> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking in Ireland > 3 Reasons to Hike Connemara This Year
POSTED BY February 15, 2020

If you somehow haven’t heard the big news yet (we’ve had a major build up here in Galway over the past couple of years), 2020 is the year in which Galway is the European Capital of Culture. This means that both Galway City and County will see a number of art events and installations take place throughout the course of the year. The extra hustle and bustle means that 2020 is the perfect year to make a hiking visit to Galway’s wilderness area of Connemara and check out the cultural happenings at the same time.

Mam Ean

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Galway 2020 Events along the West of Ireland / Connemara Hiking Route

The organisers of Galway 2020 have had the foresight to ensure that the cultural events are not purely limited to the city of Galway. As such, remote regions such as the Aran Islands and Connemara – all of which you can hike through with Hillwalk Tours – will see their fair share of cultural experiences unfold as well. For example, the performance piece “Middle Island” is set to take place on Inis Meain, the “middle” of the three isles making up the Aran Islands. Meanwhile the “Mirrored Pavilions” installation from John Gerrard will see giant reflective surfaces creating stunning reflections of the wild landscapes of Connemara as you hike past. Finally, in the town of Oughterard, where you commence the inland section of your hike through Connemara, the “Galway Ghost Train” community project will involve local and international participants donning LED suits as they retrace the pathway of the former Galway to Clifden railway line, set to become a “Greenway” walking and cycling track in the future.

Galway City

As if a stopover in Galway City wasn’t already enough of an excuse to pop over to the Emerald Isle for a hillwalking tour, the world-famous city just received even more praise. Not only is it the host city to the Galway 2020 cultural events, but it has been ranked rather highly yet again by a number of different bodies. Galway has been ranked as the “4th best city for travellers in 2020” by Lonely Planet! Meanwhile in 2016 The New York Times even called Galway “Ireland’s Most Charming City.” And again more recently, CNN included Galway in its list of the 20 best places to visit in 2020. Quite the accolades to have achieved for such a small place. Galway punching well above its weight as always!

Galway - Top of reasons to visit Ireland

The Weather

Yes, it might sound crazy, but we’re rather optimistic here in the West of Ireland about having a good summer this year. You see, as the saying goes “there’s no bad weather, just inadequate clothing!” Visitors to the Connemara region in the west of County Galway will be pleasantly surprised to find that although we aren’t world-renowned for scorching summers, the temperatures aren’t too mild either. Ireland is a fairly tiny island really, meaning that we are extremely well insulated by the sea. This means that our winters aren’t anywhere as freezing as locations found at a similar latitude (i.e. the frozen depths of Canada), and that our summers also aren’t as swelteringly hot and humid as places like New York City can be. Our climate is also regulated by the currents and wind coming up across the North Atlantic, and although this does keep us warmer in the winters, it does mean you’ll still need to pack a raincoat and a sweater in the summertime just in case.
Personally I believe we’re due a lovely, warm, dry summer though. At present I’m anticipating a similar prophecy from the infamous Michael Gallagher, postman and self-proclaimed weather “prognosticator” from Donegal in Ireland’s extreme northwest corner. He regularly makes surprisingly accurate predictions about the weather here in Ireland, so keep an eye out for any prophecies he may publicise about the summer of 2020.

Dun Aengus, part of the West of Ireland/Connemara tour

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