Wild Atlantic Way (North) 8-Day Guided Walk

Wild Atlantic Way (North) 8-Day Guided Walk

from 1,595.00

We invite you on a journey of discovery along the Wild Atlantic Way North – to learn the history of the Claddagh Ring in Galway and follow an ancient pilgrim trail in Glencolmcille.   To hike to the highest sea-cliffs in Ireland at Slieve League and savour the poetry of WB Yeats in Sligo. To walk in the footsteps of St Patrick at Croagh Patrick and watch for visiting whales and dolphins near Killary Harbour.

And finally we offer you our special “gem” – a hike on Diamond Hill for views of the offshore islands and the turreted Kylemore Abbey set in the dramatic National Park of Connemara where the original ponies from this region graze peacefully in the shadows of the Twelve Bens mountain range.

Provider: Maurice Whelan

Location (see map below): Co. Galway & Co. Donegal, Ireland.

Duration: 5 – 8 Days

Availability: All year round.

Requirements: (See Below).

Restrictions: (See Below).

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What your trip includes:

·      7 nights bed in room with private shower/ bathroom.  Full Irish breakfast  each morning.

·      Picnic lunch (on hike days only)

·      7 Evening Dinners

·      6 days walking with expert Irish Guide who accompanies the group for the duration of the holiday

·      Transport to/from each days walking locations and luggage transfers when required. 

Day-To-Day Overview:

Day 1

Meet in Galway’s “Hotel Meyrick” on Eyre Square at 12 noon. From here, we leave the city of Galway behind us and drive north to Ardara in NW Donegal stopping along the way to have some time in Donegal town – famous for the “Four Masters” and the Annals they wrote giving us tremendous history and knowledge of this region in early Christian times. A welcome dinner and “Briefing Session” awaits us in our hotel in Ardara.

Day 2

Our first hike takes us to Glencolumbcille – made famous by St. Columba who founded a monastery in these parts before fleeing to Iona Island off Scotland. We hike around the glorious Pilgrim Trail here with spectacular sea views, before venturing across country to the hidden village of Port and back again to finish in Glencolumbcille. At the end of our walk we return to our hotel in Ardara for dinner and overnight.

Walk Details: Distance – 12kms (7.5 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 280mts (919ft)

Aprx elevation gain – 380mts (1247ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 4½ hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, rough tracks, grassy sheep trails and open mountain with rocky and marshy sections and NO tracks. Boots essential.

Day 3

Today we undertake a spectacular hike to visit the highest sea cliffs in Ireland at Slieve League. Starting from the village of Teelin we follow an old “bog” track into the heart of the mountain. These tracks were used until recently to allow “locals” to cut turf in the mountains, enabling them to keep their home fires burning & ensuring a way of cooking. We then visit an old oratory that dates back to the 6th century before continuing to the cliff top. There – the brave can attempt the amazing One Mans Pass before we descend along the cliff edge to the viewing area. After a well earned drink we return to Ardara for dinner and our overnight.

Walk Details: Distance – 14kms (9 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 595mts (1952ft) | Aprx elevation gain – 650mts (2133ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 5½ hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, rough tracks, grassy sheep trails and open mountain with rocky and marshy sections and NO tracks. Severe cliff edge in places & some large boulders to climb over. Boots essential.

Day 4

Moving south, we drive from Ardara back to Donegal town and south to Sligo.

Here – we immerse ourselves into “Yeat’s” country – the land that inspired more than one of our literary greats – and its easy to see why.

Walking through this region of Ireland resembles a Swiss valley – transformed by glacial erosion.

In the evening we treat ourselves to a dinner in an Irish home with Yeats recitals as we eat.

Walk Details: Distance – 12kms (7.5 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 438mts (1437ft)

Aprx elevation gain – 550mts (1804ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 5 hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, rough tracks, grassy sheep trails and open mountain with rocky and marshy sections and NO tracks.

Some exposed cliff edges. Boots essential.

Day 5

Driving south again, and leaving “Yeats country” behind us, we move on to St. Patrick’s country. The spectacular Croagh Patrick can be seen from miles around and we drive to this holy and inspiring mountain known locally as “The Reek” for a beautiful hike. Overlooking Clew Bay – the view from on high is amazing as you gaze down on the promised “one island for every day of the year” and learn about St. Patrick’s experiences on this mountainside. From here we continue driving south to the village of Leenane for our overnight.

Walk Details: Distance – 10kms (6 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 456mts (1496ft)*

Aprx elevation gain – 475mts (1558ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 5 hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, forest tracks, rough tracks, and loose stone mountainside. Boots essential. * (There is a possibility to go to the top of Croagh Patrick mountain for those who wish to do this – in which case the Highest Point is 764mts (2507ft). The details here are applicable to a hike which goes around the base of the mountain).

Day 6

The West of Ireland has one fjord in all of its hidden coves and inlets – and this is the famous Killary Harbour – once a hiding place for the British Naval fleet.

This spectacular place is like an oasis in the dessert – and evidence of earlier “mankind” is all around us – the reality of which brings home just what we can be driven to in order to ensure we have food on our tables. Our hike today takes us along an incredible “Famine” road on the shores of this spectacular fjord with glorious views across the Atlantic to the west and inland over the spectacular Connemara landscape. If time allows – we will visit a sheep and wool centre where we can learn all about wool, sheep farming, yarn, knitting & weaving.

Walk Details: Distance – 12kms (7.5 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 223mts (731ft)

Aprx elevation gain – 265mts (869ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 4½ hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, grass tracks, rough and stony tracks. Boots essential.

Day 7

Our final hike is in Connemara’s National Park as we capture the jewel in the crown & hike up Diamond Hill. This 3,000 hectare parkland captures some of Connemara’s most dramatic scenery and the Visitor Centre explains so much about the formation of this wild land. A hike up Diamond Hill gives us a real taste of this incredible landscape with wonderful views all around (weather permitting!) If time allows after our hike – we will visit some of the well known places in this region – such as Kylemore Abbey.

Walk Details: Distance – 7kms (4.5 miles) | Highest Point on walk – 400mts (1312ft)

Aprx elevation gain – 465mts (1525ft) | Aprx Duration of walk – 3 hours

Description of terrain: Small roads, gravel tracks & paved mountain paths. Boots essential.

Day 8

Departure after breakfast takes us south back to Galway city where we end our journey together and bid you farewell. Arrival into Galway city around 10am will give you plenty of time to avail of the excellent bus or rail service for your onward journey – or why not stay on and enjoy this vibrant city.