Start / Finish Moyrus cemetary / Beach (7km from Carna)
Terrain Shore, beach, bóithrín (narrow country road)
Grade Easy to moderate
Duration 1 – 1.5 hours
Located 5km west of Carna Village, this marvellous looped walk starts at the cemetery by the shores of the white sandy beaches of Moyrus. Still standing here are the remains of an ancient church believed to date back to the 6th century. The site is also the resting place of many famous local sean-nós luminaries, including Joe Heaney and Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha.
Also located nearby is the site of an old Protestant church established by the Irish Christian Missions in the mid-1800s. Walkers should head in a south-westerly direction across the beach to Gob a Phuint. From here, the walk continues along the rocky shoreline to the secluded wonder of Trá Mhóir. As you continue on, you will discover the recently restored ‘EIRE’ lettering from wartime.
As you reach the end of the beach, walking past a small inlet and pier, turn left at a white seaside cottage. This small bóithrín (small narrow road) will bring you up to the main road and present you with a choice at the end.
Turning right leads to Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station (MET Éireann). More wartime history will be evident here, including an old lookout shelter on the headland where you can enjoy breathtaking views across the sea to Saint MacDara’s Island and its iconic stone oratory. An annual pilgrimage to the island takes place on 16th July when a mass is held in the small church, as well as a festival of traditonal boat racing featuring Galway Hooker sailboats and currach racing.
Turning left, meanwhile, will take you back towards Moyrus cemetery through the townland of Dubhithir and on down to the pier at Moyrus beach. By taking this route, walkers are treated to sweeping views across the bay and islands as well as a dramatic backdrop comprised of Errisbeg and the Twelve Bens mountain range.
Moyrus, Carna. Photo courtesy of Micheál Ó Clochartaigh