Diamond Hill Connemara: A Hike That’ll Treat You To One Of The Best Views In The West

One of Galway's Hidden Gems

The view from Diamond Hill Connemara
Photo by Gareth McCormack

If you’re wondering what to do in Galway that’ll take you away from the crowds and deliver a proper knock-you-on-your-arse experience, then you need to get Diamond Hill on your to-conquer list.

If you’ve never heard of it, you’ll find the magnificent Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in County Galway

It’s a handy hour and 25-minute drive from Galway City to the starting point of the walk and if you climb it on a clear day you can soak up views that’ll knock the air from your lungs.

It’s also a stone’s throw from a heap of other things to do in Connemara, so you can plan a whole day of activities around the hike.

Let’s dive in.

Some quick need to knows

  • You’ll find Diamond Hill in Connemara in County Galway
  • There’s a short walk (takes 1 to 1.5 hours to complete
  • And a long walk (takes 2.5 to 3 hours)
  • The walk kicks off from the visitor centre at Connemara National Park
  • The views from the top are out of this world

About Diamond Hill Connemara

Connemara walks
Photo by Gareth McCormack

Every time I get back from a trip to Connemara, my Dad asks me if I climbed Diamond Hill. He knows I haven’t, but he still asks.

‘How many times have I told you to do that walk?! The best way to see Connemara is from above. You won’t get a view like it anywhere else.’

And, to be fair, he’s right. As you ramble up Diamond Hill on a clear day, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of:

  • The islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin, and Inishshark 
  • Tully Mountain
  • The Twelve Bens
  • Kylemore Lough
  • Mweelrea (the highest mountain in Connaught)

Preparing for the Diamond Hill Walk

Diamond Hill Walk
Photo by Gareth McCormack

Although this is one of the more casual walks in the Connemara region, you still need to be prepared.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, so having the likes or rain gear, warm clothing, and sun cream on hand is important. Footwear with good grip is essential.

Diamond Hill weather: Personally, I use yr.no when I’m planning out a walk or climb. If you use a different service, let me know which it is in the comments below.

Diamond Hill Galway: Choosing a walk

view from the hill
Photo by Gareth McCormack

So, there are two main walks that you can attempt on Diamond Hill. The first is the Lower Diamond Hill Walk; this is the shorter route (info below) and takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to complete.

The second is the Upper Diamond Hill Trail; this is a continuation of the Lower trail and can take up to 3 hours to complete.

The route here is fully signposted from the moment you leave the visitor centre in the National Park.

Gravel footpaths and wooden boardwalks make the journey over the bog and to the top an enjoyable one. 

1. The Lower Diamond Hill walk

Lower diamond hill walk
Photo by Gareth McCormack

The lower trail measures around 3 km and has modest climbs along the route.

I know several people that have done this over the past year and they all found it relatively handy.

While you won’t get scenery as spectacular as the one seen in the photo above, you’ll still be able to enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding Connemara countryside, coastline, and islands.

Things to know

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time to climb: 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Starting point: Connemara National Park Visitor Centre

2. The Upper Diamond Hill trail

Diamond Hill Galway
Photo by Gareth McCormack

The Upper Trail is a continuation of the Lower Trail Hill. It takes you up to the summit of Diamond Hill via a narrow fin of quartzite that stretches for around half a kilometre. 

For those that fancy giving this a shot, the entire circuit of the Lower and Upper trails measures around 7km and should take between 2.5 – 3 hours.

At the 445m-high summit, you’ll be treated to panoramic views across all of Connemara.

Things to know

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Time to climb: 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Starting point: Connemara National Park Visitor Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

Since including Diamond Hill in our 5 days in Ireland guide, I’ve had a load of questions about it.

Below, I’ve taken the most commonly asked ones and popped in an answer. If you’ve a question about the walk that you need an answer to, comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

How high is Diamond Hill Connemara?

The summit of the mountain is 445-m high.

How long does it take to walk Diamond Hill?

If you attack the lower trail, expect to be up and down in under an hour and a half. If you do the entire route to the summit, expect it to take around 3 hours.

Is the walk difficult?

The Lower Trail isn’t overly difficult. Where it starts to get tough is when you begin to make your ascent to the summit on the Upper Trail.

While you won’t need to be a seasoned hillwalker to complete the entire route, reasonable fitness levels are needed.

Are dogs allowed in Connemara National Park?

According to the park’s official website, ‘Dogs that are under control are welcome in the National Park, but owners must at all times be conscious of their responsibility to other visitors and wildlife.’

Have a hike in Ireland that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


    • Hi Igor,

      Your best bet is to wait until you arrive and then make your decision based on the weather.

      The weather in Ireland in November, like many months, can be unpredictable.

      It could be dry and cold or there could be heavy rain, strong winds, and sub-zero temperatures.

      Check the weather in advance and base your decision on that.



  1. Did this recently with my 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son and they loved it. Although no view from the very top due to cloud cover, the tops of the surrounding hills appearing above the clouds was magical. The view can disappear quickly too… it was crystal clear at the top a few hours earlier when we were looking up at it from Kylemore Abbey (which is nearby and also worth visiting).

    • Hi Valarie – having done both, I found Croagh Patrick much harder. While Diamond Hill is steep in places, it’s more of a gradual ascent, so you should find it at much more casual climb that Patrick.

  2. Well Boss!

    Hoping to do this hike for sunrise next week.. any idea how much time we should allow to reach the summit rather than the time of the whole circuit? Young couple in our 20s and rearing for road so! Cheers

    • Hi Conor! I’m trying to remember how long it took myself and one of the lads last summer. I think it was around 45 – 55 minutes at a quick pace, as far as I remember. It defo took us longer to get back down!

      That’ll be class – enjoy!

  3. Thank you for sharing this info…looks like a great hike! We are in the early stages of planning our trip to Ireland in Sept and love to find great hikes with views. Any other highly suggested hikes? We plan to focus on the the lower half of the island, with Connemara being at the north end of our itineary and we will have 11 days total on the ground there. We are fit and advid hikers back here in Oregon USA

  4. Hi Keith, thanks for this handy description. When you say 3h for the upper trail, you mean 3h to go from the visitor centre to the summit, right? Will I also need 3h to come back to the centre you think?

    • Hey Lisa. No that’s 3 hours for the entire walk including the upper trail! I think the last time we did it it took us 3.5 hours in total, but we spent a good 30 – 40 minutes at the summit having a bit of food.

      It’s a lovely ramble – enjoy it (and hopefully the weathers nice and clear for you!!)



    • Hey Anne-Marie. As far as I can remember from doing this walk last summer, you wouldn’t be able to do it with a buggy. I could be wrong, but I remember the start of the walk being very gravelly underfoot. Again, I may be wrong! Enjoy the trip!

    • Hey Terence,

      The short walk is a up-and-down-the-same-way job. The longer walk is a loop. So you follow the trail from the visitor centre/car park and you follow a path that winds up to the summit. You then continue over the summit and follow the trail back around to the car park.

      Safe climbing!



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