Explore the strongest Gaeltacht in the country on this fascinating tour. Experience the contrasting regions of The Burren & Connemara; a botanist’s dream & explore limestone landscapes, lakes, moorland, rugged mountains, jagged peaks, bogland pools & so much more.
A tour full of surprises & exciting sights.
SELF GUIDED TOUR
The perfect way for the independent explorer to see our hidden gems & discover the many paths less travelled.
7 nights stay, 6 days hiking
The ideal way to enjoy a self-guided hike for those unable to walk more than 15km per day.
“Satisfied with every detail, impressed to see how seriously every detail was taken into account, just wow!”
– Jean-Marc, France, 2016
The Burren and Connemara face each other across Galway Bay, and yet it is hard to imagine two more contrasting landscapes. ‘Burren’ is derived from the Irish word boireann meaning ‘place of stone’, and the name could not be more apt. There is no part of Ireland where rock so obviously dominates the landscape as it does in the Northwest corner of County Clare. The Burren covers an area of some 260 square kilometres and is famous for its bare limestone pavements dissected by deep crevices and traversed by countless stone walls. Almost devoid of trees and surface water, it has been described as ‘lunar’ in its appearance, an ancient limestone plateau beneath which is a labyrinth of pot-holes, caves, streams and lakes. Surprisingly, this bizarre and apparently hostile environment is a botanist’s paradise as around ¾ of Ireland’s plant species are found in the Burren (more than any other region).
The Aran Islands, Inisheer, (near island), Inishmaan, (middle island), and Inishmore, (big island) are unique amongst the islands of Ireland. Geologically they are similar to the Burren, many of the fields consisting of little more than bare limestone. The islanders have eked out a living by improving the soil over generations with sand and seaweed. Aran’s flora is as rich and exotic as that of the Burren. Aran is also a bastion of Irish culture. Irish is still the everyday language of most islanders, making it the strongest Gaeltacht in the country. Many traditions that have been lost on the mainland have been maintained here. It also has a wealth of archaeological and historical remains, notably its prehistoric stone forts and Early Christian sites. Aran has been a mecca for scholars and discerning travellers ever since John Millington Synge’s brilliant depiction of the islanders’ life in The Playboy of the Western World.
Connemara is an imposing landscape of lakes, moorland and rugged mountains. It has some of the most extensive areas of blanket bog in Europe and is home to many heathland and bogland plants such as the insectivorous sundew and butterwort and a rich variety of heaths and heathers. The two main mountain groups – the Twelve Bens of Connemara and the Maamturk Mountains – are separated by the deep valley in which Lough Inagh lies. One of the most typical Connemara scenes is to see the jagged peaks glistening with quartz reflected in the still waters of a bogland pool. At its northern frontier Co. Galway is separated from Co. Mayo by the long, deep inlet of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord.
Click the days below to reveal more information.
Arrive in Lahinch where you will be spending your first night. On arrival at your first accommodation, your host will give you your full Detailed Information pack. They will also be able to recommend some of the excellent local restaurants and suggest some of the pubs where you will find great traditional Irish music.
Access for this holiday is made by a taxi or bus connection from Shannon or Galway Airports to Lahinch. This service is available all year round.
From your accommodation you will be transferred to the start of the walk along the Cliffs of Moher at Hags Head. From here you follow the “Burren Way” along the cliff tops to the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre and on to Doolin, your base for tonight.
Walk Details: Distance: 5kms. Max. Elevation: 165m. Total Ascent: 110m. Total Descent: 80m. Terrain: Cliff top Walk, small roads.
This morning you will make your way to Doolin Pier along with your luggage. There is a shuttle bus which departs Doolin in the morning to meet the ferry, alternatively you can call a taxi to transfer you (payable direct). On arrival to the O’Brien Line Doolin/Aran Ferry Office, you will collect your tickets (prepaid) & take the 10.00 to the smallest of the Aran Islands, but an Island with lovely walks and people; where history, culture and Celtic remains are all around. Following your hike, you take the 15.00 ferry onward to Inis Mor for your first of 2 nights on the largest of the Aran Islands.
Walk Details: Distance: 11.5kms. Max. Elevation:54m. Total Ascent: 139m. Total Descent: 138m. Terrain: Small road walking and paths. Open Cliff top. Boots Optional
This morning you will depart your accommodation and have the opportunity to discover the south eastern region of this amazing island. Reaching the coast, you will find a wonderful old promontory fortress dating back to the Iron Ages before returning to your accommodation for your overnight.
Walk Details: Distance: 8.00kms. Max. Elevation:49m. Total Ascent: 145m. Total Descent: 141m. Terrain: Small road walking and paths. Open Cliff top. Boots Optional.
The morning Ferry from Cill Ronan will take you to Rossaveel where you will be transferred to the start of the days walk. At Teernakill Bridge near the village of Maam. Your luggage will be transferred to the B&B. From there you will follow the “Western Way” over the wonderful Maumeen Pass (Mám Éan), with its ancient shrine to St.Patrick, stations and holy well, still frequented by the faithful. Descend from the pass and continue along quiet country roads to your overnight accommodation at Lough Inagh.
14kms. Duration: 4 hours. Max. Height: 250m. Grass and muddy tracks, rocky in places. Can be very wet underfoot. Some road walking – boots
Your walk today starts from Lough Inagh and, continuing on the Western Way, you walk along the foot of the Maamturk Mountains through Letterbreckaun to Tullyconor and on to the shores of the spectacular Killary Harbour. to finish in the little village of Leenane. Overnight in Leenane.
Walk Details: Distance: 16kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 150m. Grass tracks – rocky and muddy in places. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential. Some road walking
From Leenane, you will be taken to the western tip of Killary Harbour – Ireland’s only fjord. Following along the shores of this harbour, you follow an old “famine road”. At the end of your trip, an introduction to sheep farming can be enjoyed before your taxi arrives to bring you back to Leenane. Overnight in Leenane.
Walk Details: Distance: 6kms. Max. Elevation: 45m. Total Ascent: 188m. Total Descent: 167m. Terrain: Grass tracks – rocky and muddy in places. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential. Some road walking.
From Leenane, we will transfer you at 09.05 to the bus stop at Maam Cross to get the 09.45 bus to Galway. On arrival back at Galway Bus Station – you can then access all airports, ferry ports or main cities by the excellent train or bus services offered. A private Bus service also serves Shannon and Dublin Airports/Dublin City direct from outside the Tourist Office.