THE HYMANY WAY

HYMANY WAY

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The Hymany Way is a 90km waymarked long distance hiking trail in East Galway, which starts in the town of Portumna and ends in the village of Ballygar. Along with walking alongside Irelands longest river, the Shannon, for part of the trail, the route also features many historic sites and fascinating monuments which highlight Ireland’s tumultuous past. The Hymany Way is traditionally walked from South to North and is often completed in 4 days.

The trail forms part of the greater Beara Breifne Way, Ireland’s longest national waymarked trail, which spans from Dursey on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork to Blacklion in County Cavan. This walking trail follows the epic 14-day march of Dónal Cam O’Sullivan Beare. Following the siege of his castle at Dunboy, O’Sullivan Beare, accompanied by 1,000 others (soldiers, men, women and children), fled from the Beara Peninsula to escape the forces of Queen Elizabeth I in January 1603. However by the time they got to the safe haven of O’Rourke’s Castle in County Leitrim, only 35 people remained. Of particular significance to their depleted numbers were the attacks from other clans along the route while also battling against starvation and the freezing cold weather conditions as they crossed the Shannon.

Starting in Portumna, the Hymany Way trail follows the banks of the River Shannon before turning inland near Eyrecourt, to reach the village of Clonfert. Situated in the townland you will find the beautiful Clonfert Cathedral, a 12th century Church of Ireland church which features many stunningly detailed Hiberno-Romanesque designs. From here, the trail then crosses through bogland and quiet country roads before your final approach to Aughrim, where the Battle of Aughrim, a decisive battle in 1691 between the Irish Jacobite army (loyal to James II) and the forces of William III of the Williamite War took place. It also marks the bloodiest ever battles to have taken place on Irish soil with an estimate of over 7,000 soldiers being killed. Be sure to pay a visit to the award winning Aughrim Interpretative Centre where you can learn more about this pivotal battle.

From Aughrim, the Hymany Way then heads North and passes the Esker Riada with its exposed face a series of ridges stretching from Dublin to Galway. These geological features were created at the end of the last ice-age when silt, sand and gravel were deposited by rivers of glacial melt i.e. streams of water under the ice. The mound / elevated part of the esker would have been used by travellers in the past to travel from East to West through the midland bogs of Ireland. Before arriving to Ballygar village, the end of the Hymany Way, you will pass the moated site of Cloonigny Castle, which is now sadly in ruins but which was once occupied by “Shane De Moy’’ (O Kelly) in 1574, remains of an old ringfort which contained a souterrain, and Killure Bog, which was declared a Natural Heritage Area in 2003 due to the ecological importance of its plants and animals there.

The Hymany Way takes you through some of the most beautiful and least explored local areas of Galway, with beautiful watercourses, including the biodiversity of the Shannon River, natural boglands, picturesque forest paths and quiet country roads. With the Shannon Callows being famous for their birdlife, in particular the Skylark, Corncrake, Meadow Pipit, Reed Buntings, and Sedge Warblers, the Hymany Way is a great choice of trail for birdwatchers. Furthermore, adding to the enjoyment of this fantastic long distance walk are the historic sites such as Blackloon Castle, Clonfert Cathedral, Meelick Abbey and St. Ruth’s Bush, the site of the Battle of Aughrim in 1691, and much more.

Ample accommodation options can be found at the start of the trail in Portumna. Further along the trail, accommodation options can become scarce with many walkers choosing to use accommodation in the the town Ballinasloe, which is located just a few miles off the mid-section of the trail. As the route predominantly follows watercourses, the trail is relatively flat with no major ascents or descents to tackle making it a fantastic hiking trail for beginners or those look for more easy going hiking.

Length:

90 KM / 56 Miles

Waymarking:

Yes

Grade:

Easy to Moderate

Trail:

Linear / Point to Point

Ascent:

97m / 318ft

Time:

3-4 Days

Dogs Allowed:

No

Maps:

OSI Discovery Series - 40, 47, 53

TRAIL MAP

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SAFETY NOTICE

We strongly recommend that you; stay on the trail at all times during your hike, take care when walking on roads and near cliffs (stay clear of the edge), inform others of your intention to hike, check weather forecast in advance, wear appropriate clothing,  and bring a mobile / cell phone with you. If you find yourself requiring emergency services, the numbers to call are 112 or 999. These numbers can be reached on your mobile phone even without phone/cell coverage.

Visit Galway aims to simply provide basic & supplementary information about walking trails throughout Galway and as such the accuracy of the information should not always be relied on. Visit Galway are not responsible for the misuse or misrepresentation of the information and/or data provided, and any reliance you place on such information and/or data is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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