Top 9 walking trails in Ireland
TD active Holidays | 07 January 2022
There’s no need to travel the length of the world to enjoy an invigorating trek through the countryside, you can experience an exciting walking holiday in Ireland. The most breath-taking scenery and exhilarating hiking trails in the world can be found right here! See our suggestions below for the best hikes in Ireland.
1. Discover Killarney National Park
If you want to experience the best natural sights in Kerry and explore one of the beautiful parts of Ireland, then lace up your hiking boots and visit Killarney National Park. Ireland’s oldest national park comprises lakes, woodlands and mountains. A hike through the park and up Torc Mountain will give you views over the Three Lakes of Killarney and the McGillycuddy Reeks. A walking holiday in Kerry is a brilliant option, as you’ll be with a professional guide who will lead and perhaps uncover some hidden gems of The Kingdom.
2. Hike Croagh Patrick
If you’re going to explore Mayo, then climbing Croagh Patrick is a rewarding experience, it’s Ireland’s ‘Holiest Mountain’ and for thousands of years it has been an important pilgrimage destination. You don’t need to be a pilgrim or an expert climber for that matter to appreciate 'The Reek’, as the locals call it. If you have a good level of fitness you can enjoy an energetic hike around Croagh Patrick and take in the fantastic view of Clew Bay and the Mayo landscapes. Although it’s tradition for pilgrims to walk barefoot up the mountain, we thoroughly recommend you wear decent walking boots!
3. Trek The Great Western Greenway
There are many greenways in Ireland to explore, such as the Great Western Greenway in Mayo which begins in Westport and ends at Achill Sound - a total of 42km. There is also an opportunity to cycle this walking route. Now more than ever, many people are taking up cycling and sometimes it’s the best way to discover a destination.
4. Uncover The Burren
Although the smallest national park in Ireland the Burren, which is derived from the word ‘Boireann’ and means a rocky place, has a variety of walking trails. The Burren has fine examples of Dolmens and other prehistoric sites. If you’re staying near Doolin for a Burren walking holiday, then we recommend taking the 13km Cliffs of Moher coastal trail which runs down to Hag head. Also, if you have time whilst you’re in County Claire, you can also visit Aillwee Caves, famously featured in an episode of Father Ted as ‘The Very Dark Caves!’
5. Visit Slieve League
Walking in Donegal is a rewarding experience. It's perhaps unfairly referred to as the ‘Forgotten County’, encompasses many unspoilt and incredible natural gems. One of the best hikes in Donegal is Slieve League Mountain which offers outstanding coastal views and boasts some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. We suggest that only experienced hikers with a walking guide take the old pilgrim route ‘One Man’s Pass’, named due to its narrow ridge. And make sure to visit The Rusty Mackeral, one of the best traditional Irish pubs in Donegal for a refreshment!
6. Experience the Beara Peninsula
When you visit Cork, the Beara Peninsula is one of the most outstanding places to experience on the south-west coast of Ireland. From a compelling coastline to rugged mountainscapes, there’s dramatic scenery at almost every turn and you can enjoy various activities in this part of Rebel County. Take the historic “O’Sullivan Bere March” walking route through the stunning Sheehy mountains, a cable car ride to Dursey Island or visit one of the cosy, colourful villages such as Allihies or Eyeries. Densely studded with Bronze Age remains, the Beara Peninsula is the ideal place to take a step back in time as you wander amongst wedge tombs, stone circles and standing stones and learn more about our beautiful island’s history.
7. Explore Glendalough
The top walking trails in Wicklow, known as the ‘Garden County of Ireland’ due to its spectacular landscapes and mountains, can be found in Glendalough. Founded by St Kevin in the 6th century, this part of Wicklow is a monastic settlement and one of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks and ancient pilgrimage sites. Depending on your energy levels there are various Glendalough walking trails on offer; you can enjoy a short stroll or embark on a four hour hill walk, where you can reach the summits of Mullacor, Cullentragh and the Derrybawn Mountain.
8. Hike The Dingle Peninsula
There is so much to uncover in Kerry! The Dingle Peninsula has an abundance of walking trails to suit most abilities. You can enjoy a day hike and see remarkable views across Dingle Bay, Tralee Bay and the Ring of Kerry. If you want to see the Blasket Islands, hike to the top of Mount Eagle and make your way down to Dunquin. You may recognise the view as it’s featured in a lot of Irish postcards with the sheep descending down the pathway to the pier. After a long day’s hike, you should pop into The South Pole Inn pub in Annascaul, which was owned by the legendary Antarctic explorer Tom Crean.
9. Discover Glenveagh National Park
If you want to experience more Donegal hiking trails, we suggest you explore Glenveagh National Park, Ireland’s second biggest national park and with 16,000 hectares, there are plenty of walking opportunities. We suggested visiting the historic Glenveagh castle or taking a stroll along the scenic Lough Veagh.
Now you know some of the most scenic hiking trails in Ireland, the hardest decision is choose where to go first! We feel it’s best to have a professional walking guide with you as they can offer fascinating insights and show you the best scenery. Experience the top Irish walking routes, discover our guided Homegrown Adventures and explore more of this amazing island by foot!
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