There’s nothing quite like being out in the great wide open, and to say Galway is a walker’s paradise is a bit of an understatement! With spectacular mountain ranges, fine beaches and stunning scenery around every corner, Galway is a natural centre for walking and hiking. And with such a variety in landscape, hundreds flock to Galway each year on walking holidays. What else could you ask for – clean fresh air and plenty of exercise? Read on for more
Here are some of the best-known walking routes in Galway:
Suck Valley Way…
This is a 10km walk that will take you through boglands, lowland farms, and the “9 friendly villages”. It’s a marked walkway, just look out for black posts with yellow direction arrows.
Find out more about the Suck Valley Way.
This 50km route starts at Oughterard and finishes at Leenane. On route you’ll also take in Maam, Maumeen, Inagh and Toorenacoona, as well as the Maum Turks, the Twelve Bens, and the banks of Lough Corrib.
Find out more about the Western Way.
Connemara National Park…
Spanning nearly 3,000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths and woodlands, Connemara National Park is a fantastic spot for walking and hiking There are actually 3 walks to do within the park. The pathways are well marked out and signposted and the walks are planned to suit everyone, from the novice to the well-seasoned walker. You also have the added comfort of having Park Rangers on hand, just in case you get into any difficulties.
Find out more about Connemara National Park.
If nothing else, this walk will awaken your curiosity – to see if you could find the burial site of Queen Maeve of Connaught. The famous Queen is supposed to be buried on top of Knockma Hill. This walk starts at Castlehackett and is approximately 4km long.
Find out more about Knockma Hill.
Mount Bellew Woodland…
The trail at Mount Bellew Woodland, a 5km walk, isn’t too hard on the legs either! Look out for Sika deer, a museum that used to be a forge, and magnificent oaks, sitkas and Norway spruces. The River Shevin flows through the area and an artificial lake adds to the beauty of the woodlands.
With three mountain ranges to choose from in County Galway, it’s finding enough time to take in all three that’s the problem. However, not being the prophet of doom here, mountain climbing does carry risks. It can be quite dangerous so bear the following in mind before setting off:
Consider your fitness, experience, and abilities – don’t push yourself!
Check the weather forecast and more importantly how this relates to the mountains.
Dress appropriately and wear proper climbing boots.
Ensure you’ve learned how to navigate.
Take what you need for the journey without ending up like a camel.
If you’re not sure about the way ahead, do not proceed, turn back, and leave it for another day.
Most of all – be careful!
Here are some of the best spots for mountaineering in Galway:
The Twelve Bens…
This mountain range is located in Connemara, near Roundstone Village. Geologists amongst you will be keen to know that the mountains are made up of gneiss, sandstone, mudstone, gabbro, mica schist and marble, and the soil type is peat. Experienced mountain climbers can climb all 12 peaks in one day! Ben Baun, the highest peak in the range is 730 metres.
At the foot of the mountains lies Lough Inagh, with the Maum Turks on the other side of the Lough. Breathtaking scenery is definitely the highlight, but you might also look out for hares, otters, freshwater pearl mussel and common frogs (all protected species). This area is unique in the fact that it contains rare plant and animal species.
This mountain range is also located in Connemara. The highest peak of the Maum Turks is 703 metres. The mountains run from Maam Cross to Leenane. The Maum Turk mountain walk begins in the car park of the Holy Shrine of Máméan. It’s a circular route and not for the faint hearted. The walk goes through the centre of the Maum Turks and you’ll have a number of challenging peaks to climb. Be aware of steep sides and cliff ravines.
Slieve Aughty Mountains…
Part of this mountain range is in County Clare and part is in Galway. The mountain range consists of two ridges, which are divided by the Owendallaigh River. Clare can lay claim to having the highest peak, Maghera.
Casileandrumleathan is the highest point on the north ridge and west of this summit is the largest wind farm in Ireland, consisting of 71 Vestas V52 wind turbines.
The Slieve Aughty Mountains are made up of Old Red Sandstone and Lower Palaeozoic rocks. The area is a mix of unplanted blanket bog, developed blanket bog and coniferous forest. It’s also a Special Protection Area for bird life.
So if you’re heading to Galway on a walking holiday and need somewhere to stay, check out our selection of approved Galway hotels.
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