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The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

Day 15 (Galway and Mayo) – A hike, one of the best drives in Ireland and on to Mayo

Day 15 and 16 have two lovely hikes.

If you’re active, these will be right up your alley.

If you’re not, then sub them out for something else. There’s loads to do around Galway and Mayo to choose from.

1 – Diamond Hill 

// Clifden to Diamond Hill – 30-minute drive (arrive for 09:00) //

Our first stop of the day offers the perfect opportunity to get your heart rate up and catch one of the best views in Galway.

Something I’ve heard said on many occasions (mainly by my aul lad) is that to truly appreciate the beauty of Connemara, you need to see it from the sky – enter Diamond Hill.

On this Ireland road trip, we’re going to take the longer Upper Diamond Hill trail that takes between 2 and a half and 3 hours.

According to my Dad who has done this walk several times, climbing to the top of Diamond Hill is one of the best things to do in Galway for anyone in search of scenery that will literally knock the breath out of you.

At the summit, you’ll be treated to panoramic views across all of Connemara. Expect to see the Twelve Bens mountain range, Tully Mountain and Mweelrea to the North.

Here’s a guide on how to navigate it.

2 – Lunch in Leenaun

// Allow yourself 3 hours to climb Diamond Hill. Arrive in Leenaun for 12:30 (it’s a 20-minute drive) //

where to eat in leenaun

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Leenaun is a small, buzzy (during the tourist season) little village that offers spectacular views out over the Killary Fjord.

Nip into the little café that’s attached to the gift shop right across from the big parking area in the village and treat yourself to a post-hike feed.

3 – Aasleagh Falls

Aasleagh Falls

Photo by Bernd Meissner on Shutterstock

// Leenaun village to Aasleagh Falls – 5-minute drive (arrive for 14:10) //

You’ll find Aasleagh Falls a stone’s throw from Leenane village on the River Erriff, just before the river meets Killary Harbour.

Park the car at a lay-by close to the falls and follow the pathway to the waterfall.

Stretch the legs and gulp down lungfuls of fresh air.

4 – The wonderful Leenaun to Louisburgh Drive

// Start the drive at 14:30 //

best places to see in galway

This is one of those stretches of road that just completely shocks the system.

The scenery varies from icy lakes to rugged mountains to open country.

As you make your way along the road, you’ll pass Doo Lough, a long dark freshwater lake on the Murrisk peninsula.

Keep an eye out for a plain stone cross – it stands as a memorial to the Doo Lough Tragedy which took place in 1849

leenaun to louisburg drive

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Discover more about the Leenaun to Louisburgh drive.

5 – Achill Island for the evening

// Louisburgh to Achill – 1 hour and 15-minute drive (arrive on Achill for 17:45) //

keel beach achill island

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You’re in for a treat if you’ve never been to Achill.

Expect peat bogs, rugged mountains, towering sea cliffs and beautiful clean beaches and bays.

Our destination for this road trip is Keem Bay.

achill island aerial photo

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

If you take the road that hugs the coast, you’ll be guided along narrow roads that, at times, meander through the island and are an absolute joy to cruise along.

achill island beach

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

When you arrive to Keem Bay, hop out of the car.

Hopefully you’ll have arrived when it’s nice and quiet. Relax, take your shoes off and ramble along the shore.

When you finish up here, I recommend checking into Achill Lodge Guest House for the night.

Chill for a bit and then take the 5 minute drive to the Valley House Bar for a bite to eat.

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Leeann Nolan

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Hi Keith Thank you so much for all the work you have done on The Irish Road Trip. I have used much of it to plan my 7 week trip to Ireland in 2024. It has been invaluable :)

Mick Bourke

Sunday 24th of September 2023

G’day Keith-thanks for your trip. My wife and I will be over there in late April and most of May (about a month in total before heading to Scotland for a couple of weeks). I think I’ll be using your trip (which is great (as also is the additional info at the bottom)) as the basis for ours, however, I would like to do abit more of the inland (like a figure eight of the island). Do you have any suggestions?

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Hey Mick,

Is there anywhere in particular you have in mind with the inland section?



MIchael Katekar

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

A big thank you for all of the time and hard work you have put into this blog. Great information. I don't think we can keep up with your pace but will certainly take up many of your suggestions.

Isabella Dennison

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Good day Keith,

Wow, what an amazing work you've done! I'm forever grateful!!! Please can you email this to me. We are planning to explore Ireland for the first time this year 2023, all the way from South Africa.

Thank you

Keith O'Hara

Monday 27th of March 2023

Thanks Isabell!

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

I've tried to get this converted to PDF on a number of occasions, but the result is very messy due to the volume of photos in it.

If there's any specific questions that I can help with, please fire them on and I'll do my best to answer them.


Jodie Wilson

Sunday 26th of March 2023

First retirement trip. Ireland for a month! Go big or go home. So excited to start this new chapter in our lives - and to hit the roads of Ireland. This guide is perfect - but I’d love a more readable copy if you could email it to me.

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