Galway Walking

Slí na Sláinte Walking Routes – Galway
Slí na Sláinte stands for ”path to health”. Developed by the Irish Heart Foundation, Slí na Sláinte walking routes are marked by bright colourful signposts. The signposts are not numbered and are situated at 1 km intervals.

There are five “”Sli na Slainte”” routes in County Galway – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Mervue, Milltown and Oranmore.

Aran Islands Walks
There is no better way to explore and experience history, culture and wildlife of the Aran Islands than by taking a guided walking tour of Inis Oírr. This tour takes you to a wide range of archaeological, historical, religious and cultural landmarks, detailing the history of island living, while also offering an insight into the unique geology and wildlife of the islands.

Eoghan Póil of Aran Islands Walks is a native of Inis Oírr and a fluent Irish speaker. Eoghan has a passion and love for Inis Oírr, and sees Aran Islands Walks as an ideal way of sharing this with others. His knowledge of Island history, traditions and culture has been passed down through the generations. Come and join Eoghan on his guided tour of Inis Oírr!

Walk Connemara
Walk Connemara offers guided walks, trekking, hillwalking, hikes and walking tours in Connemara and adjacent areas. These and other related guiding and walking services are provided by Paul Phelan, a trained an experienced walking guide and auther of “”Connemara and Mayo – a Walking Guide””, published by the Collins Press in 2011.

Walk Connemara offers various types of walks and tours – guided or self guided. The walks range from gentle half-day strolls to full-day mountain challenges. Visitors can join a scheduled walk or they can customise your own guided day or half day. Tours can range from two days to a week or more.

The walking amenities in Connemara include rugged coastline, islands, hills and mountains, surrounded by a spectacular landscape of lakes and bog. Other Connemara amenities which Connemara Tours can introduce you to include a wide range pubs and excellent food (including local fresh produce, particularly fish and lamb). They can also introduce you to local music and cultural events.

Diamond Hill Loop
Connemara is Irish landscape at its most dramatic. With soaring mountains, scattered loughs and an intricate coastline, this remote part of Galway is a world away from the trappings of urban life.

Two mountain ranges dominate the area – the rugged Maumturks and the cluster of quartzite peaks known as the Twelve Bens. Between them, they offer up some of the most challenging and exciting hill walking in the country.

Connemara National Park, near Letterfrack, is the perfect place to start exploring. Encompassing almost 3,000 hectares of mountain, bog and woodland, the Park’s visitor centre is the ideal spot to start your 7km walk up the 400m high Diamond Hill – the undisputed highlight of the Park.

Walking – The Western Way, Galway
This 66 km linear walking route provides an excellent introduction for walkers to the beautiful and scenic wildernesses of Connemara in County Galway in the west of Ireland. Starting in the famous angler’s town of Oughterard on Lough Corrib, it follows the western edge of the lake, one of the longest, and the second largest lake in Ireland, northwards into a magnificent wilderness of mountain and bog to reach civilisation again at the village of Maam Bridge. It was from here that the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo planned the modern roads of Connemara in the early 19th century. From Maam Bridge the route crosses the rugged Maumturk Mountains by a pass, at the top of which is Maum Ean, a holy place that has attracted pilgrims since the early Christian period. Descending again into the beautiful Inagh Valley the route passes between the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks, and through a sad landscape that was, before the Great Famine, well populated by cottiers, to reach the shores of Killary Harbour and the picturesque village of Leenane, one of the locations for the movie The Field. Overnight accommodation is limited along the route, so careful planning is necessary. The terrain consists of quiet roads, bog roads, open moorland, forestry tracks, mountain paths and about 3km of timber bog bridge: some parts of the route can be very wet and boggy, particularly after a rainy period, when there is a fast run-off from the Connemara mountains. The total aggregate ascent over the route is about 620m.

Cloonamore Loop
A-B. Starting from the mapboard at the top of the pier, turn left and follow the red (and purple and blue) arrows. The purple and blue arrows are for other loops. After approx 200m you reach a junction with Pound Road – turn right here and ascend to reach a crossroads. Note that the blue and purple loops turn left her – but you turn right.

B-C. Continue to follow the red arrows along the road for nearly 2km (passing a number of road junctions) to reach a gateway with stile on your left. Cross the stile and join a bog road.

C-D. Enjoy your trek along the bog road into Cloonamore for more than 500m until it peters into a track. Then watch for the red arrow which turns you sharp right into open ground – a short section leads you to another bog road at which you turn right. Almost 1km later you reach another gateway with stile – cross it to rejoin a tarred road and turn left. Approx 200m later you join the beach and turn right onto a path on the top shore.

D-A. Continue to follow the path as it becomes a green road – to join a surfaced roadway again in a cluster of houses. Turn left and follow the surfaced road for 300m to a junction where you veer right and, after another 300m take a sharp right bend. The next section road takes you past the ruins of St Colman’s Church (on your left) and the Dolphin Pub/Restaurant (at a road junction on your right). 300m later you rejoin the blue loop coming in from your right. Now follow the red and blue arrows for just 150m before turning left and descending to the quay area where you turn right. Follow the road for 500m past the church and back to the pier.

Hidden Trails at Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden
The old mountain trails of the Kylemore estate have been reopened! Hike through trails with our trained guides and discover spectacular scenery, the sacred heart statue, mountain lakes and lots of interesting history. Guided hikes start on 3 July, and run every day until September.

