Know Before You Go: This hike takes you up rock stairs that can get slippery when wet. There are not guard rails on the stairs and there is a steep drop off at the edge. The top is extremely windy, so wind-resistant, snug-fitting clothes are recommended. Length: 4.5 miles if you take the Upper Diamond Loop and the Bog Walk as a loop. Time: 2 hours. Terrain: Grass, dirt, stone, with narrow, steep stone stairs. Difficulty: Strenuous. The stairs can be very challenging. Dog-friendly: Yes. Dogs must be on a leash. Kid-friendly: Yes, if your child can handle the stairs and will stay away from the edge. Our 14-year-old son loved this hike, but it might not be appropriate for smaller children. Connemara National Park in County Galway offers several beautiful trails of varying levels of difficulty and length. We took the Upper Diamond Loop and the Bog Walk as a loop.
The Upper Diamond Loop takes you up steep, challenging stairs to a summit where, on a clear day, you can see for miles around. The fields below are bright green, punctuated by flowers and several small lakes.
This loop connects with a walk through a bog, where you can see where peat was cut from the bog. Peat has a number of uses in Ireland, fuel in particular.
A museum at the park Visitor Centre discusses the history of the area, explaining how Connemara was once covered with pine trees that gave way to the bog. The bog is now decreasing in size, so a protection initiative is underway. The museum also talks about the uses for the bog, as well as local folklore surrounding the bog.