Connemara Hiking & Walking
There are few better places in the world to hike than Connemara. A memorable experience of cloud capped mountains, bog and moor land, wild sheep roaming and varying reds, oranges, purples and browns of the course grass. All this neighboured by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the mountains, lakes and forests on the other.
The Heritage Walk is the best way to see Oughterard Village. It's 2.8km (approximately one and three quarter miles). The walk starts at the church grounds and finishes at the same spot. The Golden Mile, which is a 1.6km section of the Heritage Walk, starts at the waterfall entrance on the Clifden road and ends at Cregg na Coille estate on the Cloosh Road.
The Oughterard Culture and Heritage Group have created a detailed booklet describing this walk, flora and fauna you are likely to encounter and 18 stops of interest along the way.
This is a lovely walk where you'll get to see Oughterard Town as well as the lovely Owenriff River passing through it.
A good place to start is the Main Square in Oughterard. Walk down Main Street towards the big church at the end, turn right over the little bridge over the river. Follow around right, along the river, until you see a gate with a path diverting from the road. This path will take you along the river until it comes out on the other side of town to a small bridge crossing it again.
Come up onto the road and turn left and walk until you reach Eighterard, turn right. Follow this along back over the river and coming out the end of Camp Street. Turn down a small road left which will take you past the Boat house. Continue until you hit the Pier Road. You may want to briefly go left to catch a stunning view of the Lough Corrib and then right to return to town.
Hill of Doon
This scenic walk, along Lough Corrib (Ireland's oldest lake) is beautiful and what's more, it leads to the even more picturesque views further up the hills.
When you come out of the hotel on the Main Square, turn left and follow this road down, around and over the bridge where you will see it signposted as turning into the Glann Road. Keep walking and about 9 miles later you'll come to the Hill of Doon.
Tonwee Wood Walk
Begin this walk by the church at the end of Main Street, Oughterard. Go over the small bridge, turn right and continue along the main road. This road is the Scenic Route or the High Road and will give you spectacular panoramic views of Lough Corrib.
Near the summit of the hill you will see a turn in left into the forestry. This path will take you in a loop off the road and come out further up the Scenic road. There is a small loop or a larger loop you may do. The larger loop is about 5km and the Scenic Route Road is about 5km before it joins up with the Glann or Lake Road.
The Western Way
This is a very popular long-distance walking trail. The whole trail is 66km and brings you all the way to Co. Mayo. To do just the Oughterard section you can begin in town, which will be 14.5km miles to its off-road start. Take the Scenic Road until it joins up with the Glann Road and continue until it ends, 14.5km down. There is a car park at the end so you may also drive this section. This is also a fantastic viewing point to the Hill of Doon.
The trail will take you all the way to Maam and through to Leenane. It is recommended to bring a a guide book or map and to stick to the designated trails.
In the olden days, before a stone bridge was built, people had to jump (léim) over a river to get across. This is how the area got its name.
Míle Órga Léim Loop is a 2.6 km loop trail that features a lake. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, and trail running.
Greater Connemara Walks
Diamond Hill - Connemara National Park
There are four trails in Connemara National Park (see map below). Each of them can be accessed from the Visitor Centre just past Letterfrack Village.
The longest loop route is 7km hike and there is a carved out pathway from stone and wooden boardwalks up to about three quarters of the way up the hill. The last quarter requires a bit more stamina but nothing too drastic. It should take about 2-3 hours, depending on your fitness and how mant times you stop to take in the magnificent views of beautiful Connemara!
The Cong and Clonbur Forest Trail
A lovely trail that passes through the Cong and Clonbur Woods. The Clonbur Woods is a specially dedicated area of conservation due to its unique variety of flora and fauna.
Begin in Cong Village, which is along the Galway-Mayo border. Pass a stone bridge into the woodlands (6km/ 3.7miles), finishing up in the Clonbur car park. The total trail should take about 2.5 hours.
This is around a three hour hike to the top of Tully Mountain on the Renvyle Peninsula. Amazing views of the famous Inishbofin Island and The Twelve Bens Mountain Range greet you at the top. Technically, it's a hill and not a mountain so it's not too steep or difficult to climb.
Be careful as it's there are no marked paths to follow, so be sure to plan your route ahead of time. Starting from the quay, follow the road to the west. Pass the first turn with the gates and continue until you see another tiny parking space. Opposite that, just climb up the hill and only then will you notice the gate -it is not visible from the road.
Maol Reidh can be quite a demanding hike, but worth it as it's one of the greatest in Ireland. The mountain summit offers spectacular views over Killary Harbour in Co. Mayo, Connemara in Co. Galway and the Atlantic Ocean.
The best way to ascent is to star on the coast to the west of the mountain and ascend gentle slopes, but even from this side climbers need to navigate carefully as cloud or mist can obscure the summit very rapidly.
Cnoc Maol Réidh in Irish means "smooth bald hill"