Island and Coastal Walking Tour
WALKING TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Experience life in the west of Ireland in all its guises as you spend a night in each of an off-shore island, a small isolated village, a bustling market town and a cosmopolitan city.
- Walk in the footsteps of those who lived and worked this land over hundreds of years on a path built to provide famine relief to the stricken population in the 1840s.
- Discover Ireland’s fjord at Killary Harbour and note the features of glaciation inscribed on the landscape during the last Ice Age.
- Walk two off-shore Atlantic islands where traditions and community are strong, and life is lived in a constant battle with the vagaries of weather and sea.
Conor’s favourite place to visit: There are many, but on this tour it would have to be Inishbofin island. There is something so special and different about it. I can feel myself leaving the world behind when I arrive there.
Your Tour in brief
This is a 7 day (6 night) tour starting every Friday from April to October.
The tour starts in the village of Leenane in Connemara, Co Galway and finishes in Galway city.
The Island and Coastal Walk Tour consists of moderate walking on even surfaces and two island walks accessed by ferry.
Equipment and information:
Correct rain proof gear and walking boots are essential to bring with you.
Full route notes and an Ordnance Survey Ireland map of the area are also provided and explained to you.
You can choose from two accommodation options - 3* hotels or approved B&Bs and guesthouses – where you will enjoy a full Irish breakfast on each morning.
Your luggage will be transferred every day to your next accommodation. When travelling to Inishmore, luggage will be transferred as far as Rossaveal for you; from Rossaveal you will carry your own luggage.
Transfers and travel:
We will collect you from Maam Cross bus stop and bring you to Leenane on arrival day. You can make your way from Galway city to Maam Cross via Citylink bus which has 5 daily buses serving this area, on the Galway-Clifden bus line.
We will bring you to and from the start and finish of each walk as indicated.
All other transfers as part of your tour route are included for you.
The tickets for the ferry to and from Inishbofin Island and Inishmore Island are included.
From Rossaveal to Galway city (departure) you travel by public bus, the fee for which you pay to the driver directly.
Further information on getting to/from Ireland can be found here
Alternative start days - €70 extra per booking
Arrive to the picturesque village of Leenane in Connemara. The mountains drop down to Killary Fjord providing a dramatic backdrop for this small village with its huge views. You will be given your route notes and general information to study overnight. Conor or Gabriel will meet you at your accommodation, either on the evening of arrival or the following morning (depending on your arrival time), to go through your itinerary and answer any questions you may have about your tour.
Famine Trail - 15 kms
Following a taxi transfer to the starting location, today’s hike will bring you from the point where Killary Fjord meets the Atlantic Ocean and along the shoreline of the fjord via a now disused greenway. This road was built during the Great Famine of the 1840s to provide employment and in turn relief for the stricken population. For a time, you will be at one with the natural beauty of this rugged coastline as no other signs of civilisation are in sight. You will join the Western Way walking trail to return to Leenane for a second overnight stay. Dinner is of your own choice in the village where there are several good choices available as well as two cosy, traditional pubs. Here you can listen in to local characters or simply soak up the atmosphere.
15 kms / 80 m elevation / 3-4 hours walking
Inishbofin Island - From 6 to 15 kms
A taxi will pick you up at your accommodation and bring you and your luggage to Cleggan where you will take the ferry to Inishbofin. Translating from Gaelic as the ‘Island of the White Cow’, Inishbofin is home to a thriving yet traditional island community. This is a perfect place to walk meandering country roads, to brave the chill of the Atlantic Ocean from a white-sand beach or to spend hours walking and observing the unique island life. Irish traditional music is part of the tapestry of this community and world-class musicians visit it regularly. It also boasts many unusual birds as well as colonies of seals. For lucky visitors, there is even the possibility of sighting dolphins, whales or sharks!
Choice of walks between 6 and 15 kms, elevation from 60 to 180m, from 1 to 5 hours walking
Clifden and its castle - 6 kms
Upon your return to the mainland at Cleggan, a taxi will transfer you to the town of Clifden in Connemara. Perched on the edge of the western seaboard and known as the "Capital of Connemara" it is a central meeting point for the surrounding communities. It is also very popular with visitors, artists, musicians and those looking for a change of pace. You will have the chance to spend the day exploring this pretty, colourful town and to walk to the ruins of Clifden Castle. The evening will bring music, great seafood restaurants, authentic Irish pubs and a chance to engage with the local people.
6 km/160 m elevation/1-2 hours walking
Inishmore Island - From 8 to 25 kms walking or cycling
A taxi will bring you to Rossaveal in time to take the morning ferry to Inishmore. Inishmore is the largest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Co Galway. There are over 50 different monuments of Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic origin on the island, the most significant being Dun Aonghusa. Perched on top of soaring sea cliffs where the full power and majesty of the Atlantic Ocean can be embraced, it is an impressive pre-historic stone fort built circa 1100BC. You may choose to explore this fascinating island on foot, or alternatively there are bicycles for hire at the pier. Spending the night in a guesthouse on the island you will have a chance to dine locally and get a sense of the people for whom this Atlantic island is home.
Choice of walks or bike ride between 8 to 25 kms/elevation from 50 to 220 m/between 1 to 6 hours
Return to the mainland by the mid-day ferry and take the public bus (pay the driver directly) from Rossaveal to Galway City. Take time to explore this historic city on the shores of Galway Bay, with its winding, cobbled streets and lovely buildings. It is brimming with music, art, exceptional restaurants and busy pubs. Enjoy dinner of your own choice and then take a stroll through the famous Latin Quarter listening out for the strains of traditional music emanating from the many lively pubs. You will be staying in Galway tonight.
Breakfast and depart Galway for your onward journey.
The B&B option means you will get to stay in a family home where the personal touch and attention to detail is second to none. A true Irish welcome awaits you as well as home-cooked food, comfort and a taste of traditional Irish life.
While you may be staying in part of the family home this does not mean that you will not have privacy and high standards of accommodation you require. Cosy rooms, modern facilities and care and attention are what these properties excel in.
"We met a number of people along the way who were extremely friendly and interesting and because we had no schedule, we could indulge in a pleasant chat without having to worry about missing anything. It was great to just walk without a heavy pack and to have luggage moved for us."
Alister - July 2018
"We can’t imagine having had a better time; your entire team did a first class job. Inishbofin will forever be a magical memory"
Scott - March 2018
Double/ Twin/ Triple
Terms and conditions
To secure your booking, we will request 30% deposit per person. Please note this is a non-refundable payment. The balance payment is due 30 days before the tour starts.
If your tour start date is within 30 days of booking, the full, non-refundable payment is required upon booking.
We do not organise travel to/from Ireland. However there is some useful information on our “Getting To Ireland” page.