The latest Four Seasons Walking Festival takes place from Friday October 21 to Sunday October 23.
The festival represents a chance to explore the Connemara landscape with guides providing an insight into the unique cultural/archeological/historic heritage of the area.
The event kicks off on the Friday evening in the Station House Theatre in Clifden at 8pm with an introductory talk hosted by Michael Gibbons, where the rich history and secrets of the Connemara islands and highlands with be shared.
On Saturday October 22, the first walk will explore Inishbofin. Famed for its magnificent scenery, relaxed lifestyle and traditional music, the island has a population of 200, is five miles long by two miles wide with a superb natural harbour, and is only 30 minutes voyage by sea. On the trip walkers will see the best preserved 17th century fort and ancient harbour on Ireland's west coast, and will walk through a bronze-age landscape, complete with 4,000-year-old houses, cooking sites, and ancient walls emerging from the bog. This five hour trek is described as easy to moderate, walking along small roads, open bog, and mountain. Walkers are asked to meet at Cleggan Pier at 11.10am and the ferry will depart at 11.30am.
On Sunday, a walk will take place around Diamond Hill in the Connemara National Park. The hill is one of the finest hikes in the country, with a multitude of route options. It enjoys huge ocean, island, and mountain views. To the west lie the islands of Inishbofin and Shark, and to the north walkers can witness Inishturk, Clare Island, and Achill. The walk starts from the archway at the visitor centre in the Connemara National Park and participants can choose between a moderate hike of three hours and a harder option of five to six hours. Both days require boots with good ankle support, wet gear, water, and energy snacks.
Packages start from €199pps for two nights, and €299pps for three nights, inclusive of breakfast, dinner, packed lunches, and guided walks. Bookings can be made by contacting any of the five participating hotels, the Abbey Glen Castle Hotel on 095 21201, Clifden Station House on 095 21699, Ballynahinch Castle on 095 31006, Lough Inagh Lodge on 095 34706, or the Cashel House Hotel on 095 31001.