Walking in the Wilds of Connemara
Connemara sits in the very west of Ireland in County Galway and has some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The coastline weaves in and out along the Wild Atlantic Way, with attractive small fishing villages such as Roundstone, Clifden and Leenaun. The landscape is exceptionally beautiful, with many freshwater lakes surrounded by steep mountains including The Maumturks, and the Twelve Bens, the two most prominent mountain ranges in the area. Connemara National Park covers 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, bogs and woodlands and was established in 1980.
This walking weekend is designed to showcase some of the highlights of this famous Irish landscape. Our programme offers a range of hikes, from the iconic Diamond Hill with its views out to the Atlantic and the offshore islands, to a walk on Connacht’s highest point on Mweelrea. This a spectacular walk overlooking Ireland’s only Fjord, with views across County Mayo and the islands surrounding this incredible coastline. Another highlight will be the visit to Kylemore Abbey and gardens, located below Diamond Hill. Built as private residence in the 1800’s, and now owned by the Benedictine nuns, this fascinating place combines history, planting and scenery in one great visit.
- 2 nights BB with breakfast in the Alcock & Brown Hotel in Clifden town
- 1 Evening meal
- Guided walk on Connaught’s highest point – Mweelrea
- Entrance into Kylemore Abbey.
- 3 Guided walks with qualified guides.
- Transport from Dublin.
Pickup: From the Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street (Dublin) at 09:30am
If you are making your own way down we will meet you in our hotel in Clifden at 14:00
Day 1) Transfer from Dublin to Clifden followed by a hike on Diamond Hill.
In the morning we will leave Dublin and make our way to Clifden, a lively and cosmopolitan town considered to be the capital of Connemara with a stop along the way. Our hotel is in the heart of this friendly town, and you have a great range of shops, restaurants and pubs within a few steps.
Walk on Diamond Hill: Named Diamond Hill after the glitter of the quartz crystals on the hill, at just 445 m, this is a fairly easy walk on marked trails. However, the views are very rewarding, with the islands of Inishbofin and Inishark below (weather permitting) and many of the Twelve Bens. Kylemore Abbey and Kylemore Lough lie just below.
Grade: moderate Length 7 km, Duration: 2.5 hrs, Ascent: 400m, Terrain: Gravel tracks and paved mountain paths.
Afterwards we will return to Clifden to enjoy dinner together and check out the nightlife in this lively town and perhaps enjoy some music in one of its traditional pubs.
Day 2) Walk on Mweelrea and visit Kylemore Abbey.
This morning after breakfast we travel out towards County Mayo to walk Connaught’s high point Mweelrea.
Mweelrea –This is the highest point in Connaught and reaches 814m not an easy walk by any means. We will start this walk from the more approachable side on the north west at sea level. The walk is across open mountain with a gradual track and we will take our time walking this. (This walk is totally weather dependent, another suitable walk will be chosen if the weather is bad)
Grade: Strenuous Length 14 km, Duration: 4 -5 hrs, Ascent: 800m, Terrain: Open mountain.
Afterwards we will visit Kylemore Abbey – formerly a private residence, now home to a community of Benedictine nuns who came here in 1920 when their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I. For many years they operated a boarding school for girls in the Abbey. The six acre walled gardens have been restored to their former glory and are well worth visiting.
Day 3) Walk on Omey Island – return to Dublin
After breakfast we will take a short drive via the glorious Sky Road, to do a loop of Omey Island, before returning to Dublin. This island is now uninhabited, is accessible at low tide, and has a number of interesting sites including Feichin’s Church. This walk is flat, sandy/grassy and unique. We will have refreshments in the local in Claddaghduff village before returning to Dublin. As this walk is tide dependent, an alternative route may be chosen on the day.
Walk easy: Length 4 km, Duration: 2.5 hrs, Ascent: 50m, Terrain: sand, rock and grassland.
This trip is open to those who who have appropriate footwear and rain gear. We have had great fun on previous weekends away so are hoping for a lively, easy going gang who love walking, and exploring some of the hidden treasures in this country.
A non-refundable deposit of €35 is required to secure your place and due to the limited accommodation options, we are capping numbers initially at 20.
Here is a short list of extras you will need to bring along for this walking weekend.
N.B. Ireland’s climate is of a moderate type and suited to walking all year round. Although it is quite changeable so starting a walk on a fine clear morning may not be the case for the afternoon.
- Hill walking Boots
- Rucksack for walks (25L)
- Walking Trousers (Not Jeans)
- Waterproofs (Just in Case)
- Walking Socks
- Thermal top / T-shirt (Not Cotton)
- Sun Cream
About the walks and fitness levels:
All the walks are taken at a pace to suit the group.
The groups can have a mixed level of fitness and age usually.
If the weather is to bad on a certain day to do the suggested walk, then the guide will suggest an alternative one.
The Guide will have the final say on the day of the chosen walk for the safety of the group.
The Accommodation: Alcock and Brown Hotel
• All bedrooms are en-suite with bath & shower, tea & coffee making facilities, iron & ironing board and hairdryer.
• A comfortable lounge area, fine dining restaurant with seasonal & locally sourced food produce..
• There are live music sessions in the bars close by every weekend.
• Fresh breakfast is cooked to order with table service
1 evening meal is included as part of the tour
Breakfasts are included and there is a wide selection to choose from including a Full Irish, fruit, cereals etc.
Lunches for the walks: We will stop in the mornings at Delis or shops to get these.