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walking-groups

Máirtín Ó Conghaile Guided Walks in Connemara & the Aran Islands

Experience the unique nature and culture of Connemara and the Aran Islands with an expert walking guide.  Connemara, renowned for its varied landscape of rugged mountains, bogs and scenic coastal villages, has many exciting walking opportunities waiting to be explored by the discerning walker. The unique Karstic (limestone) landscape of the Aran Islands, with its rich monastic history, renders them a virtual open air museum. However much of this experience is missed by visitors unless they undertake a walk in the company of an experienced guide.

A wide variety of walks can be provided: hill walks; local looped walks and themed walks such as seashore/bog walks. Walks can last a few hours or a full day – depending on customer requirements.  Walks can be designed to meet a wide variety of needs. Local transport can be arranged to pick up clients from their accommodation if required. A return trip by boat from Ros an Mhíl harbour and a good walk on any one of the three Aran Islands can be made in a single day.

Máirtín Ó Conghaile lives in south Connemara. He has a special interest in geography and local history and has a professional qualification (FETAC L6), in Marine and Countryside Guiding.

Local Walks in Connemara and the Aran Islands

  • An Cheathrú Rua (Carraroe)

Start/Finish: Geraghty’s Garage in Sruthán. Points of interest: Sruthán pier and the tradition of Galway Sailing Boats (Hookers); Gleann Mór; Barr an Doire graveyard & Medieval Church; The Demene; Caorán Beg; Tismeáin beach; Lake of Two Swans; Páirc an Chathánaigh (GAA Field); Industrial Estate; Carraroe village;

Time: 3.5 hours.

 

  • Carraroe: Cuilleán/Caladh Thaidhg Loop

Start/Finish: Carraroe Hotel. (Óstán Cheathrú Rua). Turn left after leaving Carraroe Hotel and follow the winding road through Cuilleán village. Good view across on your right towards Greatman’s Bay and the Lettermore area. Notice local lake, Loch na Tamhnaigh Móire below on your right. Turn right as you meet the main road through Carraroe village and head towards Caladh Thaidhg harbour. As you turn down towards the harbour road notice the old RIC barracks(scene of a famous land war incident in the 1880s), on your left. Caladh Thaidhg harbour has a long tradition of sailing boats which transported turf to the Aran Islands and Co Clare until the middle of the last century. Retrace your steps back to Carraroe village. Notice the industrial estate on your right and the health Centre on the left.

Time: 1.5 hours.

 

  • Rossaveel

Start/Finish: Rossaveel harbour. Points of interest: Rossaveel harbour; Fish processing plant; water tower (Baile an tSléibhe); Martello Tower; Fortail harbour; Old Coastguard Station.

Time: 3 hours.

 

  • Garumna Loop

Start/Finish: Trawbaun crossroad. This is a recently opened 9Km loop walk. Follow the marked purple arrows and head towards Druim village. Notice the local lake, Loch Hibirt, on the right which is the source of the local water supply scheme. Turn left at the Pádraig Mháirtín Beag pub and head down through Druim village. Follow the marked purple arrows and take a sharp left through small walled fields. The walk meanders through a series of hard and soft surfaced roads and paths as you head towards the Trawbaun graveyard with its neatly preserved medieval church.  Follow the path along the seashore with Greatman’s Bay on the right. Notice the famous Dóilín Corral beach across the bay. Turn left at the small pier and follow the hard surfaced road through Doirín Darrach village. At the top of this village turn left for about 1 Km back to the start.

Time: 2.50 – 3.00. hours.

 

  • Tír an Fhia Church to an Seanbhaile (The Old Village)

Start: Tír an Fhia Church. Finish: Seanbhaile (Old Village). This beautiful walk has a strong underlying religious theme in that it starts at Tír an Fhia Church and finishes at the ruins of the medieval church at the Old (Deserted) Village in the centre of Garumna. Over the course of the walk we will also see two holy wells, the ruins of the old 19th century church at Tír an Fhia and also the well preserved medieval church and graveyard at Trawbaun. (Trá Bháin).  Other points of interest: Greatman’s Bay and small fishing harbours; fabulous views across Galway Bay to the Aran Islands; local farming methods , a midden and a kelp burning site. Transport back to Tír an Fhia church will be arranged as part of the package.

