Traverse the spectrum of the Irish landscape with this 8-day walking excursion. You'll go from the lunar rocks of the Burren to the coastal routes of Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher out to the remote wildlife of the Aran Islands. Whether you're taking in medieval fortresses, waving grasses, or cozy villages, you're sure to find your perfect site to stop and sit a while.

Highlights

  • Walk along the Cliffs of Moher via a less-visited route
  • Explore the craggy, lunary landscape of the Burren
  • Experience the wild Aran Islands and Dun Aonghasa fort
  • Stroll through the streets of Galway, a vibrant Gaeltacht city

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Doolin Doolin
Day 2 Green Road Walk Doolin
Day 3 Cliffs of Moher & Ferry to Inis Mór Inis Mór
Day 4 Inis Mór & Dun Aonghasa fort Inis Mór
Day 5 Ferry to Connemara & Maumeen Pass Hike Lough Inagh Valley
Day 6 Lough Inagh to Leenane Leenane, Aasleagh
Day 7 Leenane to Galway Galway
Day 8 Depart Galway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Doolin

Doolin at sunset
Doolin at sunset

Welcome to Ireland! Your journey begins in the small down of Doolin, the gateway to the Aran islands, Cliffs of Moher, and more. It's also known as a center of Irish traditional music. So once you've settled in and picked up your information packet from your host, let them point you to the best pub music in town for an evening of local trad music.

Day 2: Green Road Walk

Rock formations along the Burren Way
Rock formations along the Burren Way

Catch a ride after breakfast to the start of the Green Road near Fanore Beach. Your trail will take you into the heart of the Black Head Mountain as you tread its limestone pavement surrounded by stone walls. Take in the views out to Galway Bay and the Aran Islands as you continue over Gleninagh Mountain. Named for the Irish word boireann for "rocky place," the Burren National Park area covers more than 5 square miles of limestone, hazel scrub, woodland, turloughs, springs, and cliffs.

Meet up with the Burren Way as you descend into Caher Valley, then climb out to pass Slieve Elva as you make your way to your endpoint at Craggagh. You'll be transferred back to Doolin once you've finished to spend another night on its tuneful streets.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 11 miles (18 km)

Day 3: Cliffs of Moher & Ferry to Inis Mór

Cliffs in bloom
Cliffs in bloom

Walk from Doolin along the cliffside to the Visitor Centre at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland's most visited natural attraction. The views from these storied cliffs draw millions of visitors per year, and you'll spend the morning exploring the rocky expanse. 

While you're out exploring, your luggage will be collected to meet you at the ferry terminal. Ferry over to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, and then transfer to your lodging for the evening. The Aran Islands are home to a wide expanse of natural landscape, deserted villages, and monastic sites, along with living residents like wintering birds and passing whales.

Day 4: Inis Mór & Dun Aonghasa fort

Aerial view of the fort
Aerial view of the fort

Spend your day clambering over the island of Inis Mór along small paths and walking roads. Discover prehistoric churches atop towering cliffs, including the famous stone fort of Dun Aonghasa, perched on the highest cliff on the island. The fort was once described as "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe," and its stone medieval defense measures known as chevaux-de-frise are still visible. Keep an ear out for Irish Gaelic being spoken in the streets as you return to your lodging in the evening.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 11 miles (17 km)

Day 5: Ferry to Connemara & Maumeen Pass Hike

On the lakeshore
On the lakeshore

Take the morning ferry back to the mainland after breakfast, where you'll land at Rossaveel and meet your transfer to the start of your walking trail. You'll begin at Teernakill Bridge near the village of Maam to set out on the Western Way over the Maumeen Pass (Mám Éan). The Pass is home to an ancient shrine to Saint Patrick, stations, and holy well still visited by pilgrims.

You'll then descend down to quiet country roads to bring you to your lodging for the evening, where your luggage will be waiting for you.

Hiking time: 4 hours
Hiking distance:  9 miles (14 km)

Day 6: Lough Inagh to Leenane

Follow the stones
Follow the stones

Start off this morning in Lough Inagh and follow the Western Way along the foot of the Maamturk Mountains. You'll go through Letterbreckaun to Tullyconor, then down to the shores of Killary Harbour. The trail will take you to the small seaside village of Leenane, known for its scenic position sitting between the sea and mountains.

Hiking time: 5 hours
Hiking distance: 10 miles (16 km)

Day 7: Leenane to Galway

Galway by evening
Galway by evening

Take a more relaxed form of transit today as you catch a taxi to Maam Cross to join the main Galway-Clifden bus route. The bus will take you back to Galway, where you'll spend the last night of your trip in this charming city.

Sitting at the mouth of the River Corrib, Galway is known for its arty scene, food, and festivals, along with the bustling pubs you've come to expect. Spend some time amid the medieval town walls at central Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch then sit down for a dinner of the some of the city's standout seafood.

Day 8: Depart Galway

Sneak in your last-minute souvenirs
Sneak in your last-minute souvenirs

Linger over one last Irish breakfast before you depart to return home or head to the next spot on your Ireland adventure.

Map

Map of Burren, Aran Islands & Connemara Walk - 8 Days
Map of Burren, Aran Islands & Connemara Walk - 8 Days