Help me be Wandering Aengus!
January 18, 2017 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Galway for a conference in late May. I'd like to tack on a week of long walks/day hikes in Ireland. Suggest itineraries? (Difficulty level: no car.)

I have about a week to explore Ireland this May, starting in Dublin and ending in Galway (I will be spending time in Galway outside of this week, and I've already been to Dublin, so no worries about making sure I see the sights there). I would like to see some natural beauty in the form of public transit-accessible nature walks or day hikes. I'm not worried about seeing everything in a week, and would prefer not to be traveling every day, so I'm looking for suggestions of a couple of places I can use as bases for exploring. Specifically, I am looking for places that a) aren't too hard to get to by public transit, b) have beautiful hikes/paths that are easily accessible by public transit. And if they are interesting cities/towns in their own right, so much the better, but my interest is primarily in nature stuff rather than cultural/historical stuff. I would be planning to go back to a hotel/B&B/hostel in the evenings, i.e. no camping. As much detail as you can provide about a) and b) would be greatly appreciated! Also if you have any general tips for such a trip (lodging, weather advisories, etc.), those are appreciated as well.

I am a solo female, an experienced traveler, and used to taking public transit. Not a hardcore hiker but in reasonably good shape.
posted by Owl of Athena to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would fly out to the Aran islands for a day or two--it's like an 8 minute propeller-plane flight from Galway.
posted by blueberry at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I did this self guided walking tour, of the Western Way, a national path, in June 2015. The tour is a complete package, where the company pre-books BnBs and arranges for luggage transport from inn to inn while you walk during the day. Walk, I should mention, through some seriously spectacular, constantly changing Irish scenery. It starts in a wee town that's a 17k busride from Galway Highly recommended, especially if you like sheep. Memail me if you want more details as there are several companies that provide the same service along the route.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2017

Glendalough, lots of good hikes in the area. It's what I did on my one trip there.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:07 PM on January 18, 2017

Best answer: Given that you're going to be around Galway I think the Burren in Co. Clare or the the Great Western Greenway in Co. Mayo could be good options. They're close enough to Galway to be relatively quick and easy to get to by bus and have well developed walking trails and tourism infrastructure. I've been to both areas even though I haven't gone walking there.

The Burren has some lovely walks and good facilities like B&Bs and hostels in either Doolin or Ballyvaughan and way-marked trails of varying lengths. You also have the Doolin ferry if you want to go across to the Aran Islands.

I've been to Achill and Westport but haven't done the Great Western Greenway. A few friends of mine did this, getting the train from Dublin, and really enjoyed themselves.

The Bray to Greystones cliff walk is another one I'd recommend if you're staying around Dublin. You can get the DART (train) to Greystones and walk back to Bray, then get the DART back into Dublin city.

Irish Trails gives a nice overview of walking trails with different filtering options. That might give you a few ideas as well.
posted by irishalto at 2:22 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The walk on the cliff path around Howth Head is fairly easy for someone used to hikes, and also beautiful. It should keep you occupied for a few hours. The Dart or bus will get you close to the top end of the path east of Howth Harbour; only the bus will take you to the other end, unless you want to add an extra km or two from Sutton.

Late May is summer in Ireland but also fairly changeable. Like any time in Ireland. Could be a gorgeous day, could be rainy and gloomy.
posted by macdara at 1:36 AM on January 25, 2017

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