Time: 3.5 hours.

 

  • Lettermore Hill

Start/Finish: Lettermore Church. The walk begins at Lettermore church, adjacent to Carraig an Logáin Bridge which is the local Wild Atlantic Way point of interest. It will visit the children’s burial ground nearby and includes a short walk up to the top of Lettermore Hill (117metres).  This location offers commanding views over the local countryside in all directions. Other points of interest: Sruthán Buí which was the subject of a song composed by the local poet, Colm De Bhailís; Doirín Glas overlooking Brandy Harbour which conjures up tales of smuggling in the 18th century and the offshore island of Inis Treabhair.

Time: 2.5 hours.

 

  • Bóthar Buí, Inverin

Start/Finish: Knock Church. The themes covered by this walk are ancient and modern energy generation methods (turf cutting & windmills); bogs and environmental preservation (SAC designations) and the remains of remote mountain dwellings.

Time: 2.5 hours.

 

  • An Spidéal (Spiddle Village).

Start/Finish: Spiddal new pier. This walk will explore Spiddal village and its immediate environs.  It starts at the new pier and takes the seaward path towards the village. Points of interest: the story of the new and the old Spiddle piers; the second level school; the old  churchyard; the beautiful 20th century Spiddle church; the craft village; Spiddle estate and the influence of the Killanin family.

Time: 2 hours.

 

  • Muighros Loop (Carna).

Start/Finish: Muighros graveyard. Points of interest: Muighros graveyard and the ruins of the medieval church; the adjacent Protestant graveyard and the story of 19th century proselytising; coastal dwellings along Dumhaigh Ithir village; Mace Head Atmospheric Station; World War Two lookout station with fabulous views on the famous offshore islands of Mac Dara’s Island and Mason Island; traditional and modern housing in Dumhaigh Ithir village.

Time: 2.5 hours.

 

 

  • Finish Island (Tidal)

This is an opportunity to visit an offshore island which was occupied until 1983. One way to reach the island is across the large (tidal) strand at Ruisín na Maíneach on the mainland near Carna. Before walking across the strand (or indeed afterwards), there is an opportunity to visit the holy well (St Mary’s Well) at Ruisín na Maineach.  Points of interest on the island: pier and fish store constructed by the Congested Districts Board; island housing; island economy and midden site.

Time: 3.5 hours.

 

  • Aran Island Walks

The three Aran Islands, with their unique Karstic landscapes, the long tradition of monastic settlements, military occupation and fantastic views, offer ideal walking opportunities. Because of the efficient ferry services it is possible to visit and have a good day’s walk on any of the islands on the one day. Another possibility is to stay overnight if more than one walk is planned, especially on Inishmore. The walks illustrated here are based on a one day visit to the islands. The cost of ferries or any overnight accommodation must be included in the cost of these walks. Ferry services operate from Rosaveel Harbour on a daily basis at 10.30am and return at 6.30pm from Inishmore and 6.00pm from the two other islands. Sailing time is approximately one hour each way.

  • Inis Oirr

Start/Finish: Island pier. Points of interest:  Cnoc Raithní (Bronze Age burial mound); St Kevin’s Church & graveyard; Plassey shipwreck; Formuna Village; O’Brien’s Castle; Lighthouse; Holy Well; The Arts Centre; St Gobnait’s church; coastguard station;

Topics of interest: the Karstic landscape with it unique flora & fauna; island economy of traditional farming, fishing and tourism.

Walking time: 4 hours.

 

  • Inis Meáin

Inis Meáin is the most traditional of the three Aran Islands and offers the discerning walker many fine examples of historical monuments illustrating many centuries of occupation in a unique landscape.

Start/Finish: Main island pier at the Caladh Mór. Points of interest: The harbour with its unique breakwater constructed of X-shaped concrete blocks; the special conservation areas including the sand dunes and ‘machair’ near the island airstrip; Cill Cheannannach, the 8th century stone church and old graveyard; the old stone forts of Dún Chonchuir and Dún Feabhraí; Holy well; Synge’s house and Synge’s chair; Diarmaid & Grainne’s bed; the island church with its Harry Clarke window; Inis Meáin Knitwear Company.

Walking time 3.5 hours.

 

  • Inis Mór

Inishmore, being the largest island with famous landmarks such as Dún Aengus has many types of walks to occupy the outdoor enthusiast for a number of days. However only two are illustrated here.

