Walking Holidays in Ireland - Ireland - Western Way

Holiday Highlights
  • Discover wild shoreline and stunning mountains, described by Oscar Wilde as “Savage Beauty”
  • Take a cruise on the beautiful fjords or relax in a unique seaweed bath
  • Conquer Croagh Patrick (Reek as it’s known locally) – Ireland’s holy mountain
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Self Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Self Guided walking holidays          

  • Overview
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  • Map
  • Accommodation
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This majestic landscape with its wild shoreline and stunning mountains has what Oscar Wilde described as “savage beauty”. Walking the coastal regions of Mayo and Connemara reveals secret beaches, ruins, holy wells and ancient paths among alpine plants, mountain avens and maiden ferns.

The area experienced significant depopulation during and after the Great Famine, and you can almost sense this flight from the land as you walk through the rugged mountains and moorlands. You walk past abandoned crofts and villages to finish at Westport. From the peaks you can enjoy spectacular views of the many islands of the West Coast. Leenane, the setting for the classic film ‘The Field’, is the beautiful village where you will stay. 

For the majority of the walk you follow the Western Way, one of Ireland’s long-distance paths. The walking is mainly on good paths through verdant landscapes, beside bubbling streams and across holy passes. Some walking is along country roads and bog roads, open moorland, forestry tracks and mountain paths. There are no days with great ascents, except for Croagh Patrick, which is optional.

Day 1:
Arrive in Galway, either by bus from Dublin or from Ireland West (Knock) Airport. Catch a bus to Recess (included) where you’re met and taken to your first hotel. Overnight and dinner at Lough Inagh.

Day 2: A short transfer to Maam Bridge to walk along the Western Way. You cross the rugged Maumturk Mountains by a pass, at the top of which is Maum Ean, a holy site that has attracted pilgrims since early Christian times. Descending into the beautiful Inagh Valley, you pass between the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks, and through a deserted landscape that was inhabited before the Great Famine. Overnight and dinner at Lough Inagh.

Ascent 362m, Descent 342m, Distance 10½ miles, Time 5 hours

Day 3: Continue on the Western Way along the Inagh Valley on an old coach road, unused for 200 years. As you leave the valley, glimpse your first sight of the largest of Ireland’s three fjords, the Killary Fjord, backed by the majestic Ben Gorm. Overnight and dinner at Leenane.

Ascent 180m, Descent 205m, Distance 10 miles, Time 5 hours

Day 4: Today you have a choice. You can rest and enjoy this village set in a most beautiful bay; you can take a cruise on the fjord or relax in a seaweed bath; or you can walk to the head of the fjord on the ‘Green Road’. This road was built as part of the famine-relief programme during the 19th century. A short transfer (not included) to avoid walking on a main road is recommended for this walk. Overnight and dinner at Leenane.

Ascent 237m, Descent 237m, Distance 9½ miles, Time 5 hours

Day 5: A short transfer to the Aasleagh Falls, where you start a riverside walk along the Erriff, across moorland, until you reach the stunning Lough Tawnyard, with a backdrop of Ben Gorm. Cross a spur, which has wonderful views along the Erriff Valley, and descend into fertile fields in contrast to the walk so far.  At the end of this walk, you are transferred to Westport. Overnight at Westport, dinner not included.*

Ascent 228m, Descent 183m, Distance 10½ miles, Time 5 hours

Day 6: Walk along meandering paths and country roads as you skirt the imposing Croagh Patrick (more of this tomorrow). Descending from moorland see how peat bogs fuelled the tiny windowless crofts for centuries then walk through arable land back to your hotel. Overnight at Westport, dinner not included.*

Ascent 359m, Descent 384m, Distance 15 ¼ miles, Time 6½ hours

Day 7: No trip to County Mayo would be complete without climbing Croagh Patrick (or the Reek as it’s known locally) – Ireland’s holy mountain. You will be taken to the mountain’s main path. St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, climbed to the summit in 441AD and spent 40 days fasting and praying. Apparently, he bargained with God to allow him to rid Ireland of its dragons and snakes. Overnight at Westport, dinner not included.*

Various routes: Typical Distance 8 ¾ miles, Ascent 890m, Descent 890m, Time 6½ hours

Day 8: You are either driven to Westport (if staying in a B&B), or you walk to the bus or train station, for your onward journey to Ireland West Airport or Dublin.

* If in the standard-grade accommodation, for dinner, your host will take you to a traditional Irish pub 3 minutes away for food. Or he will take you into Westport with a wide choice of restaurants. You may like to stay on to enjoy some traditional music and take a taxi back. If in the higher-grade accommodation, you can choose from the wide choice of restaurants in Westport.

Baggage transfer

Your baggage is transported for you from hotel to hotel so you can travel with day rucksacks only.
Walk Grading
Self-guided – Easy, with Moderate climb of Croagh Patrick and one long day. Total for standard week ignoring variations:- Ascent 2204m, Descent 2251m, 61 miles.

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Western Way

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Breakfast and picnic lunch is provided daily, except no picnic on arrival, departure and rest day.  Dinner is provided for 4 nights

We offer two grades of hotels here, standard of higher graded, it is not possible to mix them.

The standard graded hotels are small family B&B’s.  All rooms have private bathroom, mostly with showers. On the first four nights dinner is included and taken in a nearby restaurant. On the last three nights you can either walk to a nearby pub/restaurant or be taken into Westport for a wide choice of restaurants. Return will be at your own convenience by taxi not included.

The higher graded hotels are a mixture of 3* and 4*  hotels. Dinner on the first four nights is taken in the hotels, for the remaining three nights you are free to choose from the vast selection in Westport.


Availability Information

This trek is available from mid April to the middle of October.  You can start on any day.  The temperature has an average high in June to August between 18 - 20C rising steadily from an average in March of 10C and then declining to 10C again in November. April and July are the driest months. August to October has twice as much rainfall as these months.

The best time to go is May to July as it is drier and spring flowers are at their best.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit. When to book your walking holiday in Ireland - Ireland - Western Way

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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