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Aran Islands & Western Way – 8 Day
3 - Ireland, Connemara & The West | Self-Guided Walking Tours | 8 Days | £585
This 8 Day Self-Guided tour takes you from the Western Gateway City of Galway to Europe’s Western outpost of the Aran Islands and along the Wild Atlantic Way to the slopes of Croagh Patrick in the town of Westport.
You will pass through the wilds of Connemara, experience the history and the culture of the Aran Islands and the sheer beauty and ruggedness of the Mayo Atlantic coastline.
Tour Pricing & Dates
8 Day Tour – £585 per person sharing
Single Supplement – +£210
Tour Dates – Available March to October
Tour Grade – Easy to Moderate
Accommodation – Guesthouse (en suite)
Day 1 Galway
Galway is the Gateway to Connemara and the West of Ireland, easily accessible by public transport from all Irish airports. Galway with its famous cobbled streets is always alive with buskers on nearly every corner and traditional music throughout the bars of the city centre. Or get away from it all with a walk along the shores of Lough Corrib or the iconic Salthill strand. Extra nights can be arranged in Galway City enquire at time of booking.
Day 2 Galway to Inishmore Using public transport from Galway City to Rossaveal catch a ferry for the short journey (50 minutes) across the sea to the largest of the three Aran Islands, the twenty-six sq kilometre Inishmore. Inishmore or Inishmór (the big island), with its rich archaeological sites, thousands of kilometres of stone walls built in order to define one’s property as well as to protect the small fields from erosion brought on from the strong winds. A combination of cliff and coastal walks along stretches of limestone pavement and a community still living the Celtic traditions of generations gone, makes this a very special place. Your guesthouse on the island will be in the small fishing village of Kilronan. The hand knitted Aran Sweater originated from this part of Ireland; a tradition passed down from generation to generation, which has now become the ultimate symbol of Irish Clan heritage. After settling in to your accommodation, you will have the opportunity to explore the eastern part of the island. Taking in places like: Dun Duchathair (the Black Fort), the Puffing Holes, View of Synge’s Chair, remote beaches and the sounds of waves crashing in against the rocks. The perfect start to your walking week. Distance: 10km, Ascent 70m Approximate walking time: 3 hrs
Day 3 Inishmnore & Dun Aengus “
Walk on the Rim of Europe”Your second walk takes you to the northern side of the island along small country laneways and green roads to reach the hamlet of Kilmurvey. Here you will visit Dun Aonghasa; one of the most important and unique prehistoric stone forts to be found in Ireland, dating back approximately 2.500 years. The fort is built on the edge of some high sheer cliff and consists of horse shoe shaped dry stone walls, the inner one 3.5m thick and up to 6 metres high in places. The views from here are simply magnificent The trail continues through a desert of limestone rocks that is rich in rare flora during spring and summer, through the town land of Gort na gCapall (The Field of the Horses) and back to Kilronan Distance: 18 km/, Ascent 220 m Approximate walking time 5 hrs
Day 4 Maam to Lough Inagh, “The Pilgrim Trail”
Departing the island on the 08.15 ferry to Rossaveel, where a taxi will pick you up and transport you to Maam and the start of your walk. A complete change of contrast in landscape from the previous days awaits you in the Commemara mountains along the western trail, you will walk amidst the splendour of the Mamturk Mountains (The Pass of the Pig). Following an old pilgrim route that rises gently into the mountains, you will be 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 near Westport. Continuing on you will cross the spine of the Mamturk Mountains where you will be rewarded with some fantastic views both back into the Maam Valley and ahead to the Twelve Bens mountain range and “The Lough Inagh Valley”. Distance: 15 km, Ascent 280 m Approximate walking time 4.5 hrs
Day 5 Lough Inagh to Leenaun
You depart Lough Inagh by walking directly from your accommodation. The trail flanks the base of the Mamturk Mountains passing some old ruins settlements as you travel. This area is now completely uninhabited and probably has been since the great famine of 1845. This is one of the most remote areas of the trail. As you start to descend into the village of Leenaun you will have some great views down over Ireland’s only fjord – Killary Fjord. Your day finishes in beautiful Leenaun, a village nestling on the shore of Killary Harbour and flanked by the mountains on all sides. Distance: 14 km, Ascent 85 m Approximate walking time 4 hrs
Day 6 Leenaun to Drummin
Today’s trail takes you northeast from Leenaun to the head of Killary Fjord and across into Mayo. Here you will have an option to take a short detour to visit the famous Aasleagh Falls, where the salmon rich Erriff River cascades picturesque down to meet the inlet of Killary. The falls can be very impressive, especially after heavy rainfall. The route takes you through wild bog lands and sparse forests. You will cross the Sheeffry Hills from where you can enjoy wonderful views of the Erriff Valley and pass Sheeffry Bridge, an old humpbacked structure. Your day finishes in the quiet hamlet of Drummin. Distance: 15 km, Ascent 200 m Approximate walking time 4.5 hrs
Day 7 Drummin to Westport
On your final walking day you will walk in the shadow of Ireland’s Holy Mountain; Croagh Patrick. This mountain is a spectacular sight and many pilgrims from around the world come to climb it every year, many barefoot. It is believed that the saint fasted here for 40 days and 40 nights. You will be transported to the start of your walk. Following a small country road, the trail leads you to the wild and beautiful townlands of Bartaglanna and Glencally. Here you will have the option to take a detour to climb to the summit of Croagh Patrick or continue along the Western Way into the picturesque yet lively town of Westport. Distance: 23 km, Ascent 420 m Approximate walking time 6.5 hrs
Day 8 Depart
Your tour ends in Westport which is well connected by public transport to all areas of Ireland for your onward travels.
✓ 7 nights B&B
✓ All accommodation in pre-booked in approved family-run guesthouses with all rooms en-suite
✓ Luggage transfers while you walk with a small day pack
✓ Maps and Waterproof Route Notes
✓ Details of restaurants and places of interest along the way
✓ All information on trains or buses needed to get to your first accommodation, during the tour and back at the end of the tour
✓ Full back-up service should you require it while on our tour