> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking in Ireland > Visit Connemara: Discover the West of Ireland
POSTED BY November 19, 2021

Thinking about a visit to Connemara? This mythical region of Ireland is made up of vast wild spaces and peat bogs where countless sheep roam. Inhospitable nature, unparalleled beauty and ever-changing color. If you are going to the West of Ireland, you absolutely must go hiking in Connemara!

Connemara National Park

The Connemara National Park is one of six National Parks in Ireland. Located in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers an area of 2,957 hectares. Mountains, vast expanses of peat bogs, moors, meadows and forests… the landscape is varied and picturesque.

A number of hiking trails start from the visitor center at the entrance to the Park. Easy to moderate level, they allow walkers to discover all the beauty of the surrounding nature .

You can contemplate superb panoramas from the top of Diamond Hill (400 meters above sea level). On a clear day, it offers breathtaking views of the bay, the islands of Inishbofin, Inishturk and Inishshark, and the magnificent Kylemore Abbey .

If you love animals, you will also find what you are looking for here, since the Park is also home to Connemara ponies, red deer and a wide variety of birds, including peregrine falcons.

Find more information here: https://www.connemaranationalpark.ie/

Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey

One of the iconic places you should not miss if you are visiting Connemara is Kylemore Abbey. As you walk through the estate, you will learn more about the very interesting history of this place, still largely owned by the Benedictine sisters.

From the abbey to the Gothic church, passing by the mausoleum or the sublime gardens of Kylemore, a walk of the grounds is definitely worth a look!

Another recommendation is a stop by Kylemore’s cafe. Their dishes are delicious and homemade! The shop also offers lots of quality products made on site by the sisters. Something to have fun, or nice memories to bring back to loved ones!

Find more information here: https://www.kylemoreabbey.com/

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara
Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

The Twelves Bens

Notice to hiking enthusiasts or nature lovers! The Twelve Bens are the highest mountains in the West of Ireland.

Unlike the Wicklow Mountains – which are mostly covered with peat bogs and heather – the peaks of Connemara, and in particular the Twelve Bens, are rather arid and rocky quartzite peaks.

Located just over an hour from Galway, the Glencoaghan Horseshoe Hiking Trail, which takes you past six of the Bens, is one of the most popular in Connemara. It can be completed in 7-9 hours.

On a clear day the views along the trail are phenomenal! You can spot Mweelrea and Achill, Clifden, the Maamturk Mountains, Galway Bay and the Aran Islands.

Connemara tends to receive a lot of haze and rain which can cause visibility to deteriorate quickly. We therefore advise you can use a compass and to master map reading before undertaking this hike.

Twelve Bens, Connemara

The Western Way

Another very beautiful hiking trail in the Wild West: the Western Way. It passes through the counties of Galway and Mayo.

The Western Way will allow you to discover many secret places and other secluded corners of the West of Ireland. This 114km hiking trail will take you through the beautiful and picturesque landscapes of Connemara.

The trail begins in Oughterard in County Galway, and continues north towards Maam Valley. It was here that in the 19th century, the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo planned the modern roads of Connemara! From Maam, it then crosses the beautiful Inagh Valley, passes through the rugged landscape of the Twelve Bens, to reach Killary Harbor near the village of Leenane.

Walking the Western Way Hillwalk Tours
Walking the Western Way, Connemara, Ireland

Want to explore these spectacular landscapes that have inspired great writers like Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats? Check out our Western Way walking tours!

The Sky Road

Finally, if you are going to visit Connemara, do not miss the Sky Road! This 11km circular route runs along Clifden and Streamstown Bays, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden Castle and Inishturk Island!

The Sky Road departs from the town of Clifden, known locally as the “capital” of Connemara.

It is one of the most beautiful roads on the Wild Atlantic Way. The beauty of the landscapes that can be seen from the Sky Road is just incredible!

Connemara Pony Photo credit www.nicholasgrundy.com

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to Visit Connemara: Discover the West of Ireland. If you are interested in a Connemara walking holiday, just get in touch.