The trails on Diamond Hill are some of the most popular walks in Connemara, if not all of Ireland. It’s not hard to see why. They are easily accessible, well marked and the views are simply incredible. In fact, with the weather on your side, you’ll enjoy some of the best views the country has to offer.
Diamond Hill is located in Connemara National Park, one of six national parks in Ireland. The trails are easily accessible from the visitor centre, just a few minutes drive from the village of Letterfrack in County Galway. There is plenty of parking available, though it still gets overloaded at times. If you’re planning to visit during peak season, aim to get there early.
The drive to Connemara National Park is half the adventure. Wherever you are coming from, you will pass through some spectacular Connemara landscapes. Just take it easy on the roads as there are sheep everywhere, including the middle of the road sometimes. So take it easy on the winding roads, as you never know what’s around the bend!
Read more: 10 Things to do in Connemara
Diamond Hill at a Glance
Height: 442 metres.
Location: Connemara National Park, Letterfrack, Co. Galway.
Timing: Lower Loop Walk 1 – 1.5 hours, Lower & Upper Loop Walk 2.5 – 3 hours.
Parking: Plenty of parking available at the visitor centre, from where the trail starts.
Pros: Stunning panoramic views over Connemara and the Atlantic coast.
Cons: Can be very overcrowded during high season and on public holidays.
Dogs: Dogs are allowed on this trail but should be kept on a lead due to wildlife & farm animals in the area.
Hours: The trails are open year round and admission is free.
Diamond Hill Trails
There’s a lower and upper walk on Diamond Hill, so you have options depending on your fitness level, available time or personal preference. Both options offer stunning views but the higher you go, the better they get.
The Lower Diamond Hill Walk is 3 kms, while the Upper Diamond Hill walk is an additional 3.7 kms. So it’s a total of 6.7 kms in total from the visitor centre to the summit and return. If you have the time and the conditions are good, I’d definitely recommend including the upper loop and taking in the summit.
There are also two shorter trails from the visitor centre. The Sruffaunboy Walk is a 1.5km trail which takes in a small part of the Lower Diamond Hill Walk and then there is a small nature trail, just 0.5 kms.
Lower Diamond Hill Walk
The lower loop is fairly easy going for the most part. It’s a mix of gravel path and boardwalk without too much strenuous climbing. Though you’re only going part way up the mountain, you still take in plenty of beautiful views, the most spectacular being those towards Ballinakill Harbour and Tully Mountain in the distance.
You could probably complete the walk comfortably in about an hour, but you will find yourself stopping quite a bit to take in the views. So maybe allow a little more!
Upper Diamond Hill Wall
On the lower loop walk, you’ll meet the trail leading to the upper loop around the summit. It gets more strenuous from here but it’s well worth the effort.
It’s still a straightforward route with a clear path and there’s plenty of opportunity to stop and catch your breath along the way. The rocky pathway here is a lot narrower though, so you are asked to follow a one-way system.
Don’t be surprised to see still see people coming the opposite way though! It’s not always people ignoring the sign. If for any reason walkers decide not to tackle the summit, it’s the only way down again.
If it’s a busy day it definitely causes a hold up though, so follow the signs and complete the loop in a clockwise direction, if you can. In very bad weather or high winds the summit is best avoided.
Panoramic Views from the Summit
As you climb the views to the west just get better and better. And once you reach the summit, you’re rewarded with spectacular 360 views as you continue along the summit ridge. Prepare to be stopped in your tracks, several times!
To the north are Pollacappul Lough and Kylemore Lough. You can make out Kylemore Abbey, tucked in at the foot of Doughruagh mountain.
The stunning scenes of Polladirk Valley and many peaks of the Twelve Bens lie to the southeast, while the view south takes in the boglands and lakes of Connemara.
Connemara National Park Visitor Centre
Even if you move no further than the visitor centre, you can enjoy a really nice view of Diamond Hill. On calm days, it’s beautifully reflected in the water.
Inside the visitor centre you can view an exhibition or get information on the trails and other things to do in the area. There’s also a Tea Room serving hot drinks, cakes, sandwiches, soups and more. A number of benches are available outside, where you can enjoy a picnic on a fine day.