Walking and hiking in Ireland

The Ring of Kerry

Looking for an outdoor experience that will plug you right into Ireland’s most beautiful scenery, history and culture? Walk this way.

Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford
Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford

A lush glen, a cliff path, a bog road, a mountain range, a canal bank, or even a city quarter: the are literally HUNDREDS of walks and hikes for the taking in Ireland. 

Coast to coast

Being an island, Ireland naturally offers unique opportunities for coastal walks. The Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coast are stand-out locations, but don’t overlook the likes of the stunning Beara, Dingle and Inishowen Peninsulas (each nicely varied with mountainous as well as gentler terrain) and Wexford’s Copper Coast, named after the mining industry that once prospered there. Special mention, too, for the hilly routes around Achill Island, County Mayo.

Speaking of islands, you can find some of the quirkiest, quietest walks on the likes of Galway’s Aran Islands, Tory in Donegal and Rathlin in Antrim. In Fermanagh’s lakelands, island walks come with a serving of Early Christian history.

Achill Island, County Mayo
Achill Island, County Mayo

Heavenly hikes

Mountains in Ireland come in many shapes and sizes, but they all come beautiful. The Mourne Mountains boast a host of heavenly hikes and according to CS Lewis, we may not have Narnia without them. The Wicklow and Kerry Ways both traverse stunning mountainscapes with plenty of calmer stretches inbetween and a hike up Carrauntoohil in County Kerry is a hike up Ireland’s highest mountain. The Slieve Blooms in County Laois provide stellar views, and less strenuous strolls while Coumshingaun, in County Waterford’s Comeragh Mountains, has been described by the Irish Times as “the best demanding short hike in Ireland”.

The Antrim Glens
The Antrim Glens

Glens, bogs and canal banks

Are Antrim’s Glens the greenest place in Ireland? They’re definitely close. Walks and hikes in these verdant surrounds are dealt a dash of colour thanks to the area’s mythical heritage. For every step you take, a fairy, warrior, banshee or ghost has taken it before you.

Grand Canal, County Kilkenny
Grand Canal, County Kilkenny

Keep it quirky with bog walks in the likes of Tipperary, Laois, Offaly and Connemara. Bog walks are generally prettily planned with wooden walkways to keep you away from the stickiest terrain. For something a little less muddy, pick a canal, any canal, and walk its banks under cover of leafy canopies.

Still not sure where to begin? Don’t worry. As the old Irish saying goes, “Your feet will bring you to where your heart is”.

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