THE WESTERN WAY
The Western Way is a long distance hiking trail which can be found in the Connemara region of Galway in the West of Ireland. The entire route takes in the spectacular and diverse scenery of both county Galway and Mayo, however this page just focuses on the 55km section of the trail which traverses through Galway. A linear walk, the Western Way trail provides an excellent introduction for walkers to the beautiful and scenic wildernesses of Connemara.
Starting in Oughterard, a famous Angling town near the shores of Lough Corrib, the path follows the western edge of the second largest lake in Ireland, and heads northwards into a magnificent wilderness of mountain and bog before reaching civilisation again at the village of Maam. It was here at the Maam Valley that the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo planned the modern roads of Connemara in the early 19th century.
From Maam the trail then traverses the rugged and beautiful Maumturk Mountains through a mountain pass, of which the sacred and religious site of Mám Éan (Maumeen), a holy place that has attracted pilgrims since the early Christian period can be found. After exploring the religious site, you then start to descend again into the beautiful Inagh Valley where the route takes you between the spectaculr Twelve Bens and the Maumturks mountain ranges. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the stunning scenery and landscape at Lough Inagh.
From the Inagh Valley you will then start to make your way towards the picturesque village of Leenane, and towards the shores of the stunning Killary Fjord, one of only three Fjords in Ireland. Sections of the trail are also sadly remembered as being a path of great hardship and cruelty for people during the Famine era in Ireland. Upon arriving into Leenane, be sure to grab yourself a well deserved drink on completion of the Galway section of the Western Way trail and enjoy learning about the locations used for the popular feature film, The Field, which was filmed there many years ago.
Note: Accommodation is limited along the trail, so careful planning is necessary. The terrain consists of quiet roads, bog roads, open moorland, forestry tracks, mountain paths and about 3km of timber bog bridge: some parts of the route can be very wet and boggy, particularly after a rainy period, when there is a fast run-off from the Connemara mountains.
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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.