Whilst on a road trip through the Wild Atlantic Way we decided to stop off at Clifden for a few days and take the plunge and go hiking the 6.8km trail of Diamond Hill through Connemara National Park and embrace County Galway’s vast mountain scenes, The Diamond Hills stunning summit offering 360 degree views, is an isolated peak overlooking the village of Letterfrack, and the Twelve Bens.
Located only 15 minutes from the town of Clifden and set in the vilage of Letterrack.
Take the N59 (Westport Road) towards Letterfrack. Before entering the village of Letterfrack you will see a sign for the National Park on the right hand side of the road. Turn right here and follow the road to the car park
Follow the N59 (Leenane Road) towards Leenane, remain on the N59 to Letterfrack. 200 metres after the village you will find the main entrance for the National Park on your left hand side. Follow the road to the car park.
Travel along the N59 to Clifden and then follow the directions above for travel from Clifden to Letterfrack (Distance Approx 93 kms).
The Diamond Hill Hike has 4 tracks green, red, blue and yellow with only the red reaching the summit.
The green track is a simple easy 0.5km nature trail, great for families and has a attached kids play area.
Is a 1.5 km walking track looping at the foot at the hill. Easy conditions well pathed and enjoyable for all.
The blue track is 3km track with a few climbs, but these climbs are well patbed easily accessed and generally suitable for most people.
The Red track is the most difficult and is the one taking you to the summit. In parts some small climbs are necessary and the tracks can be hard to see but this is only for a short period. All in all a level of fitness is need for this track but it certainly wouldn’t be too difficult.
Note: the tracks link up together meaning that the full length if completing the red track comes to 6.8 km.
Diamond Hill Facts
Elevation: 442 metres
Mountain Range: Twelve Bens
Entry to the Diamond Hill and Connemara National Park is free of charge and ample parking is provided.
Please respect the national park and always bring away what you take in.
Hike Diamond Hill The Start
Starting at the car park and information centre heading up the hill on the exposed gravel track away from the buildings.
As you can see below these tracks at the start are great and very well maintained.
The First Climb
The first part of hike of Diamond Hill is fairly easy bringing you through bog land, with very minimal imcline. (Leading you into a false sense of security for later)
It’s at this point you really start to feel the rugged and wild and vast nature of this land .
After about half a kilometer you start the first little climb up the south side. This part of the climb is fairly easy the use of stones are in place to climb to easily assist.
The First Vantage Point
At the top of the climb is where the views and the sights of this stunning landscape start to show. It really is a moment to stand back and take it all in.
Top Tip: we took to the hill around 9 am and were the only ones there compares to coming down around 11 and it being far busier.
From the first vantage point you head up a few more bends and steps a couple of more breathtaking views, again at the point things are well payhed maintained and accessible for anyone with any general fitness.
Hitting The Red Route
After getting up through the first few climbs you come to the break off point where you can continue round on the easier yellow and blue routes or march on to the summit and the red route.
We chose the red route for the summit. As you can see you can see above the route is a loop over the top of the hill.
Top tip: on our climb wind speeds were nearly up at 35 kms the front of the hill climb is exposed to the sea breeze from the Atlantic. Check winds before you leave.
It’s at this point tracks start to narrow and inclines get a bit harder. Still very manageable though and certainly easy enough
The next point brings you to a ledge for some great views of the Connemara National Park.
The video below shows walking up to the edge you can hear the wind battering us. What you can’t tell from the video is how difficult getting to the ledge. The wind at this point we found at its hardest .
We had been fairly impressed by how manageable the hike so far had been. But now things were getting steeper, narrower and with the wind causing off balance certainly more challenging.
We then started to encounter a few climbs and extremely steep parts, climbing a few rock faces and again trying to succeed these with the wind on our back was a bit challenging.
A look around for another view of this beautiful landscape and it was time to hit the summit.
Hike The Diamond Hill Summit
The final hike to the summit wasn’t to bad, again other than the wind. It was well maintained and warily accessed
Descending Diamond Hill
And then comes the descent. Firstly this is far easier as the wind is now blocked by the Hill and a chance to catch your breath.
After a few steep steps the view out the back of the mountain is truly amazing. Luckily the weather did play its part along the way.
Once you turn a little corner your view shines out towards Polladirk Valley, such a vast and striking landscape. With the stream of water running through the mountains and only the sounds of water running this is a great place to stop and reflect.
The walk does starts to get much easier from here on in. The include is still fairly steep, however the well pathed tracks make it a whole lot easier.
