With three mountain ranges to choose from in County Galway, it’s finding enough time to take in all three that’s the problem.
Here are some of the best spots for mountaineering in Galway:
The Twelve Bens
This mountain range is located in Connemara, near Roundstone Village. Geologists amongst you will be keen to know that the mountains are made up of gneiss, sandstone, mudstone, gabbro, mica schist and marble, and the soil type is peat. Experienced mountain climbers can climb all 12 peaks in one day! Ben Baun, the highest peak in the range is 730 metres.
At the foot of The Twelve Bens mountain range lies Lough Inagh, with the Maum Turks on the other side of the Lough. Breathtaking scenery is definitely the highlight, but you might also look out for hares, otters, freshwater pearl mussel and common frogs (all protected species). This area is unique in the fact that it contains rare plant and animal species.
This mountain range is also located in Connemara. The highest peak of the Maum Turks is 703 metres. The mountains run from Maam Cross to Leenane. The Maum Turk mountain walk begins in the car park of the Holy Shrine of Máméan. It’s a circular route and not for the faint hearted.
The walk goes through the centre of the Maum Turks and you’ll have a number of challenging peaks to climb. Be aware of steep sides and cliff ravines.
Slieve Aughty Mountains
Part of this mountain range is in County Clare and part is in Galway. The mountain range consists of two ridges, which are divided by the Owendallaigh River. Clare can lay claim to having the highest peak, Maghera.
Casileandrumleathan is the highest point on the north ridge and west of this summit is the largest wind farm in Ireland, consisting of 71 Vestas V52 wind turbines.
The Slieve Aughty Mountains are made up of Old Red Sandstone and Lower Palaeozoic rocks. The area is a mix of unplanted blanket bog, developed blanket bog and coniferous forest. It’s also a Special Protection Area for bird life.
Preparation and safety advice
Not being the prophet of doom here but mountain climbing does carry risks. It can be quite dangerous so bear the following in mind before setting off:
Consider your fitness, experience, and abilities – don’t push yourself!
Check the weather forecast and more importantly how this relates to the mountains.
Dress appropriately and wear proper climbing boots.
Ensure you’ve learned how to navigate.
Take what you need for the journey without ending up like a camel.
If you’re not sure about the way ahead, do not proceed, turn back, and leave it for another day.