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Inishbofin Walking Festival 2016

April 22 - April 24


The 5th Annual Inishbofin Walking Festival will take place from Friday April 22nd to Sunday April 24th. This weekend will offer people a wonderful opportunity to explore the islands of Inishbofin and Inishark through a diverse series of walks. 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. Our experienced lead guides are drawn from the fields of history, archaeology, marine biology, botany, and ornithology.

Online ticket sales now open! Get yours at: Please note there is a €2.45 service charge from the ticket hosting site.


Festival Launch

Registration and reception at the Community Centre on Friday night from 8.30pm, 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”. This opening event will be finished up by approx. 10pm, allowing all Festival attendees to get an early night ahead of a feast of walking the following day!

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 us 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)

(Supplement of €15 for the ferry transfer)

A day-trip to our 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.


More information

  • A weekend pass for the Festival will cost €30 (trip to Inishark is a supplement of €15 to cover additional transport by ferry). Alternatively, if you only wish to avail of one or two of the walks on offer, they will all be individually priced at €10.
  • We are of course dependent on the weather for the trip to Inishark!
  • Please be aware of weather forecast before travelling and pack accordingly….rain gear, walking poles, hiking boots, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses etc.
  • For any budding musicians there will be an open traditional music session on Saturday evening, all welcome to join in!
  • For a full list of accommodation available on Inishbofin, please see Book early to avoid disappointment!
  • Citylink provide the direct bus connection from Galway city to Cleggan, from where the Inishbofin ferry departs. As part of our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of our Walking Festival, we would strongly encourage all Festival attendees to leave the car at home and travel with Citylink. Citylink can deliver you to the Inishbofin ferry from Dublin Airport, Dublin City, Cork, Limerick, Athlone and throughout Connemara. See for bookings and timetables.
  • Our Walking Festival aims to promote principles of Leave No Trace and all Festival-goers will be familiarised with these over the weekend. Leave No Trace is an ‘Outdoor Ethics Education Programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation’. Inishbofin is in the process of becoming Ireland’s first Leave No Trace Island partner and we hope that all visitors will be aware of how to practise the Leave No Trace ethics while on the island.
  • For any further queries please contact the Inishbofin Tourism Office on 095-45989, or email
  • Find us on social media:






April 22
April 24


Inishbofin Community Services Programme


Inishbofin Island
Co. Galway Ireland + Google Map