Connemara Wild at Heart

Four Seasons Walking Festival

Make a date this year to explore the Connemara landscape with not just great walking but great guides, providing a fantastic insight into the unique cultural/archeological/historic heritage of the area running on selected dates over the four seasons of the year.

Summer Festival – Friday June 1 to Sunday June 3

The event kicks off on Friday evening with an introductory talk hosted by Michael Gibbons, where the rich history and secrets of the Connemara Islands and Highlands with be shared. The talk will take place in the Station House Theatre, Clifden Station House at 8pm.

Saturday June 2

Walking in the footsteps of Patrick

This is a beautiful mountain hike along an ancient pilgrimage trail and rough mountain in the heart of the Maamturk Mountains. The hike visits St Patrick’s holy well and shrine at the junction of Connemara and Joyce country. In addition to visiting the well, you will see the remains of an ancient 4,000-year-old forest, a hidden glen, and a children’s burial ground. From the top of the pass, you will look down into the Maam valley and Lough Corrib beyond, and looking west over the Inagh valley and the beautiful Twelve Bens Mountain range. Walking boots are essential.

The duration of the walk is three to three and a half hours. The walk is moderate to steep in places. Bring boots (good ankle support ), wetgear, water, energy snacks, and a camera (optional ). The walk will depart from the public car park at Maunmean at 10.30am.

Sunday June 3

Errisbeg and Dog’s Day

Errisbeg is a beautiful peat covered mountain of igneous rock wedged between the wild lake lands of Roundstone Bog and the Atlantic Ocean. The walking is on rough ground but we are rewarded with three peaks to climb and huge views. To the northwest lies High Island, with Slyne Head lighthouse to the far west. The Twelve Bens Mountains dominate the views to the north, and to the south lie an assortment of islands, including the famous pilgrimage island of St Macdara. Further south still, on a clear day the great holy mountain of Mount Brandon pokes its head above the Ocean swells. This hike is along a rough mountain track and on open bog land, and for this walk, boots are essential. The summit is made up of a series of small peaks, interspersed with boggy hollows. This is a moderately difficult hike.

Edging Errisbeg are the beautiful beaches of Dog’s Bay and Gurteen, where an ancient village was uncovered from the sands before being covered over again in a mighty storm. The Dogs Bay is a shorter hike, about two and a half hours along two beautiful beaches with a spectacular coastal promontory. This is a relatively easy hike and there would be time for a swim for those so inclined. This hike is suitable for anyone who can walk; good ankle support however is recommended.

Meeting point for the walk is the Gurteen Carpark at 10.30am. It will take four hours and is a moderate hike (two options available high or low route ).

Bring boots (good ankle support ), wet gear, water, energy snacks, and a camera (optional ).

Accommodation

Packages start from €199pps for two nights, and €299pps for three nights, inclusive of breakfast, dinner, packed lunches, and guided walks.

To book call any of the five participating hotels: Abbey Glen Castle Hotel (095 21201 ); Clifden Station House (095 21699 ); Ballynahinch Castle (095 31006 ); Lough Inagh Lodge (095 34706 ); Cashel House Hotel (095 31001 ).

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