Ireland

Seven sections,walking the Western way in the West of Ireland, including the Bangor trail

The Western Way -Bealach an Iarthair- is a long-distance walking trail taking in spectacular scenery in the counties of Galway and Mayo in the west of Ireland.
In 1994, a short preparation at home gave us the idea that the Western way was completely marked. Being there: it was not*. (nowadays it should be better, we have read). But, nevertheless, the Western-way is and was a special adventure! 

* 2019: We advise you to use the official website of the Western way when preparing your trip.
             The official route is different from the one we have followed.

Getting there: We had a flight to Dublin, from Dublin-airport by bus to the bus station in Dublin city, a bus to Galway (4 hours) and a little local bus to Glann (Oughterard). You also can book a flight to Shannon.
Accommodation: The famous B&B system was - as always - perfect. And a youth hostel in Newport. 
The maps: the Ordnance Survey of Ireland 1:50.000, nrs.37,38,44,45 en 31 and a compass!

Easter 1994: a large part of the Western way, on foot, of course, and sometimes a local bus.

Height on trail: from sea level till about 400 m.
Distances between the stage cities: 24 - 32 km.

Day 1: Oughterard - Maum/ Kylemore Lough..........................24 km
Day 2: Kylemore Lough - Leenaun
            (location for the movie the Field)..................................29 km
Day 3: Leenaun - Louisburgh.....................................................30 km
Day 4: Louisburgh - Newport (partly bus)
Day 5: Newport - Bangor Erris: The Bangor-trail.................... 32 km !
Day 6: Bangor Erris - Ballycastle ( partly bus)
Day 7: Ballycastle - Ballina (Co Mayo).......................................32 km

And from Balina the direct-bus to Dublin.

On trail:  a rugged landscape, moors, peat, Croagh Patrick, The Twelve Bens, the fantastic Bangor-trail: slowly increasing, clumps of grass and looking for the best Western-way.……...sometimes with a lot of water, from above and on the ground, in the shoes, in everything….. The trail traverses the most remote landscape. Near Glann the old Irish man said: “You’re on your own now……”, but what a landscape!
A landscape that is difficult to describe. Is it the emptiness, is it the colours, the magic, the ominous clouds? See picture 5 and come up with a good term of your own.  

A landscape that was, before the Great Famine (1845 en 1850 ) - when the potato crop failed in successive years - well populated by cottiers.

The Bangor trail is something special. We started in the youth hostel at Newport (the Treanlaur Lodge), early on route and just in time in half-dark at the B&B in Bangor. It’s quite a distance and on the route there is…………...nothing! 

For the whole route ensure you have: good walking shoes, rainwear, food and drinks, a mobile phone and inform your upcoming place to stay about the time of arrival.

Below a cinematic impression of parts of the Western way and the ascent of two mountains in this area. By Gerry Macveigh. It gives a very good idea of this remote area in north-west Ireland.