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
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.