Discover the best walks and hikes for experienced walkers in Ireland.
Running parallel to the famous Ring of Kerry, this is one of the most picturesque places in Ireland. The Kingdom of Kerry hike is a moderate eight-day adventure featuring two spectacular peninsulas in Ireland’s south-west. The journey is about 70km long, spread across six days of hiking and begins in the bustling town of Killarney. The epic excursion will take you through rugged mountains and a tapestry of lush fields with the thumping roar of the Atlantic Ocean by your side. Custom-made mini-break tours are also available if you just want a flavour of Kerry’s landscape.
Beginning in Rosroe Pier in Galway, this Famine Trail is steeped in history and follows the contours of the Killary Fjord as it passes old cottages and long-abandoned potato ridges. The journey is approximately 10km between Rosroe and Killary Adventure Centre and takes about two to three hours depending on your level of fitness. See salmon and mussel farms in the shadow of the majestic Mweelrea Mountains and bask in the beauty of the Delphi Valley.
One of the country’s greatest long-distance walks starts in the Dublin suburbs at Marlay Park in Dublin and goes all the way to Co Carlow. With dramatic scenery and a rich, varied route, there is a unique sense of remoteness as you make your way past the beautiful monastic site of Glendalough. Walk across ridges and gently sloping valleys before you descend into the peaceful foothills of Clonegal. Apart from a few short steep sections, there are no significant climbs. Approximately 129km in length, the Wicklow Way takes about six days to finish.
Head off on the Bluestack Mountain Walk in Donegal that winds its way from Donegal Town to Ardara on the west coast. This route is about 65km and takes about three days from start to finish. Pass by the scenic Lough Eske across the foothills of the Bluestacks to reach an area called Disert and its ancient mountain graveyard. From remote, high moorland to a glorious descent along the Owenroe river, enjoy the beautiful isolation as you hike along boglands, riversides and quiet, country roads.
Take a guided walk with Sean Mullen, a leading guide on the six hour trek along the coast of the Fanad Peninsula in Donegal. Take your boots off as you traverse sandy beaches and discover a landscape masterfully sculpted by the Atlantic waves. Your tour ends at the iconic Fanad Lighthouse, marking the entrance to the famous Lough Swilly.
If you fancy going on two walks when you’re in Donegal, go on the Horn Head Walk on Inishowen Peninsula. This shorter, coastal walk leads you onto the astonishing Sheephaven Bay where golden beaches and views of Tory Island and the Donegal Highlands provide the backdrop to your exhilarating hike.
With a mix of tough mountain hikes and gentle valley walks, there’s a great selection of ways to tackle the Comeragh Mountain Range. Stretching from the Waterford coast near Dungarvan to as far as Clonmel, the Nire Valley is the heart of this range which also features an annual walking festival in the autumn. Natural ambience and silence await with the Coumshingaun Loop Walk being one of the most popular routes to take. A moderate four-hour hike, this 7.5km trek takes in Waterford’s splendour with the Coumshingaun Corrie Lake and the surrounding mountains.
An exciting 88km circular route, the Sheep’s Head Way starts in Bantry and runs along the north coast to the scenic Sheep's Head Lighthouse before returning along its southern side. You’re never too far from the invigorating Atlantic Ocean here but despite this, the terrain is very varied and takes in quiet rural pathways, open grassy moorland, woodland and country roads. See stone circles, standing stones and even a Napoleonic signal tower on this great adventure. Eagle-eyed wildlife enthusiasts may even spot dolphins and whales in the ocean below.
Embark on a hike rich with history on this 118km-long figure of eight walking route that starts and ends in the old mining village of Arigna. Experience what life was like when the region was the centre of the mining industry for more than 400 years. The route touches on three lakes and crosses three low mountain ranges. Linger a while longer at the Arigna Mining Experience and see the 12th-century Cistercian Boyle Abbey and Carrowkeel Neolithic Cemetery.
Steeped in legend, this walkway is the site of the saga known as The Cattle Raid of Cooley and the battle between Queen Meabh of Connacht and Cú Chulainn. Aside from that epic saga, there’s plenty of evidence of Cooley’s rich historical past from passage graves to portal tombs by the trailside. The circular route loops around Carlingford Mountain and its terrain consists of quiet, wooded tracks and glorious mountain paths with views of Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains.
This 61km route runs from the historic village of Balla in Mayo to the picturesque village of Murrisk at the foot of Croagh Patrick on the shores of Clew Bay. The scenic trail guides hikers through green farmlands, remote boglands and tranquil forest paths. See early monastic settlements, a 6th-century castle, Clogher Heritage Cottage, Ballintubber Abbey and the Aille Caves. It takes around three days to complete this great trail.
Let the landscape be your guide, from epic hikes to mountain peaks, along coastal paths and drovers’ trails to lakeshore walks where nature speaks. Don’t miss our Things to Do page for even more amazing outdoor adventures across Ireland.
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