One of its main attraction is the 2500-year-old fortress of Dun Aenghus, situated on the edge of a cliff 300 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The walls of this mysterious Celtic Fort are 13 feet thick and 10 feet high. The native language here is Gaelic and spoken by all of the native islanders, but they also speak English. While in Connemara we will also visit the quaint and beautiful island of Omey. Walk along Ireland's only fjord, Killary Fjord and pay a visit to Kylemore Abbey. The final part of our journey takes us to County Mayo; our accommodation is based on the outskirts of Westport. A town that has being designated by our tourist board "Failte Ireland" as a Heritage Towns. The town is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick and overlooking Clew Bay.
Day 1: Pick up at Shannon Airport at 13:00. From Shannon we drive north to the Burren, a strange lunar-like region of bare carboniferous limestone which occupies around one hundred square miles of County Clare. Below the surface of the Burren is the most remarkable assemblage of spectacular caves, streams, potholes and "turloughs". We will make our way to Lisdoonvarna in County Clare and the Burren Region. Our first walk will be at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. Leaving the bustling car park behind, we can enjoy relative solitude walking along the cliffs towards Hag's Head. On the grassy bank at the lower cliff look out for puffins. They make their nests on the grass. We can also hope to see and hear fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes and if we're really lucky peregrine falcons. After dinner, we can venture into the village in search of traditional music in the pubs. Distance: 3.5 km, 2 miles.
Day 2: After rising at a civilized hour and consuming a full Irish breakfast, we will be met by Mary-Angela, our local expert guide for the day. She will take us to sites of botanical, geological and archaeological interest. This will include walking in two separate parts of the Burren with a break for lunch. In springtime you will never see anything like the carpets of primroses, or the white flower of the blackthorn cascading over all the hedgerows. Rare and spectacular plants occur in abundance. Nowhere else in Ireland, Britain or even North West Europe can such quantities of the blue Spring Gentian, cream Mountain Avens or yellow Shrubby Cinquefoil be encountered. Orchids grow everywhere in the Burren and 23 out of the 27 Irish species are to be found here. Distance: 16 km, 10 miles.
Day 3: Before leaving the Burren we will walk at its highest point, Slieve Elva. Leaving County Clare, we will then drive north to Co. Galway and the Connemara Region and Joyce's Country. Connemara can be described as a wild, rugged, unspoilt area with a ragged coastline and a superb group of inland mountains known as the Twelve Bens. Our base is Clifden: known as the "Jewel in Connemara", a small town with a lively atmosphere nestling in the mountains. We will be staying here for three nights. Distance: 14 km, 6 miles.
Day 4: Today we will be visiting Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands. Our walk will take us along lanes, tracks, and green roads. We will be able to visit Dun Aengus, a massive semi-circular ring fort lodged on the edge of cliffs that drop 300 ft into the Atlantic. "Walking about the by-ways of Inis Mor, experiencing its barren rocks, sworn cliffs and rough seas so enchants that it cries out and claws at your soul. This isolated and untamed island quickly conquers and captivates your spirit". Distance: 16 km, 10 miles.
Day 5: This morning after breakfast we will take the morning ferry back to Rossaveal and then head on to Clifden in the heart of Connemara. If you wish, you can use this day as a rest day. Enjoy the shops and cafes in the pretty village of Clifden. My recommendation is to hire a bicycle for at least the afternoon and ride the "Sky Road", this is a very famous cycling/ walking route. It is only 12 miles, and you will be rewarded with fine views. Alternatively there will be a guided walk at Omey Island. This is a beautiful little island located just off the Connemara shore and we can reach it by walking across the sand at low tide. Distance: 19.3 km (12 miles).
Day 6: Leaving Clifden today, we will stop for morning coffee at Kylemore Abbey. We'll have time to wander the wooded lakeside grounds and visit the abbey. We then walk at Killary Harbor, not a harbor at all, but Ireland's only fjord and one of the most enchanting walks in Ireland. Distance: 10 km, 6 miles.
Day 7: We must say goodbye to the western Ireland and return to Shannon Airport.
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