Leenane Walking Festival, West of Ireland, 28 April – 1 May 2017


Leenane Walking Festival, West of Ireland, 28 April – 1 May 2017


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Join us for an exhilarating walking festival based in the spectacular mountain ranges around Leenane in Connemara. This April will be the 9th year of the Leenane Mountain Walking Festival which has become a major event in the events calendar for Connemara and the area.This 2017 event will take place on from the 28th April – 1st May bank holiday.

Come meet the local farmers who get involved with guiding the walks and share their vast knowledge, folklore and history of the land. Enjoy the unique combination of mountain and sea as Leenane is situated on the edge of Killary Harbour and surrounded by mountains in all directions. 

This great festival has been designed to suit all levels of walkers from casual low level walks to the more experienced! Each day there is a choice of at least 3 walks from Strenuous to low level plus an archaeology field trip on the Sunday. Michael Gibbons is back by popular demand to guide this fascinating archaeological walk. This year the programme includes: Mweelrea, Ben Gorm, Derryclare Horseshoe, 12 Bens, Connemara National Park & The Killary Famine Trail.

Each walk is guided by qualified, experienced guides and covered by public insurance.

With the farmers involvement in the event, they kindly grant the participants permission to cross their lands and visit areas that are not normally open to the public. Transport to and from starting and finishing points will be provided as well as tea/coffee & scones at various local businesses at the end of each day. There is also entertainment each evening including a Céili on the Sunday!

Any surplus profits from the event are re circulated back into the Leenane Development Association.

Price includes: (per person sharing)

  • 3 nights bed and breakfast at local 3* Hotel
  • 3 evening meals at your accommodation
  • 2 packed lunches for Saturday and Sunday
  • 2 day Leenane Walking Festival ticket
  • The famous Céile at the Leenane Hotel!
  • Qualified guides (plus local guides from the area)
  • Transport to and from each walk from Leenane village
  • Maps
  • Teas/coffees & scones each day after the walk
  • Full information pack supplied upon booking

Price does not include:

  • Airfares
  • Car rental or transport to and from Leenane. This can be arranged-please just ask us
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers
  • Various other activity and entertainment costs as per festival schedule of events
  • Tips and gratuities


  • Other accommodation options available.


  • Available on the weekend 28 April to 1 May 2017. Early booking essential.
  • Minimum number of persons for this tour to proceed: 2
  • Group bookings of 10 or more people qualify for a discount
  • Own transport required to accommodation
  • Subject to availability and terms and conditions. Please see our website www.connemarawildescapes.ie for more information and details.

Please contact info@connemarawildescapes.ie for more information on the above.


Participants must come well prepared with suitable footwear & waterproofs.
See our useful information section for details. Check In opens at 8.00 am each morning at the Leenane Community Centre – 200m on the Galway road side of the village.

Walking grades:
WALK A: Strenuous, high level 
WALK B: Medium High Level
WALK C: Low Level
* Walk times are subject to change

Friday 28 April
Travel to your accommodation.
Explore surrounds
A 3 course dinner tonight is provided by your accommodation supplier
20:00 Opening of festival in Leenane Hotel

  • Viewing of the award winning Great Famine video from Leenane National School
  • Talk from local Mikko Keane on his adventures and recent trips to Island Peak in Nepal and Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska with pictures and accounts of his experiences

Saturday 29 April

Breakfast at your accommodation
Pick up packed lunch from accommodation supplier

8:00 Check in opens at Leenane Community Centre
Start Times TBC

A Walk. 12 Bens

A great day’s walking in prospect, our walk will take in 3 of the 12 Ben’s and will include the highest peak in the range Binn Bhán at 729m
The walk begins in Gleninagh and winds it’s way up the valley to the col at Maumina before ascending the scree slopes to Binn Bhán.
From there the walk proceeds through Binn Fhaoigh and onwards to Binn Bhreac before our final descent to the farm at Kylemore.
Walk Details:
Distance 14k, Total Ascent 1050m, Time 6 – 7 hours
Grade: Strenuous.

B walk:  Central Maamturks

Starting from the Inagh Valley we start out by  following the river that flows from the tiny lough’s on the Southern Flanks  of Barrlugrevagh. From spot height  558 we turn South East through points 541 and 499 before the ascent of Knocknahillion.

At 606m the views in every direction are fantastic.

We begin our descent to the hanging lake  Lough Mám Ochoige before exiting out the valley floor.

A 3k roadwalk takes us to Lough Inagh Lodge for refreshments.

Walk Details:

Distance 12K, Total ascent 700m, Time 5 hours.

Grade: Moderate / Hard

Low Level
Killary Harbour Famine track.
Beginning in Rosroe this 7k walk along the famine road that was built by the starving Irish peasants during the Great Famine of 1845 – 1849.
The walk passes through the now deserted village of Foher where the ruins of several houses can be seen.
Walk Details:
Distance 8k, Ascent 50m, Time 3 hours.
Grade: Easy – suitable for all. The track can be wet and boggy in places.

A 3 course dinner tonight is provided by your accommodation supplier

Sunday 30 April
Breakfast at your accommodation
Pick up packed lunch from accommodation supplier

8:00 Check in opens at Leenane Community Centre
Start Times TBC

A Walk Mweelrea
Mweelrea is the highest mountain in Connaught with dramatic sea, island & upland views on every side. This festival walk will set out from the southern end of Doolough (north of Bald’s Bridge in the Delphi Valley), follows the airy cliff- edge to Ben Bury & then on to the 814m high summit before dropping steeply down to the Killary shore for transport back to Leenane by Rib & bus
Walk Details:
Time 7hrs
Grade: Strenuous

B Walk Ben Gorm
The walk starts on the Southern slopes of the mountain where we begin our trek to the summit. At 700m the views over Killary Fiord and the offshore Islands are fabulous. We descend to a bog track in the Doolough Valley and make our way back to our starting point.
Walk Details:
Distance 11k, Ascent 700m, Time 4:5 hours.
Grade: Moderate / Hard

Low level: Connemara National Park
Guided walk in Connemara National Park. Details to follow

Michael Gibbons
Exploring the 6000 year – Archaeology and History of Kylemore Valley in the heart of the Connemara Highlands.
Hike to a 5800 year old megalithic tomb ago & the site of a lost early church site & Holy well. Later on, to a long abandoned and rarely visited Marconi Telegraph station built at a time Connemara was at the cutting edge of modern research.
A great day out with renowned Archaeologist Michael Gibbons. 2 site visited during the day.
Grade: Low/Moderate

A 3 course dinner tonight is provided by your accommodation supplier

Eve Ceili in Leenane hotel

Monday 1 May
Breakfast at your accommodation
End of festival

Hope to see you in Connemara again soon!

All of our prices are per person based on 2 people sharing a room. If your party requires single rooms they are available at a supplemental rate. The single supplement is to cover the additional costs of a single room or single occupancy of a twin or double room. Please book early if you require a single room as only a limited number of single rooms are usually available.
Contact info@connemarawildescapes.ie for more details.


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