It’s hard to believe that May Day is nearly upon us already. As I was driving one of the most scenic roads in the country to work this morning the top of Mweelree and Sheffrey were white with […]
For anyone considering holidaying in Connemara with walking or hillwalking in mind, Delphi Lodge has got to be the best location, sitting within the borders of County Mayo & County Galway in the West of Ireland. Delphi Lodge is a charming 1830’s Country House set in the Delphi Valley and surrounded by some of Ireland’s most beautiful, dramatic and challenging mountain ranges. Delphi Lodge is the ideal base from which to avail of the endless low, medium and high level walking that Connemara and the West of Ireland are famous for.
The Delphi Valley consists of three beautiful lakes, Glencullen, Doolough and Finnlough which spill over into the Bundorragha River and down to Killary Fjord, 2kms south of the lodge. To the west and in front of the lodge, the Mweelrea Mountains rise dramatically to form an extensive range of cliffs, ridges and plateaus before finally summitting at a height of 814 metres, making the Mweelrea (meaning ‘the bald king’) Connaught’s highest mountain. From here the views are quite simply overwhelming. To the south and far below is Killary harbour, a 12km inlet from the Atlantic which is indeed a true fjord, to the west are the inhabited islands of Inishbofin, Inishturk and Clare Island, with America somewhere beyond! North and below the beautiful beaches of west Mayo, Clewbay and Achill Island and to the north east is Croagh Patrick, Mayo’s Pilgrimage Mountain and another day’s walking in itself. There are several hillwalking routes in the Mweelrea Mountains, all of which can finish at the lodge. We can offer a drop off and walk back service if required. To the east and north of the Delphi Valley are Bengorm and Creggan and the Sheefry Hills. Here there are medium and high level walks which again can finish at the lodge. A little further afield are the Maamturk and Maamtrasna Mountains and the Twelve Bens of Connemara. These ranges offer a hugh variety of hillwalking. Many of these walks have historical, religious and archaeological relevance and all are within 30 minute’s drive of Delphi Lodge. In addition to the varied and diverse hill and mountain walks all around Delphi, there are also many low level walks available along our forest tracks, lake shores and deserted beaches.
At Delphi Lodge we offer a complimentary drop-off and walk-back service to all our hillwalking guests. This will mean leaving our guests at the beginning of their chosen walks, which finish at the lodge – or at the start of walks, which finish at their own parked vehicles. This will elminate the problem of back tracking on walks that are not loop walks. We also have excellent drying facilities to ensure our guests start each day with dry clothing and footwear.
Please contact the office for further details.
Walking & Trekking on Clare Island, West Mayo Coast, Ireland
Clare Island lies just four miles off Mayo’s West Coast and only a short distance away from Delphi Lodge. The ferry journey takes about 20 minutes. Its situation at the entrance to Clew Bay gives Clare Island command of the entire Bay area. It provides spectacular views north and south along the coast. One of the largest of the Mayo offshore islands, it has a varied terrain. Spectacular cliffs rising sheer from the Atlantic with large numbers of nesting sea birds and a varied landscape, makes it ideal for hill-walking.
The island has a huge number of archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze ages. It has rare medieval wall-paintings in the 14th century Cistercian Abbey which are unique and the most important in Ireland. The pirate queen, Grace O’Malley (Grainneuaile), the most famous Irish heroine of all time had her castle here. She is also allegedly buried on the island. There are pre- and post- famine land usage patterns and an amazing array of rare flowers. The Clare Island Survey, led by R.L. Praeger in the early 1900’s was one of the most important natural history surveys in the British Isles. This small island has a lot to offer. All you need is time!
Walking & Hiking Croagh Patrick Mountain, a religious site in Ireland
Croagh Patrick, situated on the southern shore of Clew Bay, County Mayo, 8Km west of Westport is Ireland’s most climbed mountain. A sacred place for more than 5000 years, the Reek, as it is known locally, today attracts pilgrims and walkers from every corner of the earth. Before the arrival of Christianity, Croagh Patrick was worshiped as the dwelling place of Crom Dubh, a celtic deity. According to christian tradition, St. Patrick climbed the mountain in 441AD and fasted on the Reek for 40 days. The site soon became a place of pilgrimage for the early Christian church in Ireland. A stone oratory dated between 430 and 890AD was recently excavated on the summit, close to the present chapel which was built and dedicated in 1905.
The Pilgrim Path
The pilgrim path starts at the car park in the village of Murrisk, 8Km from Westport on the Louisburgh road. The rout follows a well defined stony track to the summit, which presents no particular difficulties to the reasonably fit inexperienced walker although great care should be taken when descending the summit cone, as this has become quite slippery due to erosion. Climbing the Reek is a unique experience in Irish mountain walking, due in no small measure, to the fact that you are almost certain to encounter many other pilgrims from all parts of the globe. The views from Croagh Patrick are breathtaking with bogland and the Sheefry Hills to the south, Clew Bay with it’s myriad of drumlin islands and the north Mayo mountains to the north and the islands of Achill, Inishturk and Clare Island to the west. Climbing the Reek is a very special pilgrim experience.
Total distance: 8Km. Total ascent: 764m. Maximum height: 764m Estimated
Connemara National Park
Walking & Trekking through Connemara National Park, Co Galway, Ireland
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, the Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands, all ideal terrain for the walking and trekking enthusiast. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
Safety and Equipment
Connemara Mountains Hiking & Trekking:
Safety & Equipment Guidelines
County Mayo & County Galway in the Connemara region of the West of Ireland offer some of the best mountain walks in Europe. A Connemara mountain day is unlike any other because of the unique blend of majestic old hills, splendid isolation, panoramic views of ocean, lake, river and sky all coming together to form a unique unspoiled environment. There are almost no tracks here so those who would venture forth need to follow some simple rules. If you do then you are certain to have an unforgettable day in Connemara.
Do not undertake a walk or hike which is beyond your level of competence. If you are fit enough but lack map reading and navigational experience then the safest and most enjoyable thing to do is to use the services of a local experienced guide.
Unguided walkers please note the following:
Weather Mountain weather in the west of Ireland can change from bright sunshine to mist and rain in the course of a day, so be prepared, experienced and competent enough to finish your walk in poor visibility and perhaps darkness. This applies particularly if you are doing a long high level walk.
Route Planning Please leave details of your intended route and expected time of return with someone at the lodge and do let them know when you have returned. Plan your route giving careful consideration to distance, height gain, daylight hours available, nature of terrain, fitness of walkers, escape routes and weather forecast.
Equipment It is wise to pack for all four seasons when you venture onto the mountains of Connemara. Our Atlantic weather can change frequently in the course of a day. Temperatures can vary by as much as 7℃ between sea level and summit. It is also wise to assume that an emergency, either yours or someone else’s, may necessitate you spending a night out, so be prepared.
Guided and unguided walkers:
Whether you are walking with or without the services of a guide, your equipment should include:
If you are not using a guide then your equipment should also include:
Finally, don’t be put off by this page. Accidents are a rare event in these mountains. With common sense and a little planning you will have a Great Connemara Mountain Day