Hiking the Grounds of Beautiful Ballynahinch Castle, Galway, Ireland

Ireland is a magical, beautiful place. I would love to go back again someday. The tour I took last summer was a “Castle” tour, so in addition to touring Ireland during the day, the nights were just as magical because they were spent sleeping in fairy tale castles and manor homes along the way.

I loved all the homes and castles we stayed in, but my favorite of all was Ballynahinch Castle located in a remote area of Connemara, Co. Galway Ireland. In a previous post I shared the room I stayed in during our time there.


It had the most amazing view looking out over the river that runs behind the castle.

View from my room at Ballynahinch


(Find that previous post here: Beautiful Bedroom in Ballynahinch Castle.)

Beautiful View from my room at Ballynahinch


During one of our free days at Ballynahinch Castle, Teresa (pictured below) and I decided to explore the grounds of Ballynahinch Castle. The castle is part of a private, wooded, 700 acre estate. Teresa and I first met when I blogged about a trip I had planned to Holland & Belgium during tulip time. She joined in on that trip and we instantly hit it off becoming great friends. The Castle tour of Ireland was our second trip together, and since then we are always plotting and texting about future trips. She just got back from Africa where she and hubby had the most amazing trip.

During our hike this day, we came across a boat and Teresa hopped in for a quick photo. She tried to talk me into getting in for a photo, but I had this image of me ending up in the water and decided I’d pass. lol

A Hike Around Ballynahinch


I’m going to take you inside Ballynahinch in another post very soon, but today we’re hiking the paths around Ballynahinch. On this day I really wanted to see if I could take a photo of the back of the castle, that iconic and enticing view I had seen in photos prior to our trip.

We hiked in the general direction of where we thought we would need to be to capture that picture. That led us away from the castle down the long, winding, scenic drive we had taken to reach the castle. Eventually we ended up at the gates of the property. I’m not sure what the little white house is that just inside the gates. I think our guide said it was a guest house, but I may be remembering wrong. At first he told us it was THE castle and where we would be staying. Ha! He enjoyed pulling our legs occasionally on this trip across Ireland. lol

Entrance to Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Co. Galway Ireland


Ireland is so beautiful, and everywhere you look you see ancient history. Even its wonderful rock walls give you a sense of the amazing history of this country. I loved this beautiful, moss-covered wall we passed near the entrance to Ballynahinch.

Moss-Covered Wall, Ballynahinch Castle, Galway Ireland


At the end of the driveway, we turned right and headed deep in the woods down a really pretty, winding path. We could tell that the path ran parallel to the river, so we felt like we were on the right track to find the back view of the castle overlooking the river. Every so often we would take little rabbit trails off to the right of the main path, looking to see if we could spot the castle in the distance. Often the ground was quite soggy, so we had to be careful with our footing.

Hiking Trail, Ballynahinch Castle, Galway Ireland


Eventually we came upon a path that looked promising and ventured down the sloping path toward the river, trying not to fall. There it was, in the distance we could see Ballynahinch!

Ballynahinch Castle Spotted While Hiking at Ballynahinch Castle


We started inching back toward the castle moving a bit closer and closer. Eventually the ground was too wet to go any further. Even the little wooden foot-bridge ahead was covered in water.

Beautiful Ballynahinch Castle, Galway Ireland


I really wanted that photo, though, so using a telephoto lens, I zoomed in for a better view.

Hiking at Ballynahinch Castle


Ballynahinch is such a beautiful castle, and this day surrounded by a misty fog that hung low over the mountains behind the castle, it looked especially mysterious and magical.

Hiking Around Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Ireland


Zooming in a little more, I could see my room just to the left of the section that juts out on the far right of the castle.

Hike The Trails at Ballynahinch Castle, Ireland


If you ever visit Ireland, stay at least one night in Ballynahinch Castle if you can arrange it. It’s simply one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever stay.

Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Co. Galway Ireland


This is front of Ballynahinch Castle…


…and in a post very soon I’m taking you inside this historical castle.


If you’re reading this at night before turning in for bed, I hope it brings you wonderful dreams of beautiful, woodland paths and fairy tale castles. Sweet dreams!

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  1. Beautiful. Fairy tale castle in deed.

    • Gwendoline says

      Just what I needed to help me sleep. Have a lot on my mind of late and not sleeping too well but these lovely pictures along with your narrative have soothed my troubled mind. Thank you Susan dear!

  2. Beautiful, Susan! It looks just like one imagines Ireland to be – misty, romantic and very green. Are the huge shrubs at the front of the castle Hydrangea? They frame it so well.
    You did an excellent job zooming in on the castle from a soggy vantage point. Well done! It’s tricky getting those shots without ending up soaked yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ann E Friend Seigman says

    Beautiful! My son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren visited Ireland some years ago. They simply loved it and wanted the rest of our family to plan a trip to all go there together someday…well, my grandson is a marine, I have 3 grandchildren in college now and the others and 3 are still in school. I don’t think that it will happen now. 🙁 Time goes too quickly!

    Thank you for the letting me tag along on the hike this morning. It was just what I needed to get my day started! Ann

    • Ann, I was thinking about that the other day, how much I’d love to take my son, dil and grandchildren on a special trip. It’s hard to pick the perfect time when they aren’t too young or when it doesn’t effect school or work.