There will be 3 guided hikes a day, 7 days a week.

Hike 1 – Starts at 11:00 at the Kylemore Abbey visitor centre. Hike to the sacred heart statue on the mountain above the Abbey. Duration – approx. 1 hour.

Hike 2 – Starts at 12:00 at the Kylemore Abbey visitor centre. Hike to the sacred heart statue on the mountain above the Abbey. Duration – approx. 1 hour.

Hike 3 – Starts at 13:00 at the Kylemore Abbey visitor centre. Hike is extended past the sacred heart statue to high on the mountains taking in stunning views along the way. Duration – 2.5 – 3 hours.

There is a fee of €2.50 per person for the one hour guided hike and €3.50 per person for the extended 2.5/3 hour guided hike. This fee is in addition to the estate entrance fee.

As groups are limited to 12, booking is advised. To book, please contact the Kylemore visitor centre on 095 52001 or email For more details please visit the Kylemore Abeey & Gardens website.

Westquarter Loop
In the Irish language, Inishbofin translates as Inis Bo Finne (Island of the White Cow). It lies 10km off the coast of County Galway in the west. The main activities on the island today are tourism, farming and fishing. There are five villages, West Quarter, Fawnmore, Middle Quarter, Cloonamore and Knock. This loop takes you on a trek around the western section of the island. For the adventurous the island is suitable for swimming, snorkeling, diving, shore angling and hiking/hillwalking. Inishbofin has become an important centre for traditional Irish music and song and plays host to many visiting musicians and artists. The first documented history of the island dates from early Christian times. As you sail into the harbour you will notice Cromwell’s 16th Century Barracks which was used as a prison for catholic priests from all over the country after the English Statute of 1585 declared them guilty of high treason!
A-B. The loop starts from the pier in Bofin Harbour. Leaving the pier turn left and after 200m turn right at the first road junction. Ascend to reach a 4-way junction. Turn left here and join what is locally referred to as the ‘middle road’.

B-C. Follow the road for 600m to reach a 3-way junction – you veer right here, joining a gravel track which takes you to a gateway. Cross the metal stile.

C-D. Follow the stony roadway for 1km, passing through another gateway and crossing a stony embankment which separates Loch Bofin (on your left) from the Atlantic (on your right). At the end of the embankment you rejoin a surfaced roadway. Turn right here.

D-E. Continue along the roadway for 500m to reach a gateway – cross the stile here and follow the laneway and bog road along the rugged coastline around Westquarter. On your way you pass close to a spectacular sea cave – a short detour to view it is well worthwhile, but do take care. Later you pass a monument erected to the memory of American students who were tragically drowned off the coast in the 1970s. The loop then sweeps southward across open ground before joining a wonderful ‘green road’ below the ruins of a Promontory Fort.

E-A. The trip along the green road provides spectacular views south to Inishark and the Galway mainland and eventually joins the ‘lower’ road along Bofin Harbour and back to the trailhead.

Loughrea Historic Town Walk
Loughrea rises handsomely above the lake it is named after (Baile Locha Riach means ‘town of the grey lake’). It was founded in 1236 by Richard de Burgo, an Anglo-Norman knight who built a castle along an ancient route between the River Shannon and the coast.

One of the most intriguing features of today’s bustling market town is that its moat still functions. Indeed, it is the only medieval town moat still operating in Ireland – and can be seen at its best along a charming 18th-century mall known simply as ‘The Walk’.

Beginning with the moat and the town courthouse, Loughrea’s heritage trail goes on to stop at St. Mary’s Abbey, which contains the remains of a 14th-century Carmelite church and priory (and is believed to contain the grave of St. Ruth).

Another heritage highlight is St. Brendan’s Cathedral, designed by William Byrne and the foundation stone for which was laid in 1897. Inside, you’ll find two stained glass windows by Michael Healy, depicting the Ascension and the Last Judgement. Both are masterworks of the Irish Arts and Crafts style.

St. Brendan’s is also home to the Clonfert Diocesan Museum, whose varied treasures include the oldest wooden statue in Ireland (the Kilcorban Madonna, dating from around 1180 AD) and some embroidered banners designed by Jack B. Yeats.

Elsewhere on the trail, don’t miss Loughrea’s town gate (dating from the 15th-century and the only remaining gate through which you can enter the town), the original town hall (dating from 1860), the characterful mix of 18th and 20th-century buildings on Main Street and the small row of traditional townhouses along Victoria Terrace.

All told, this town is a sweet introduction to East Galway and from here you can go on to explore Coole Park, the Slieve Aughty Mountains, Athenry and Galway City.

The Connemara Way
The Gaeltacht consists of a number of regions in Ireland where Irish is the predominant language. Bealach na Gaeltachta (Sli Chonamara) is a long distance walk which serves the Connemara Gaeltacht. One can overnight in Irish speaking households along the route and immerse oneself in the culture, landscapes and imagination of one of the oldest and most beautiful languages of the world.

The walk extends from Galway city along the shores of Galway Bay through An Spideal (Spiddal), An Cheathru Rua (Carraroe), Ros Muc and Carna, then northwards to Letterfrack and Glen Craff to join up with the Western Way. The Way stretches over the spectacular landscapes of Connemara, through hill and bogland to the north, and along the coast to the south.