The 5th annual Inishbofin Walking Festival will take place from Friday the 22nd of April to Sunday April 24th. The weekend will offer people the wonderful opportunity to explore both the island of Inishbofin and Inishark through a number of different organised walks. Participants will be offered the opportunity to take in the stunning Atlantic coastlines, majestic sea cliffs, ancient boglands, pristine beaches and gently undulating hills of the islands, while in the company of expert local guides who will offer a perspective on the landscape from their area of knowledge.
Over the course of the weekend there will be 5 walks taking place which range in both distance and difficulty while taking in different parts of the islands. These walks can be booked individually or with a weekend pass allowing you attend all of the walks over the course of the weekend. However places are limited.
The event will be officially launched on Friday the 22nd of April with live music, a meet-and-greet with all guides, and an opening presentation from native Inishbofin historian and archaeologist Tommy Burke, entitled “Know Your Island”.
Here’s a rundown of what you can enjoy over the weekend:
Walk 1: Dawn Chorus Walk (Start time 6.30am)
(Distance: 4km, Grade: Easy)
An early morning walk to look and listen for Inishbofin’s birds. The event is led by Anthony McGeehan, an island regular and author of two books on Irish birds, partly based on his visits to Inishbofin. This walk is always hugely popular, and it is a wonderful way to start off a great day of walking. Rise and shine with the birds of Inishbofin!
The Dawn Chorus walk will finish up at the Dolphin Hotel, where walkers can avail of a hearty breakfast to set them up for the day ahead!
Walk 2: March to the Castle (Start time 10am)
(Distance: 5km, Grade: Moderate-Strenuous)
Tommy Burke leads a walk to Cromwell’s Castle, the imposing 17th Century star-shaped fortress that sits at the mouth of the harbour. Discover what first lead the Spanish pirate Don Bosco, ally of Granuaile, and then the forces of Oliver Cromwell to build strongholds on this site. The route will then head east along the southern coastal hills of Knock townland, taking in the ruins of the 18th Century village at the Poirtíns, before finishing on Dumhach Beach.
Walk 3: Shoreline Ecology and Island Botany Walk (Start time 12.30pm)
(Distance: 3km, Grade: Easy)
Marine biologist Dave McGrath takes the lead as he shines a light on the ecology of the island’s shoreline with a walk along Dumhach beach. Botanist Sinead Keane then leads you west on a walk while she interprets the flora of Bofin, informing Festival-goers about the plant life of the island, and paying particular attention to the medicinal qualities of the native herbs and plants. The husband and wife duo will provide a great education on the natural environment which the Festival takes place in, all while leading a relaxed walk along relatively easy terrain.
Walk 4: Westquarter Wander (Start time 3.30pm)
(Distance: 7km, Grade: Moderate)
Renowned archaeologist and Connemara native Michael Gibbons takes the lead on this exploration of the island’s rugged Westquarter, taking in Iron Age promontory fort sites, and informing walkers about 6000 years of island inhabitation.
Walk 5: Visit to Inishark (Sunday 24th, Ferry at 11.30am, Walk Start Time 12.00pm)
(Distance: 4.5km, Grade: Moderate)
A day-trip to the neighbouring island of Inishark, whose population were evacuated permanently in October 1960. Learn about what caused the demise of this beautiful island, visit the archaeological sites on the island and walk the coastline of stunning cliffs and imposing sea-stacks. This trip will be weather-permitting.
Citylink are supporting this event and provide a direct bus connection from Galway City to Cleggan where the ferry to Inishbofin departs. Citylink offer 3 daily departures from Galway City to Cleggan and 3 daily departures from Cleggan to Galway.
- For a full list of accommodation available on Inishbofin, please see www.inishbofin.com/category/accommodation. Book early to avoid disappointment!
- For any further queries please contact the Inishbofin Tourism Office on 095-45989, or email firstname.lastname@example.org