      • Ann E Friend Seigman says

        Do it! Plan a trip! My husband and I took our whole family (14 of us) on an Alaskan Cruise and Land Tour about 10 years ago. Unfortunately the youngest, Gideon, doesn’t remember it, but the others talk about it now and then and wonder when Nana and Pops are going to take them again! I have a picture of all of us that was taken the formal evening on the ship and a couple of photos of my children and their families that I took when we were out and about that I keep out and remember. 🙂 We went in July so school wasn’t a factor. We used frequent flyer miles, so that helped with the expense of airfare. The planning and anticipation is so much fun. You will have memories that money can’t buy! I hope that you do it! 🙂

    • Ann E Friend Seigman says

      Oh, my goodness, I did not capitalize MARINE! Please forgive me, Elijah, and all the other Marines and their families out there!!!

  4. I love reading about all the places you travel to. Such amazing pics. Thanks for the share.

    • Thanks so much, Sharon! When I travel, I’m always trying to find a way to take you all with me, trying to place you there with me as much as I can with my camera.

  5. Rebecca Dexter says

    In the county in which I live (Door in WI) we have similar rock walls that were built by farmers clearing their land. Every spring they have to go out and pick rocks out of the field that the weather has heaved up. They add these to the walls. I wonder if this is the same reason for the rock walls in Ireland…does anyone know? The castle is beautiful…could the house be the gatekeeper’s house? Love Ireland..love seeing your pictures.

    • Thanks, Rebecca!
      Yes, I remember our guide saying the same thing about all the hand-built rock walls we saw all over Ireland. I could not get over how well-built/sturdy they were because he told us they didn’t use any cement or mortar in between the rocks. They just know how to fit them in together so the walls stayed put. There really is an art to wall building with rocks culled from the land.
      You may be right, that may have been the gatekeepers house. If it was, it was a grand one! Quite fancy! Maybe they have several gate keepers who all lived together in the same house and took shifts, because it looked like a pretty large home.

  6. So beautiful and looks so peaceful.

  7. Awesome!

  8. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    The green of the land stirs something primal in me. *sigh* You were one lucky lady to be able to go there.

    For those interested, here’s how to pronounce the name of the castle: https://www.howtopronounce.com/ballynahinch/

    • That is a terrific link. At one of the stops on the tour, two fellas did correct my southern pronunciation of ballynahinch. They were having a good ole time joking around. We found the Irish so friendly and jovial.
      The castle tour was idyllic and we had lots of time on a comfy tour bus to view the countryside.

    • Yup, that’s exactly how it’s pronounced. 🙂

  9. Cyndi Raines says

    Did you meet any Leprechauns or sweet fairies during your hike? What a lovely castle and beautiful grounds. All very enchanting.

  10. Susan, tell me the truth…..Do your Hydrangeas look like the ones in the photo? If they do, I need to know how you do it. If they don’t, I’ll feel better. Instantly.

    • Definitely not! lol I only have three hydrangeas, one near my mailbox and two in planters in front of the house. The two in front of the house do reward me with amazing blooms every year. I think they grow so well in Ireland because of all the rain they get and their mild temps. I don’t think it ever gets really hot there like it does here in the south.

  11. Marlene Stephenson says

    It is a great place to visit and i an planning to return, all the beautiful flowers and little narrow roads. Thanks Susan i love reliving these memories.

  12. Stunning photos, such lovely views

  13. Ann Peterson says

    Did you go thru a travel agent to book a “castle” tour? Lovely,lovely place. Can’t wait to see the inside pictures!

  14. Beautiful! It is almost prettier in the back. That photo was worth the hike. I can’t wait to see the inside.

  15. Bobbi Duncan says

    Susan, I love seeing any pictures of the country where my grandmother and all her family were from–hope I’ll get to see that enchanting place myself one day. The misty fog made for a perfect picture! The county that we live in has mile after mile of dry-stacked stone walls running along beautiful rolling terrain. It is always green here (like Ireland) because our soil is limestone. I absolutely love taking drives here and feel very fortunate to have such breathtaking scenes through all the seasons. Looking forward to the rest of your castle tour. Hugs!

  16. Enchanting!!! franki

  17. Such a magical place to stay!

  18. Susan, Your trip sounds wonderful. I enjoyed being with you as you anticipated each turn. Look forward to your next post of the inside.
    The hydrangeas are beautiful! What month exactly were you there?

  19. Your photos are gorgeous, and I know about hanging onto cliffs and wading in freezing water for just the right shot. Grins, what a great trip!

  20. We visited there in 2012! We stayed 2 nights at Ballynahinch, but drove all over Ireland for week. And you’re right! Ballynahinch & Connemara were our favorite parts too. I really enjoyed reading your post and recalling our visit. We hope to return! We currently live in Belgium and our enjoying trips all over Europe. Bon voyagesto you!

    Do you recall the name of the castle ruin in the middle of the lake on the property? We found it on one of our hikes, but I can’t find any info on it.

    • I would love to go back, too! I didn’t realize there were ruins on the property, never saw those while we were hiking the property. How interesting! Would love to have come across them. I did see some ruins when I was staying at The Lake Hotel in Killarney, though…they are visible from the hotel itself.

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