Connemara is a remote area on the West Coast of Ireland that offers total tranquillity and much more relaxed pace of life. Add to this the stunning scenery and you have an area ripe for exploring. In the summer I had the chance to walk one of our new trips in Connemara and while the whole trip was amazing, there were three areas that really stood out.
Visiting Inishbofin Island
Taking the ferry across from Cleggan, you visit the small but fascinating island 8 kilometres off the coast of Connemara. Inishbofin Island is home to a very small community of people, with around 180 people living on the island, this is one of the more peaceful parts of Ireland. The trip follows a lovely 11km walk around the eastern and central parts of the island. You visit white sandy beaches, quiet coves, walk past small cottages and walk past the adorable primary school. The artwork on the side that includes facts on the history of Inishbofin, which included that they fully had electricity installed on the island in 1982. On one part of the walk, we passed along a quiet road past a beautiful little graveyard, where you are treated to the amazing views back over to the mainland and across to the 12 Bens in Connemara National Park, which you will pass by later in the trip on the mainland.
Walking across to Omey Island
The second last day of the trip includes a 14km loop walk. The first and latter part of the walk is on road mainly road walking to take you to and from the sandbank to cross to Omey Island. Omey Island is a small tidal island that can be reached by car or foot when the tide is out. After checking the tide times prior, you can then walk across the sandbank to the island. A first for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of walking across to the island and getting my feet wet in the remnants of sea water while crossing. When the tide is in, there is enough water to cover a car. Our trip allows you to do a loop walk around the quiet island where there are beautiful beaches to visit and quiet coves, a fantastic place to stop for lunch. We were lucky with the weather when we were there and went a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, thinking it could have been the Bahamas with the white sandy beaches and clear water.
Walking the Western Way
The last day of the trip is the longest walking day at 17km. This is a completely different kind of walk from the previous days, as it is along part of the Western Way into Leenane. The Western Way is a waymarked trail through the counties of Galway and Mayo. As you walk through the valley, with the 12 Bens to your left, it felt very much like I was in the Kinloch Rannoch area on the West Highland Way. The walk itself is the hardest of the trip as it has a few ascents and descents and is the longest in distance, however that is not to say that it is a strenuous day. Walking through the hills and woodland is a lovely change from the coastal walking of the previous days. I am a fan of coastal walking and being beside the sea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the openness and terrain of this last days walk into Leenane. Walking in Connemara is a true delight and if you want to ask any questions about it, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our Ireland Specialists.