Diamond Hill Hike: trail + info (2023 guide)

This picturesque hike takes you through the majestic Connemara hillside. Here is everything you need to know about hiking Diamond Hill.

The captivating Diamond Hill is a hiking trail of dreams. Situated in the Connemara National Park, the views and surrounding scenery are absolutely breathtaking.

This hiking route takes you through 3,000 hectares of woodland, bog, and mountains. While the route can be challenging in parts, the views of some of the other prominent sights in Connemara are genuinely worthwhile.

Diamond Hill gets its name from its shape, which is like a diamond poking out of the earth. Depending on the sunshine, the quartzite, which forms the mountain, glistens in the sun, making it glitter as a diamond would.

While “hill” is in the name, Diamond Hill is most definitely a mountain. It stands at 442 m (1,450 ft) tall and has somewhat challenging routes. There are two routes up this mountain, which we will get into a little bit later on.

When to visit – based on weather and crowds

When to visit Diamond Hill.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

During the summer months, or on weekends and public holidays, Diamond Hill can get quite busy.

This is especially true if the weather is good; thus, we recommend getting here early to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this magical hike.

To enjoy the 360° panoramic views from the top of Diamond Hill, we suggest heading here on a day where there is lots of visibility.

This ensures that you will get to enjoy the beauty of this hike to its full potential. Wooden boardwalks and gravel footpaths ease your passage up the mountain to the ridge.

From the ridge, bask in the views of the sea to Inishturk, Inishbofen, and Inishshark; to Tully mountain rising over Ballynakill Harbour.

What to see – incredible views

There are incredible views at the summit.

As you begin the climb up Diamond Hill, you will be treated to the beauty of nature. Beautiful wildflowers, such as marsh orchids and lousewort, line the trail at the beginning.

Depending on recent rainfall, you may hear the sound of small streams trickling out of the bog and down the path.

Halfway up the mountain, you will be greeted by a monolithic stone. This large, upright, standing stone looks as though it is a lighthouse surveying the area below. From this point onwards, the hike gets a bit more challenging due to the trail’s steepness.

As you reach the summit, you will become amazed by the panoramic views of the breathtaking Connemara landscape.

The Twelve Bens on Diamond Hill are particularly beautiful.
Credit: commonswikimedia.org

One of the most spectacular features is the Twelve Bens, a mountain range dotted with streams, valleys, and luscious green spaces.

Often you can spot a hint of purple on the mountains, which is another type of wildflower native to Ireland, heather.

Facing inland on a sunny day, you will see Pollacappul Lough and Kylemore Lough shimmering below.

While on the other side, you will be treated to views of the Atlantic Ocean and the countless idyllic islands. These views are truly spectacular, so be sure to have enough time to enjoy them.

Keep your eyes peeled for the picturesque Kylemore Abbey on the shores of Kylemore Lough. Enjoy the sight of this baronial castle set against the backdrop of the Connemara countryside from another perspective.

Things to know – useful information

Useful information on the hike.
Credit: www.ballynahinch-castle.com

There are two walks on Diamond Hill. The easier of the two is the Lower Diamond Hill Walk. This trail measures approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) and is relatively easy.

It takes about an hour and a half to complete. Be aware that you don’t get the same incredible views as you would from the summit, but they are still stunning.

The second is the Upper Diamond Hill Trail, spanning an impressive 7 km (4.3 mi) in length.

This trail is a continuation of the Lower Diamond Hill Walk and takes approximately three hours to complete. The views from the top are truly spectacular. However, towards the summit, it can be quite steep.

Dogs are allowed at Diamond Hill.
Credit: Gareth McCormack for Tourism Ireland

Dogs are allowed on this hike. However, Connemara National Park asks that dog owners are responsible for their dogs. Be sure to clean up after them and be mindful of other visitors and wildlife.

The starting point for this hike is the Visitor Centre in Connemara National Park. There is ample parking available; however, it can be quite limited during the peak season due to large numbers.

Address: Letterfrack, Co. Galway

The Visitor Centre is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious homemade scone after your hike.

There are also various exhibitions for you to enjoy inside the visitor centre, which are free to access.

The Lower Diamond Hill Trail – the 1st part

Experience the beauty of Lower Diamond Hill, a delightful Irish trail that spans approximately 3 km with gentle inclines along the way.

Numerous hikers who have ventured on this trail over the past year have found it relatively easy and enjoyable.

Although you may not encounter scenery as awe-inspiring as the one captured in the photo above, you will still be treated to breathtaking views of the Connemara countryside, coastline, and nearby islands.

Essential Information to plan your hike:

Difficulty: Moderate

Estimated Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Starting Point: Connemara National Park Visitor Centre

The Upper Diamond Hill Trail – the 2nd part

Continue your adventure on the Upper Diamond Hill Trail, which seamlessly extends from the Lower Trail. This trail will lead you to the summit of Diamond Hill by way of a narrow quartzite ridge that stretches for approximately 0.5 km.

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, opt for the complete circuit encompassing the Lower and Upper trails, measuring approximately 7 km. This worthwhile Irish hike typically takes around 2.5 – 3 hours to complete.

Upon reaching the summit at an elevation of 445 meters, you will be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of the entire Connemara region.

Essential Information to plan your hike:

Difficulty: Strenuous

Estimated Time: 2.5 – 3 hours

Starting Point: Connemara National Park Visitor Centre

What’s nearby – other things to see in the area

Dog's Bay is worth a visit nearby.

We suggest heading to Kylemore Abbey after completing your hike, which is just a short eight-minute drive away.

Here, you can admire the beautiful grounds and learn about the Abbey’s rich history. There are stunning gardens to be discovered as well. Furthermore, not far from Diamond Hill is Dog’s Bay beach.

Dog’s Bay is a horseshoe-shaped white-sand beach with serene water perfect for swimming and windsurfing. Here, you can enjoy picturesque coastal views. It’s also one of the best-known nudist beaches in Ireland.

Other notable mentions

Killary Harbour: Killary Harbour or Killary Fjord is a fjord or fjard on the west coast of Ireland, in northern Connemara.

Connemara National Park Visitor Centre: Diamond Hill is reflected in the lake beside the Visitor Centre.

FAQs about Diamond Hill

Diamond Hill has beautiful sunset views.
Credit: Instagram / @lunatheloba

Is Diamond Hill hard to climb?

Diamond Hill is a challenging climb. However, it’s not beyond anyone with moderate fitness.

Are dogs welcome on Diamond Hill?

Yes, dogs are welcome on Diamond Hill. The top can be quite tricky so just be sure to keep an eye on your pooch.

How long does it take to walk up Diamond Hill?

On average, it takes around three hours.

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