Western Way - Galway

There is an additional 3km between Leenaun and the County Mayo border for those walking both the Galway and Mayo Sections of the Western Way.
Closure Notices:
- Due to the dangerous condition of the boardwalk between Curran Beag and Maam Cross, this section of the Western Way is currently closed.
- The footbridge at Tullyconor (close to Killary Adventure centre), in the Lettershanbally Coillte forest, is currently closed until further notice due to safety issues. GPS Location: 53.580863, -9.766917

County Galway
15 reviews
Grade Moderate
Length 59.3 km
Am 2 days
Format Linear
Ascent 533 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Oughterard
Grid Ref. M 123 428 / L 879 620
Lat. and Long. 53.428599, -9.319421 / 53.613532, -9.668461

This 55 km linear walking route provides an excellent introduction for walkers to the beautiful and scenic wildernesses of Connemara in County Galway in the west of Ireland. Starting in the famous angler's town of Oughterard on Lough Corrib, it follows the western edge of the lake, one of the longest, and the second largest lake in Ireland, northwards into a magnificent wilderness of mountain and bog to reach civilisation again at the village of Maam Bridge. It was from here that the Scottish engineer Alexander Nimmo planned the modern roads of Connemara in the early 19th century. From Maam Bridge the route crosses the rugged Maumturk Mountains by a pass, at the top of which is Maum Ean, a holy place that has attracted pilgrims since the early Christian period. Descending again into the beautiful Inagh Valley the route passes between the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks, and through a sad landscape that was, before the Great Famine, well populated by cottiers, to reach the shores of Killary Harbour and the picturesque village of Leenane, one of the locations for the movie The Field. Overnight accommodation is limited along the route, so careful planning is necessary. The terrain consists of quiet roads, bog roads, open moorland, forestry tracks, mountain paths and about 3km of timber bog bridge: some parts of the route can be very wet and boggy, particularly after a rainy period, when there is a fast run-off from the Connemara mountains. The total aggregate ascent over the route is about 533m.

Trail Management

Brendan O'Malley, Rural Recreational Officer, Forum Connemara CLG, Letterfrack, Co. Galway. Tel: 00353(0) 95-41116


Car parking
At Start - on street in Oughterard
At End - on street in Leenaun

Dogs are not allowed on off-road sections of the trail
30 kms or 54% of the Way follows local roads.

Map Guides

Map Guides

The Western Way Oughterard to Westport - EastWest Mapping

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 37, 38, 44* (*ca 1.8km), 45
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: None At End: Very limited bus service Check with Bus Eireann.

15 trail reviews
Write your own review of this trail

Dave from Galway

I hiked the trail from Mam Ean to Lennane and back over 2 days this week - approximately 20k each day - with my 10 year old son and took around 5 hours each way. It was a great hike divided into 4 main sections. The first piece leaves the car park at Mam Ean and descends towards Lough Inagh. Most of this section is on a gravel road - we didn't see anyone or any car on either day. The scenery looking down into the lake is breathtaking. The second section cuts through bog land between the 12 Bens on the left and the Mamturks on the right - it is very barren and open but equally as breathtaking. After 2.5 hours, we left the bog and entered into forest for the next section. This piece takes you through a combination of sparse and then dense forestry complete with small waterfalls...it is incredibly peaceful. The final section, for the last hour, leaves the forest and ascends to a point overlooking Killary Harbour. The trail then swings down into the village of Lennane (the final 1/2K is on the main road).

The 4 sections offer completely different experiences and scenery and are all well worth the effort.

We returned the same route the folowing morning and enjoyed the experience just as much. I would highly recommend as 2 5 hour hikes split with overnight in Lennane.

sile kilduff from Dublin

I really enjoyed this trail - great mix - from wild exposed remoteness to gentle country lanes. I started in Oughterard (great bakery / cafe by the bus stop), I took the Glann road to be close to the Corrib, wonderful gentle winding quiet roads, lots of streams, after about 12 miles it goes into track and woodland and board walk over the bog to Maam Cross.

From Maam Bridge to Inagh is also wonderful...starts off on quiet roads and is more hilly than the day before. Lots of stone walled sheep filled fields. Then it gets very wild and remote as you head up to the pilgrim church at Mamean. Very peaceful and lovely trail walking as you climb up. Over the top and you get a wonderful view of the Inagh valley. Stop off at Inagh Lodge for a warm welcome from Maura and crab claws and french apple tart!

The last section goes from Inagh to Leenane. The track is rocky and can be very boggy. But nothing beats the last five km into Leenane, descending on great trail with the fjord and Mweelrea on the left, guaranteed a bit of sunshine and a bit of rain!

In Leenane have a pint with Tony in Hamiltons, a chat to Shane in the Blackberry over Irish stew or Chris in the Village Grill. Leenane Hotel is great for food and seaweed baths. Also wonderful about 15k further is the Delphi Lodge.

Lilian from Germany

Great trail!

First part of the first section a bit boring and hard on the joints: From Oughterard you have to walk about 10km (or is it more?) on the road, before you can enjoy the beautiful scenery on planks, that lead you all the way to the Road to Maum, where to you have to walk on the road again.

The second section leads you through the Mountains to Leenane, this is the most diversified section, more hills. It starts in Maum, where you ascent to a pass in between the mountains on the footsteps of St. Patrick to a Holly Well. Descending on the other side you will reach another road to follow north, which later leads you back on the trail around and then through the mountains to Leenane, where you can see shepards at work if you're lucky.

All in all a great walk and pretty doable in two days.

Fergus from Dublin

Did the walk from south to north. Really nice 2 day hike. One of the best I've done with amazing scenery of conemara. Near Luggatarrif problem with signs being deliberatly removed meant we took wrong turn ended up not reaching end, frustrating end to a really nice walk where a lot of effort has been put in. Only one B and B near half way point at Maum so need to plan ahead a bit.

John MacDonnell from Mayo

Ran a section of the Western Way in Galway from Mameen to Lenane recently. Well marked throughout, a few boggy sections but thats fine, great scenery and really recommend it to anyone for a day walk or run!

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