Forum Connemara

Rural Recreation & Walks Scheme

To promote and develop rural recreation
in the Gaeltacht and non
Gaeltacht regions of Connemara.


Forum Connemara are responsible for the administration
of the Rural Recreation Programme since May 2012.
The Rural Recreation Programme enables the Company
to employ a Rural Recreation Officer. 

The responsibilities of this person include the following:

Promoting and encouraging the development, delivery and improvement of recreational projects,
infrastructure and activities including land, water and air based activities

Development, improvement and promotion of other outdoor recreational activities,
including mountain access

Management of the Walks Scheme


The Walks Scheme is administered by Forum Connemara with the assistance of the National Trails Office at the Irish Sports Council and Fáilte Ireland and in association with local walking management committees and Local Authorities on behalf of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

It is a national scheme and open to all landholders on National Waymarked Ways,  Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes along with other trails that have been approved by the National Trails Office.  The scheme will only operate where there is agreement on the entire walk and will not be available for part of a walk.
The Walks Scheme is aimed at private landowners who will be paid to carry out a specified and agreed maintenance plan for approved walking routes through their lands (5-year contracts).

Some Current Projects

The Western Way

Is a long distance hiking trail that starts in Oughterard in County Galway and progresses north through County Mayo and on to the County Sligo border near Bunnyconellan, over 200 kilometres from the start. 

Collaboration work is already taking place between Forum Connemara, SW Mayo Development Company, the local authorities and Coillte to bring the Western Way to a standard of excellence in the next few years.

Slí Chonamara  

Plans for an overview of this walk are currently being discussed between the Rural Recreation Officer and relevant bodies.

The Blueway

will be a network of “free water trails” at selected individual sites, at which it will be possible to experience a variety of water based activities, including kayaking and snorkelling, in a safe controlled environment. It will be possible to experience these sites on an individual basis or as part of continual water based odyssey along the west coast from South Galway to North West Mayo.

This is another collaboration project between Galway and Mayo.  Old Head in Mayo will be the first pilot site of the Blueway.  Two sites have been identified and being developed in Galway.


Roundstone Walks

Inis Nee has proven a huge success with on average 30 people a day walking it.  Permissive Access has been received by the Community Council in relation to another loop in the Roundstone area.  An appropriate screening assessment has recently been done on the trail.  It is hoped that work will commence in the next few weeks and that this trail will be open by late Spring.

Carna Walks

Carna hosts some of the most spectacular costal rambles in Connemara.  Permissive access has been received by the walks committee for a loop in Moyrus.  Work will commence in late Spring.  Other locations in Carna are being assessed for potential walks.


Projects need to have full support of the Community to ensure success. The Rural Recreation Officer would be delighted to hear from Community Groups, businesses and individuals in relation to projects in their area. If you have an idea or plans to develop a recreation project, please feel free to contact Rosaleen for advice and information.

Brendan O’Malley, Rural Recreation Officer, FORUM Connemara, Old Boys School, Clifden. Co. Galway.
Tel 087 9633366