-like region of bare carboniferous limestone which occupies around one hundred square miles of County Clare. Below the surface of the Burren is the most remarkable assemblage of spectacular caves, streams, potholes and “turloughs”(vanishing lakes). After our walk, which takes in wonderful views of Galway Bay, we will make our way to either the coastal village of Ballyvaughan, or the “Matchmaker” town of Lisdoonvarna, for our final two nights.
Overnight: Ballyvaughan, or Lisdoonvarna, County Clare. Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner.
DAY 5: MORNING HIKE COASTAL BURREN AREA, AFTERNOON HIKE INLAND BURREN
Terrain: old green road, rocky tracks | Elev Gain 400 ft | Walking Distance 6 miles (10 km)
A wonderful day exploring and walking the Burren! And it is truly an immensely rocky place. The hills of the Burren are made up of limestone pavements with criss-crossing cracks called “grikes”, between isolated rocks called “clints”. The area supports Arctic, alpine and Mediterranean flora side-by-side, and the mild winter temperatues ensure a long growing season. The blue flower of the Spring Gentian, an alpine plant, is the region’s best-loved flower. For our walk today we will be escorted by a Burren expert. He will take us to sites of botanical, geological and archaeological interest.
Walk Options: the full walk is 6 miles long, for those that wish, there is an option of adding a further 5 miles.
Overnight: Ballyvaughan, or Lisdoonvarna, County Clare. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
DAY 6: VISIT CLIFFS OF MOHER, RETURN TO SHANNON
Terrain: cliff path | Walking Distance 5 miles (8 km)
Our last walk will be at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. We begin at the quaint village of Doolin and take the coastal path all the way to the Cliffs. Towering 660 feet above the wild Atlantic, these cliffs are noted for abundant birdlife including puffins (between May and early August). We can also hope to see and hear fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, and if we’re really lucky, peregrine falcons. Then it’s Goodbye to Ireland after our drive back to Shannon Airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast only.
West Coast Ireland Hiking Tour
West Coast Ireland Hiking Tour / Southwest Ireland Hiking Tour / Guided Hiking and Walking Vacation in Connemara, the Burren and the Aran Islands.
“Our first visit to Ireland could not have been better, thanks to your expert guidance! Thank you for taking care of all the details. Kathy and I would like you to know that we had a wonderful time on the trip. Everything that we expected but more !
The scenery and the peacefulness of the walks were among the reasons we have chosen to get out in the places we have traveled and walk the ” roads less traveled. We have very good memories especially of the Aran Islands and of course the walls. You really have a gift for being so welcoming and yet giving us time to enjoy at our own pace.“
Bill and Kathy Gianfagna, California