19 – Killary Fjord – The Wild Atlantic Way
If you are interested in visiting Ireland’s only Fjord, you will find the perfect base in Letterfrack. Number 6 on the list is the Dramatic Killary Fjord which is just 10 minutes drive away from the Connemara National Park.
Killary Harbour stretches out 16km from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Aasleagh and reaches down over 45m in its center.
It is only a 10min drive from Letterfrack/Connemara to the start of the Walk and even without a car you will be able to hitch a lift easily.
You will find yourself in the middle of vast fields and hills with the sun at your back, giving the scenery a beautiful golden touch.
The wind can be freezing though – make sure you carry enough warm layers, also scarf and beanie as the wind can be changing throughout the walk. It might be calm and warm going uphill just to be exposed and windy 2 minutes later.
The whole of the walk would be around 4-5 hours, depending on your speed and amount of breaks/photo-stops. It is definitely an easy one as such – pretty flat and no actual climbing required.
Considering the length you would class it as an intermediate hike.
The first part of the track is a gravel road. You will pass Killary Sheep Farm and will soon be surrounded by sheep, with stone walls on your right, separating you from a small, steep pasture and the water.
In spring or early summer you might be lucky seeing dolphins following the salmon migration. In winter there are only a couple of ships harvesting lines of mussels.
As you walk further the path narrows and turns to grass, you will need to climb over some stones for a few meters.
The open ocean is now visible in the far – the view is great with its blue calm water and with clouds crawling over the top of the mountains around.
Halftime would be in the fishing village Rosroe – have a look around at the pier or just turn left to start your way back.
You might meet some nice local farmers who can tell you about the historical importance of the Fjord during the Great Famine.
From now on the walk is wheelchair-proof again: little streets, occasionally shared with cars, passing some cute little stone huts on your left and the beginning of Lough Muck on your right.
Next is the bigger Lough Fee, which offers an amazing view over the lake with the mountains in the far end.
Now either keep to the left and stay on Connemara Loop to enjoy the last 30 minutes of easy, relaxed walking along the Lake, or go right and choose the little adventure:
You will have to open (and please close) a couple of gates. Stay right next to the water and eventually jump on the track. Be prepared to get wet shoes (in winter or after rain), the little path might require a lot of jumping over puddles or from stone to stone. If you allow it, it can be loads of fun.
I really enjoyed walking along the fjord and the lakes. It is a great hike for a day, where you feel the distance you leave behind.
I didn’t meet any other hikers and the first half of the track is far away from any streets and noises – you are only surrounded by the sound of the wind, birds and the water, which made the hike extremely peaceful and enjoyable for me.
Don’t expect a massive Norwegian Fjord before you come, but be open-minded and prepared, it is definitely worth it.
You will get to see:
Ireland’s only fjord, mountains, sheep, mussel and salmon farms, lonely stone huts and walls, wind bended trees, little waterfalls, more sheep, a pier, lots of different birds, two lakes, possibly dolphins
What to take:
Your camera, good shoes/boots, warm clothes (in winter at least) and a windbreaker, your phone – reception shouldn’t be a problem anywhere.