To begin your journey towards the Western Way, join our Connemara day tour departing Dublin at 6:30am every morning. The Western Way is a trail stretching across lush Irish countryside, collectively called Connemara. Oughterard is known as the gateway to Connemara, and is where you will spend your first night before you begin your journey.
Flowing streams give way to rolling meadows and quaint cottages. Oughterard is filled with winding pathways and river walks overlooking Lough Corrib. A hidden castle, seemingly lost in time, awakens the adventurous spirit. What Oughterard lacks in size, it makes up for in personality and charisma. Hearty food, friendly locals, and a tipple of your favourite beverage await, as you prepare for your journey along the Western Way.
Wonderful Lough views, winding country roads, and thatched cottages await on your first day's walk in Connemara. Walking along the banks of Lough Corrib, you gaze upon fishing enthusiasts as they search for the salmon and trout that fill its waters. Follow along moss covered stone gates that dot the pathway. Gaze upon quaint thatched roofed cottages that have lined this pathway for centuries. Enter Lackavrea forest whose boardwalks offer a delightful challenge.
Discover the secrets of the forest, with its hidden rivers and waterfalls that at first are discovered only by ear. The sound of rushing water reaches your ears, making you search for the stunning source of the sound. Along these paths you begin to see the steep rocky cliffs of Connemara's mountains, enticing you to continue your journey to see what other natural splendours await. Enter the sweeping valleys and get a dose of what is to come when you reach the mountain passes of Connemara on tomorrow's journey.
Awake to incredible mountain views and enjoy a delicious breakfast before your adventure begins today. The mountains of Connemara are filled with beauty that transcends the imagination. Towering cliffs, rolling hills, vast rivers and streams await as you embark on the 'Pilgrims Trail'. Legend has it that this pass within the Maumturk Mountains was where St. Patrick rested on his way to Croagh Patrick. Within the shadow of the mountains a pass opens towards Lough Inagh. Climbing upwards, you begin to see the shade cast by Maam’s mountains dwindling away. Along the mountain pass lies a chapel and well; erected in honour of St. Patrick. There are breathtaking views of the Inagh Valley as you head towards it. Continue your journey along winding country roads hugging the base of the mountains. It is in this valley that you will stay tonight for a well-deserved rest, right along the shores of Lough Inagh.
Bidding farewell to the shores of Lough Inagh, you begin your journey north towards the town of Leenan. These valleys were once occupied by many farmers prior to the potato famine, and are now frequented by sheep and livestock. Walking along stone paths in the shadow of mountains and forests, you continue until you reach the forest of Lettershanbally. Walk through the forest and steadily make your way upwards, walking along the side of a mountain that overlooks Killary Fjord. The Fjord is a beautiful sea coast that runs into the Atlantic. Small islands and mountains offer a great view out towards the sea. You may come across some sheep as you continue along the mountainside. Their grazing ground is spectacular as it looks over the Fjord. You will finally descend the mountain and walk along the road entering Leenan, where you will stay overnight for the next few days.
Today you have the opportunity to stay in the village of Leenane. We have organised your journey on a wonderful boat cruise up to Killary Fjord. The cruise lasts 1.5 hours and will give you a fascinating background to the area, the fjord and its suroundings. Leenane has some fantastic pubs and restaurants to keep you entertained in the evening. You can also take a taxi to visit Kylemore Abbey - an abbey that resembles a castle out of a fairytale. It is set amoungst the mountains, overlooking the lough. It is now a convent for nuns on retreat but you can have a guided tour (not included) or simply admire the abbey and its immaculate gardens.
Today, you will begin an exciting journey towards the small town of Drummin, nestled between the Connemara Mountains and Croagh Patrick. Walking down the main road out of Leenane you will get a chance to see the stunning Ashleigh Falls. Continuing down, using the Owenduff River as your guide, you will wind between mountains and flat farmland. Experience the beauty and isolation of this unique region, with only sheep and a few friendly farmers to cross your path during the day. You will continue upwards towards Tawnyard Forest, where many hidden loughs surround you. Throughout the forest, the sound of running water is present. It bubbles and rushes past stealthily; you can't detect its source. It is not until you exit the forest that you realize the sheer beauty of the area as you sit perched atop the hillside looking out at the picture perfect views. You continue to walk upwards until you reach the cliff face of Barnaderg. Here you wrap around the mountainside towards Drummin. Entering the small town of Drummin, you pass many quaint cottages and farms, and stop at a pub to end your day’s walk.
Today you will reach your final destination of Westport, a lovely seaside town with many pubs and restaurants. Voted one of the best towns to visit in Ireland, it is a great place to end your trip. Before you reach this destination, a beautiful walk around Croagh Patrick awaits. Here St. Patrick fasted for 40 days and nights. Walking up rolling hills and catching sea views, you continue on towards Barraglanna forest. Weaving through the forest, you are met with the staggering Croagh Patrick, one of the holiest mountains in the world. Abandoned farmhouses appear in the distance, left vacant due to the famine of the 1800s. Prior to the famine, there were nearly 10,000 people who inhabited this area of Ireland; now there are only 2,000. Continuing on your walk along a path that cuts through the mountainside, you reach the peak where you will have stunning views of the sea and of the town of Westport in the distance. Make your way down the mountain and find the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. Here, you can extend your walk towards the entrance of the mountain. Or you can continue on and make your way to Westport. Rest after the day's walk or enjoy exploring the streets of charming Westport.
End of Services: Tomorrow morning, enjoy your breakfast and then there are regular bus and train departures from Westport to Dublin.
We require a 20% deposit to start booking all the individual elements of your trip, which is payable over the phone or online (the full balance is due 6 weeks prior to departure, so if you book less than 6 weeks in advance your deposit will be the full tour cost). Every trip is tailor made just for you, so we confirm availability individually and book all your accommodation and options, then send you final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (usually max 5 working days).
It really depends on the trip. We offer quite a variety of holiday grades to help you select the right level of activity. Always be honest with yourself about your abilities, and always do some training in the run up to your trip. You'd be surprised at what you can achieve, especially going at your own pace on one of our independent adventures. Your specialist is the best person to ask for advice on a specific trip. The active kind of holiday offers rewards like no other.
Many of our trips come with baggage transfer included (some have optional baggage transfer, and on very few remote trips baggage transfer is unavailable, but do check the exact tour inclusions). You will drop overnight bags (one per person) by an allotted time each morning in a designated area in your hotel or B&B. This leaves you free to walk unencumbered, with only your day pack of essentials. Your baggage will be transferred to your next night's accommodation, and will usually arrive before you do!
An area gifted with stunning wilderness and warm welcomes, Connemara is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places in Ireland. Witness the bloom of wild spring flowers, and the calls of the cuckoo as you walk this wild landscape. We will take care accommodation, luggage transfers, guided maps and tour documentation!
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