The Killary Fjord Famine Walk is also known as the Killary Harbour Coastal walk and is an incredibly scenic hike in the Connemara region of Galway. It is right along the coast of one of Ireland‘s most impressive fjords. You can do this walk as a loop or a linear route and see some truly outstanding scenery. If you, like me are always looking for new hikes in Connemara to try out, this is a must-do!
Where is the Killary Coastal Hike? Killary Fjord Famine Walk
The hike starts in Benowen and takes you right along the edge of the Fjord, all the way out to the west coast at Rosroe Pier. From there you can turn back the way you came, or keep going the narrow roads until you loop back to the N59, taking you back to the start again.
Parking for the Walk:
There are a few options here but no “real” car park. After heading out of Leenane west on the N59, you will eventually see a right turn for Benowen and a sign for the Killary Sheep Farm opposite. You can pull in at this sign if there is room – there is a small area to pull in but it will only fit 1 or 2 cars max.
Alternatively, you can take the turn for Benowen and pull in somewhere along the route. It is a narrow road but there are some places you can abandon ship – just don’t block the road! The sheep won’t appreciate it!
Killary Harbour coastal walk map/ Killary Harbour famine walk map
Killary Harbour Coastal Walk Loop Map
Killary Famine Walk Linear Map
How long is Killary Fjord Famine Walk? Killary coastal Walk Distance:
Linear Route: The linear route is about 7 km each way – a 14 km round trip
Circular route: This route is around 18 km. Although it looks much longer on the map, it’s not really!
Is the Killary Coastal Walk Difficult?
Nope! It is super easy in terms of elevation and inclines. But it is a long walk, so a relatively good level of fitness is needed to do the whole thing. Remember, you don’t have to do it all, you can turn back at any time. I am yet to do the whole thing!
Why is it called a Famine Walk, and what is a Famine Road?
The potato famine began in 1845 when the potato crop failed. While a million people are known to have died, under British Rule, some took to building roads, in order to earn some money for food. Sadly, the money was too little and this physically demanding work resulted in a great number of deaths.
The roads can still be seen in the West of Ireland today, leading nowhere in particular, and ending abruptly. Roads with no real purpose but to keep men busy.
The walk is named a Famine walk as much of the route is on an old famine road.
Killary Fjord Walk – My Experience – Leenane Loop Walks
The walk itself is beautiful, despite the sad link to the road which you pass over. I followed the winding country road and couldn’t believe it as the views got better and better around every turn.
As is typical of the west of Ireland, it was a dull, overcast rainy day with foggy clouds hanging low over the fjord. But with that, came multiple rainbows that stretched happily overhead!
From burbling streams to howling wind and bleating of sheep, the noises of and sights of Connemara were a wonderful escape from my usual surroundings.
We only went so far as the Sheep farm on this route, which is about a 3rd of the linear route. I’ll definitely be back to do the rest.
Tinyboots (thinking about where I’m going to stop for snacks on the drive home below!)
This walk has various names from the Killary Harbour loop walk, to the Famine walk in Leeane.