At the bottom there is cafe and toilets, with benches and a area to rest and refuel. Also located here is a tourist information centre.
Other Local Attractions
Located just 5 minutes away is the stunning mahor House Kylemore Abbey.
The Kylemore Abbey and Walled Gardens were Originally built as a Castle in 1867 as a romantic gift.
Kylemore Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes are steeped in history.
Open to the public Kylemore Abbey offer a Gothic Church, the spectacular Victorian Walled Gardens, a working Craft Shop, Restaurant and Tea Rooms not forgetting the Lake and Woodland walks.
Take the Sky Road from Clifden to Letterfrack see stunning views across the Wild Atlantic Way and western coastline.
The Clifden castme ruins is also located on this road take the walk down to this 19th building and see this once Castle and Manor House.
Where To Stay
The Station House Hotel in Clifden is the perfect choice.
The once Galway Clifden railway which was built on 1895 and closed in 1935 the buildings where used by Millars Connemara tweed Mills until the early 90’s and then laid derelict until 1998 when businessman Johen Sweeney bought the site and redeveloped it using all the original buildings. Like the old stationmasters house which is now the hotel restaurant “Signal Restaurant”.
Such facilities sr the hotel include
- Signal restaurant
- Renew Health and Beauty
- Pool and jacuzzi
- Lounge Bar
- Conference rooms
See Station House Hotel website HERE
More Wild Atlantic Way
This isn’t the only part of the Wild Atlantic Way we have done we have also, had a road trip to the picturesque village of Doolin and the legendary Cliffs of Moher. See our Road Trip. Further to the North West corner we experienced the historical town of Killala also steeped in history.
We also like a bit of wild adventure and have a great trip Caving at Swildon’s Hole on the Mendips to name one this is well worth a read if like something extreme.
It is with 4 tracks there is something for all the family although only 1 route the red gets your to the top.
Allow 3 – 4 hours and always check when sunset is, we say best to go in the mornings
The Summit is at 442 metres
Yes the cafe the Hungry Hiker cafe is located a short walk from the car park.
If attempting the red or blue comfortable shoes preferably hiking boots would be appropriate. The other routes comfortable trainers will be fine.
25 replies on “Hiking Diamond Hill Connemara”
It looks a great hike. Hopefully we’ll get to visit Galway ourselves later in the year. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, much much windier than we hiked it! That’s pretty wild how loud it is in that video. Your pictures took me back to my hike. So glad you got to experience it’
It’s been years since I’ve been to Connemara and I’ve never done this hike but it looks like a great one! The views from the top are stunning!
Brilliant pics, especially from the bottom up the stairs with lots of sky.. Loving it. Good read too. I think Ellie and I would’ve gone for the red route too. 🙂
It looks lovely, apart from that wind!! The views are great from the top 🙂
I’ve been following along with these beautiful sights from your Instagram account, it’s nice to read about the full experience! That wind is really something but those views are worth it!
Wow the Diamond Hill Summit has some pretty impressive views!!!
I really love hiking. Working in the office I felt tired so much. At weekends I go hiking. This makes me more energetic and makes my mood fresh increase my work power.
Hiking is great to be out in nature and the fresh air is so good for us
What a lovely walk with stunning views along the way. The wind sounded quite challenging though. Really enjoyed the pics as well, especially that one of Polladirk Valley -it’s glorious!
I’ve been on hikes when the wind is 35km/h- it’s a real challenge. You did well to push through it. When we were in the area in 2020 we didn’t go up cause (you guessed it ) was too windy. It’s a shame the scenery is gorgeous and your photos of the views are beautiful.
The views from the summit are incredible! I’m not the best hiker but I would give this hill a try just to take in those views.
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It seems like it would be a shame not to take the Red route, but those winds….. Wow! Gorgeous photos 🙂
I know Dave would want to do the red route, even with those winds! Think we’d manage it and the views are stunning! Great photos too.
Thank you for this detailed guide to this amazing looking hike. I’ll definetly use it if I’ll ever make it to Ireland. The views look stunning!
Incredible views from the hike and amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing those! It looks doable and even though it gets a little steep towards the end, you can still manage it. I would hate a hike that starts off easy and then turned out to be a scrambling experience.
Carolin | Solo Travel Story
What a great hike with that scenery and gorgeous views! I love those stone steps, so pretty. I’d attempt the red route to the summit for the views. That’s nice that there is a place for yum yum bits after!
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