Walking is one of the best ways to experience the stunning scenery in Donegal. For hardier walkers, the 13km Glencolmcille Loop is graded as strenuous and you’ll need about four hours to complete it. The route begins and ends at St. Columba’s Church in Glencolmcille village. Admire the natural scenery that takes in serrated peaks, flower-bordered lanes, Megalithic tombs and cross-etched stones dating back to early Christianity.
If you prefer an easier route, explore the 5km Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) trail where you can enjoy views from the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
Beginning at the DART station in Howth, the 6km Howth Cliff Walk rates highly when it comes to the best Dublin coastal walks. Although suitable for beginners and walkers of all levels of fitness, the uneven terrain requires plenty of stamina.
Highlights of the two hour walk include panoramic views of Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island and Dublin Bay. Look out for guillemots, fulmars and razorbills perched on the sea cliffs and you might even spot seals and dolphins in the glittering water below you. For a bigger challenge, plan a walk on the 15km long Bog of Frogs Trail.
Head back to the lively village and drop by the Dog House Blues Tea Room, where furry friends are welcomed with open arms. Order the wood-fired pizza and admire the quirky interiors or walk along the pier and savour the delicious seafood tapas from Octopussy.
The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk in Wicklow is two to three hours in length, depending on your pace. It’s one of the popular trails on the east coast because of simple access via the DART with stations at both points. With a start point in Bray, walk towards the promenade to Bray Head and follow the signs along the way.
The 7km loop cliff walk brings you along the striking coastline, home to plentiful wildlife and flora. On a good day, the peaceful waters are resting spots for sharks, dolphins and porpoises.
Along a 4km loop of manageable terrain, the Ardmore Cliff Walk in Waterford, takes about one hour. There is plenty to see across minor roads, narrow laneways and scenic clifftop paths, including the 5th century St. Declan’s Well, the 12th century Ardmore Round Tower and Cathedral, and the more recent Samson crane barge wreck, which occurred in the winter of 1987.
Other areas of special interest include a Napoleonic-era lookout post adorned with fauna, flora and coastal birds including kestrels and rock pipits. The walk starts and ends at the Cliff House Hotel. Make a night of it and enjoy a fine dining experience in the restaurant with its floor to ceiling views of the Ardmore coastline.
With incomparable views of the Atlantic, Aran Islands, Doolin and Galway Bay, the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk is a strenuous 20km linear trail along an open path that takes about five hours to complete. The walking route in scenic Clare is unsuitable for under-12s and cyclists, and even seasoned walkers need durable fitness levels.
Despite the challenges, it is hugely satisfying. Relish the major adrenalin rush when looking out at one of the world’s biggest surfing waves when you get to the first headland of Aill Na Searrach, the Leap of the Foals.
Caution must be taken while walking this route, stick to the paved path and avoid the unpaved sections on the cliff edge, as there are no barriers.
Make your way to Cork and discover Sheep’s Head with its stunning coastal scenery. The 90km walking route starts in Bantry and brings you around the picturesque peninsula onto the gorgeous scenery of Gougane Barra, finishing up at Mizen Head.
Choose from a collection of loop and linear walking trails with various gradings, most are moderate to strenuous and vary from two to eight hours. Distances range from 6km to 26km so you can enjoy a leisurely walk or plan an-all day hike across the rugged terrain. Uniting these trails is the characteristically untamed West Cork scenery with striking landscapes of vertical cliffs, sheer ridges, and enthralling vistas.
Staying in Cork, the Ballycotton Cliff Walk links Ballycotton village to Ballyandreen beach and takes about three hours. The start of this moderate trail is close to the memorial lifeboat, Mary Stanford, from which there are views across to Ballycotton Island and its 19th-century lighthouse.
Because of numerous stiles and a single, narrow path, this 8km walk is unsuitable for cyclists and buggies and it’s wise to keep dogs on a lead. Edged with gorse that blossoms in all weather conditions, the trail is excellent for bird watching. Look out for swooping peregrine falcons and majestic herons sporting impressive plumage.
Starting and ending at Bray Head car park on Kerry’s Valentia Island, the Bray Head Loop Walk is a two hour walk. Experience elevated clifftop views of the Skellig Islands, and the rugged Deenish and Scariff Islands off Lamb’s Head along the 5km route.
At Bray Head tower, look for the large-scale word ÉIRE, which was spelled out in stones during World War II as an advisory sign for passing or off-course aircraft. On the descent, the bird's-eye seascapes of Dingle peninsula are equally superb. Enjoy a well-deserved ice cream at the island’s Ice Cream Parlour.
A moderate loop trail on the Kerry coast, set aside one hour for the Ballybunion Cliff Walk and stroll along a cliff top linking the beautiful north and south beaches. The easy 3km route is dotted with stony bluffs, prominent cliffs, a blowhole, sea stacks and dramatic ruins of Ballybunion Castle, built in the 15th century. On the beach itself, walk along the golden sand dunes.
Extend your visit with an evening meal at Cliff Restaurant in the village. Feast on fresh seafood while enjoying the incredible sea views.
Ballcarrick Beach is the start point of the Portrane Cliff Walk. The easy 4km loop trail in Donabate, is perfect for casual walkers and it’s a two hour walk. The pathway leads to Portrane’s Tower Bay where you’re greeted with remarkable views of the Burrow peninsula and Lambay Island.
In mild weather, the cliffs are popular for bouldering so you can get to grips with a spot of free climbing. After, make the short spin over to Newbridge Demesne, a 400-acre public park with an excellent on-site café. Add it to your list of must-visit Dublin coastal walks.
From the magnificent cliffs in Clare to Cork’s gorgeous coastline, discover walking trails with wonderful sea views. Check out our Coastal Escapes page for even more inspiration for your next holiday.