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Joyce Country Challenge 2023

If you are looking for a way to explore one of Ireland’s hidden gems, you might want to consider joining the Joyce Country Challenge, an annual event that offers four different walks for different levels of experience and fitness. The Joyce Country Challenge will be held on Saturday 15th July 2023, and it will take you on a circuit of Lough Nafooey, a scenic lake surrounded by mountains and hills in the heart of Connemara.

The Joyce Country Challenge is organized by the Lake District Hillwalking Club, a group of outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, climbing and camping in the beautiful landscapes of Ireland and beyond. The club has been running the event since 2009, and it has attracted walkers from all over the country and abroad. The event is also a fundraiser for local charities and causes, such as the Finny Community Centre, the Galway Hospice Foundation and the Irish Mountain Rescue Association.

The event offers four routes to choose from, depending on your preference and ability:

The Challenge (A walk): This is the most demanding route, suitable for experienced, fit and self-sufficient walkers who can navigate by themselves. It covers 30 km and 1,750 m of ascent, and it takes about 8 to 10 hours to complete. It starts at Finny, a small village on the shore of Lough Nafooey, and climbs up to Maumtrasna, a broad plateau with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It then follows the ridge to the Devil’s Mother, a prominent peak that overlooks Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. After descending to Ail Dubh, where refreshments are provided, it continues to Bunacunneen and Ben Beg, two more summits that offer panoramic vistas of Lough Nafooey and Lough Mask. It then returns to Finny via the southern ridge of Ben Beg.

The B Walk: This is a lead walk, meaning that it is guided by an experienced leader who sets the pace and direction. It covers 20 km and 750 m of ascent, and it takes about 7 hours to complete. It also starts at Finny, but instead of climbing Maumtrasna, it goes directly to Ben Beg and Bunacunneen, following the same route as the Challenge walk from there. It also stops at Ail Dubh for refreshments.

The C Walk: This is an introduction to hillwalking, ideal for beginners or those who want a shorter and easier walk. It covers about 10 km and 372 m of ascent, and it takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. It starts at Finny as well, but instead of heading towards the mountains, it goes up the hill behind Finny Hall, which offers nice views of Lough Nafooey and Lough Mask. It then goes down to Kilbride, a small hamlet on the other side of the lake.

The D Walk: This is a family walk, suitable for children and anyone who prefers a low-level walk. It covers 5 km on road, and it takes about an hour to complete. It starts at Finny as well, but it circles around Lough Nafooey on the road, enjoying the scenery and wildlife along the way.

All walks finish at Finny Hall, where participants can enjoy a hot meal, a shower and some entertainment. There is also a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses and sponsors.

The registration fee for the event is €25 for adults and €10 for children under 16. You can register on the day at Finny Hall from 6:30 am onwards, or you can pre-register online by filling out a form and paying via PayPal. You can find more information about the event on the Lake District Hillwalking Club website.

The Joyce Country Challenge is a great opportunity to discover a beautiful part of Ireland that is often overlooked by walkers. It is also a chance to challenge yourself, meet new people and support worthy causes. If you are interested in joining this event, don’t hesitate to sign up and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

The event is finished.


15 Jul 2023


All Day



More Info

More Information


Finny Community Centre
Finny, Co. Mayo


Lake District Hillwalking Club
+353 (0) 87 217 7869