 

  • Corruach Loop

Start/Finish: Kilronan Harbour. Points of interest: Kilronan harbour & village; Take the lower coastal road towards the village of Mainistir;  St Ciaran’s church; Asurnaí church; Corruach lake; Church of the Four Beautiful Saints; Dún Eochla (the highest point on the island), and Diarmaid and Grainne’s bed.

Walking time 3.5 hours.

 

  • Killronan – Dún Dúchathair – Cill Éinne

This beautiful walk takes you south from Killronan village towards the stone fort of Dún Dúchathair. Points of interest: Kilronan village; an Turlach Mór (lake); Dún Dúchathair; the old village of Cill Éinne with relics of the strong monastic tradition and also military occupation on the island; Teampall Bheanáin, one of the smallest stone churches in the world; remains of the round tower; the Cromwellian Fort of Arkin Castle; Cill Éinne harbour & fishing village; Cill Éinne graveyard; the island airstrip;

Walking time 3.5 hours.

 

Prices:

Rates may vary depending on the numbers in the group and the terrain. The prices quoted here are indicative. There are no additional costas, such as transport, included.

Short Guided Tour:                         Approximately  1 – 2 hours                                         €60

Half Day Guided Tours:                  Approximately    3  –  4 hours                                       €100

Full Day Guided Tours:                   Approximately    5 – 6 hours                                        €150

Extended Day Tours:                      Exceeding            8 hours                                                €200

 

 

 

 

 

Prices:

Rates may vary depending on the numbers in the group and the terrain. The prices quoted here are indicative. There are no additional costas, such as transport, included.

Short Guided Tour:                         Approximately  1 – 2 hours                                         €60

Half Day Guided Tours:                  Approximately    3  –  4 hours                                       €100

Full Day Guided Tours:                   Approximately    5 – 6 hours                                        €150

Extended Day Tours:                      Exceeding            8 hours                                                €200

Booking Enquiries 

  Send  an email detailing which walk or the type of walk you are interested in, the date and time that you prefer, the number of people participating, and whether or not transport will be required from your accommodation base. It would be useful if you could let us know how long a walk, the amount of climbing (if any), and the terrain you prefer. Following consultations, we can suggest  possible walk options also. We will contact you immediately and quote a price for the walk. Please bring your own walking boots and gear.

We will also consider walking queries from hotels or tourism agencies.

What to Bring

Suitable walking boots; light but warm clothing; rain jacket and trousers; backpack; lunchbox and vacuum flask for drinks; water; hat & gloves and spare top; walking poles if desired.

 

 

 

Terms and Conditions

It is advisable to book 4 weeks in advance of your preferred walk date. A deposit of half of the agreed cost of the total price of the walk is required to book a place on a walking tour. Upon receipt of the deposit we will reserve your walk. The balance of the agreed price must be paid 2 weeks prior to the start of your walk. Your place cannot be held if full payment is not received by then.

If you cancel a booking we will offer a partial refund depending how much notice you give as follows:

More than 28 Days                          80% refund

More than 10 Days                          50% refund

More than 3 Days                            20% refund

3 days or less                                       5% refund

No show                                              0% refund

Cancellation

In the unlikely event that a walk is cancelled you will be entitled to a full refund. We will not be responsible however for other expenses that you may have incurred, such as travel or accommodation.

Weather Conditions

If we decide that a scheduled walk is unsafe under prevailing or (forecasted) weather conditions, we may change the walk location or route to a safer alternative. You are not entitled to cancel any confirmed booking on the basis of weather conditions.

Disclaimer

Climbing hills and mountains is a dangerous and sometimes demanding activity. Steep ground, exposed rock and cliffs, which are a feature of many of the hill walks featured, bring a serious risk of injury from slips and falls. There are risks associated with wind and mist also; hypothermia can develop or underlying health conditions can be triggered by strenuous exercise.

Insurance

While we have public liability insurance, clients are not covered by this. It is recommended that all walkers are adequately covered by their own personal policies. Clients will be required to sign an indemnity form absolving the guide from all claims prior to the start of the walk.

 

 

Contact Details

mairtinoconghaile@gmail.com

Facebook; mairtinoconghailewalks

(087) 6394320

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