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) //
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
// 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 //
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
5 – Achill Island for the evening
// Louisburgh to Achill – 1 hour and 15-minute drive (arrive on Achill for 17:45) //
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.
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.
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.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.