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What To Do

Activities & More

WHAT TO DO

There’s a wide range of activities to explore the region. See the list below or check out our interactive map to discover the possibilities.

The Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark wider offers a number of paths, trails and looped walks that provide excellent hiking, trekking, and rambling over a range of terrains, from bogland and forest to foothills and mountains.

 

National Walking Trails in the area 

Click on the different trails to find out more about them, or visit https://www.irishtrails.ie/ to find out more.

  1. Murrisk Loop; Murrisk Mountain Loop; Murrisk Pier Loop
  2. Killeen Killadoon Beach Loop & Killeen White Stone Bog Loop
  3. Inishturk – Lough Coolaknick Loop
  4. Inishbofin Island – Westquarter Loop
  5. Letterfrack Poetry Trail; Diamond Hill Loop; Connemara National Park
  6. Marconi Loop
  7. Inis Nee Loop
  8. Luibin Mhairois
  9. Luibin Garumna – Slí Chonamara
  10. Siuloidi na Ceathrun Rua
  11. Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen) Heritage Trails
  12. New Village Walk
  13. Ard na Gaoithe – Ardnageeha Loop; Cong Forest; Cong Pigeon Loop
  14. Clonbur Wood Loop
  15. Kilmaine: Church Walk; Killernan Loop; Nature Walk
  16. Tourmakeady: Lake Walk; Loop; Nature Walk
  17. Moorehall Walk
  18. Clogher: Holy Well Loop; Bog Loop; Red Walk

 

The Western Way

The Western Way is a long-distance walking trail of more than 200 km that passes through Counties Galway and Mayo. The trail begins in Oughterard, Co Galway, and finishes in Bunnycibbellan, Co Mayo. This map focuses on the section that passes through the aspiring geopark area, from Oughterard to Westport.

There is a public car park at Oughterard.

Distances and times of trail sections:
Oughterard – Maam: 24 km – 6-8 hrs
Maam – Leenaun: 29 km – 6-9 hrs
Leenaun – Aasleagh: 3.5 km – 1 hr
Aasleagh – Sheeffry: 12 km – 3-4 hrs
Sheeffry – Westport: 25 km – 6-8 hrs

Please note, some parts of the trail pass through private land, so please seek permission from landowners/holders.

 

Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail

The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail traditionally starts in the village of Balla and ends in the village of Murrisk. The trail is 63 km and does not include the mountain ascent. It is national way-marked the whole way. The difficulty is moderate, though the final ascent is classed as difficult. The terrain varies from woodland, to bog, to minor roads to mountain tracks. The minimum gear recommended is hiking boots, waterproofs, snacks and water.

Distances and times of trail sections:
Balla – Ballintubber: 17 km – 4 hrs
Ballintubber – Aghahower: 27 km – 6 hrs
Aghagower – Murrisk: 19 km – 5 hrs

 

St Patrick’s Causeway

Also known as Tóchar Phadraig, this ancient pilgrim path begins at Ballintubber Abbey and finishes about 35 km away on Croagh Patrick. The minimum hiking gear recommended is hiking boots, waterproofs, snacks and water, as this hike can become difficult, especially in the winter months. In addition to the terrain, there are also about 113 stiles to climb over.

For health and safety reasons, a minimum of two people must walk together. Furthermore, all walkers must register with Ballintubber Abbey and sign a declaration.

Please note, there is a registration fee of €10. For more information, visit https://www.ballintubberabbey.ie/tochar-phadraic/ or email [email protected].

 

Seanbhóthar

Seanbhóthar, The Old Road, is a 10 km paved walk between the villages of Corr na Móna and Clonbur which takes about 2 hrs 30 minutes. The walk has a maximum climb of 80 m and is mostly along the country roads.

 

Practical Info

Walking in Ireland means getting out into the elements, so preparation is key. Wear appropriate clothes for the weather and expect the unexpected; there really can be four seasons in one day in the west of Ireland. Several light layers that are easy to remove on the go are ideal, as is waterproof rain gear like a mac or a poncho. It’s always a good idea to ensure that one of your items of clothing is brightly coloured in case you get lost or become separated (if travelling with a group).

Wear comfortable, broken-in shoes and bring an extra pair of dry socks. Make sure your rucksack is comfortable and not too heavy. Bring enough food and water for your excursion, along with a few extra rations in case of a change of circumstance.

There are no dangerous animals or venomous insects in Ireland, but you should still exercise caution in the wild; never approach or feed any animal, wild or domestic, unless invited to do so by its owner. Biting insects such as midges can be a nuisance; carrying bug repellent is always a good bet.

Always tell someone where you are going before you depart and check the weather forecast and sunset time. Carry a fully charged mobile phone and know the number for mountain rescue if rambling into remote or high altitude areas.

For more walking safety essential tips, visit Ordnance Survey Ireland online.

Getting on your bike is a fun, healthy and easy way to explore most of the Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark region. Feel the wind in your hair as you climb hills, cruise descents, traverse valleys and wind your way around scenic country roads.

Whether you bring your own bike or hire one while you’re here, on-road or off-road, you’ll experience Ireland’s western seaboard in one of the most exhilarating ways possible when you go by bike.

 

National Cycling Trails in the area 

Click on the different trails to find out more about them, or visit https://www.irishtrails.ie/ to find out more.

  1. Great Western Greenway; Westport Greenway; Westport Cycle Hub; National Coastal Trail
  2. Louisburgh Cycle Hub: Roonagh Quay; Bunowen; Derrymore
  3. Clifden Cycle Hub: Loop 1; Loop 2; Loop 3; Loop 4
  4. Derroura Mountain Bike Trail

 

Rental Services and Locations

Cong

 

If you don’t have your own bike, fear not! There’s a wide variety of bicycle hire companies along the Wild Atlantic Way, and many offer great deals. Choose the freedom of a self-guided cycle or join a group – there’s a cycle tour operator to suit your tastes who will happily show you around your preferred area.

 

Practical Info

When cycling in Ireland, always ensure adequate visibility; use bright lights when cycling at night and wear reflective clothing such as a hi-vis vest at all times of day. Wear a helmet and know and use your hand signals, even if you think no one is around.

Keep to the left and obey all the same traffic laws as cars and motorbikes. Do not cycle on any footpath. Ensure your bike is in good condition before setting off. Carry water, snacks, a fully-charged mobile phone, patch repair kit and first aid kit with you, particularly when cycling into remote areas. Mobile signal coverage in Ireland is generally thorough, but there can be areas where dropped calls occur and access to WiFi is patchy.

Learn more about cycle safety in Ireland by visiting the RSA online.

Bikes can be taken on trains and buses with some restrictions. All InterCity trains have bicycle carriage facilities within the passenger compartment. These routes are restricted to two bicycles per service and incur a charge. On buses, Bus Éireann carry normal bikes for a fee in the luggage compartment. The bicycle must be a maximum of 1.8 metres in length and up to 0.865m in width to be carried.

Bicycles that are folded and covered can be carried on all services free of charge. It is recommended that customers reserve their bicycle spaces online where available in advance of travel. Just select the bicycle option when you are reserving a seat.

Our region is blessed with a wide number of angling locations on rivers and lakes. For general information, check the Inland Fisheries Ireland website at https://fishinginireland.info/.

You can also find some more information on the website of the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland here.

Corr na Móna

Leenane

Oughterard

Recess

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

Cong

Clonbur

Leenane

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

Ballinrobe

Cong

Oughterard

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

Cong

Leenane

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

Ballintubber

Cong

Finny

Leenane

Oughterard

Tourmakeady

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

Cong & Oughterard

Leenane

 

*Failte Ireland Certified Businesses

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